“The body of work referred to as the “science of reading” is not an ideology, a philosophy, a political agenda, a one-size-fits-all approach, a program of instruction, nor a specific component of instruction. It is the emerging consensus from many related disciplines, based on literally thousands of studies, supported by hundreds of millions of research dollars, conducted across the world in many languages. These studies have revealed a great deal about how we learn to read, what goes wrong when students don’t learn, and what kind of instruction is most likely to work the best for the most students.”
The purpose of these essential standards is to provide educators with a prioritized list of standards to focus on during instruction. While all standards have value, using prioritized standards will help teachers place a stronger focus on the standards that are most critical for grade level learning outcomes. The essential standards identify the more complex main standard with the understanding that substandards (see example below), which are less complex in nature, are used to help students reach the outcomes associated with the priority standards.