Reading Essentials

Cognitive science and the gift of fluency for all
Rating: 4.4 out of 5 (186 ratings)
11,324 students
Reading Essentials
Rating: 4.4 out of 5 (186 ratings)
11,322 students
Focus on the crucial determinants of reading acquisition for various languages and scripts
Distinguish among methods that are more and less effective for low-income students
Critically study evaluations and reports about various reading programs
Evaluate and select reading specialists and consultants
Discuss how textbooks should be designed and formatted to facilitate reading acquisition
Advise decision makers on reading issues in various languages and scripts
Propose strategies for eliminating illiteracy in schools of various low-income countries


  • An interest in using science for efficient instruction

Governments and international agencies have invested heavily in education systems, in hopes of making students literate. Literacy has become a global priority. Despite increased enrollments, many students in low-income countries or areas fail to learn and drop out illiterate.

Education for all literally means that nearly all children and adults who study reading must become fluent readers. How best to achieve this goal in low-income areas, which principles to use for teaching all students to read? One widely accepted source is the operation of our memory. We all retain material most easily if we learn it according to the ways we process information.

This course presents reading from the perspective of cognitive science. It covers all aspects of basic literacy: from visual perception to automaticity, from teacher training to project implementation and selection of specialists. You will surely find some little-known reading aspects that are counterintuitive and intriguing. Emphasizing those in instruction makes the process feasible for all.

Who this course is for:
  • You work for a Ministry of Education, teachers’ college, teacher training unit.
  • You work for a donor organization or NGO.
  • You teach reading or train teachers in a low-income country.
  • You are a reading specialist of English
  • You are a university, studying about reading in international education or a similar program
4 sections • 20 lectures • 4h 6m total length
  • Welcome
  • Course Landscape
  • Pretest - Preview
  • Challenges in educating the very poor
  • How will you learn a script fastest?
  • The occult hand of visual perception
  • From perception to automaticity
  • Memory functions and their relevance for basic skills
  • Reading instruction in various languages and scripts
  • How do readers understand text?
  • Language of instruction in multilingual countries: The challenges
  • Language of instruction in multilingual countries: The strategies
  • Training teacher for efficient reading instruction
  • Textbook development for efficient reading instruction
  • Reading assessment basics
  • Basic literacy for all in about 100 days
  • Examples of reading methods: Jolly Phonics, EGRA+, GILO, CAMaL, Pratham, Molteno
  • Examples of reading methods: Aga Khan, PHARE, Mango Tree, SMRS
  • Adult illiteracy
  • Implementation and strategy to reduce school illiteracy

Cognitive psychologist and polyglot (PhD)
Helen Abadzi
  • 4.4 Instructor Rating
  • 186 Reviews
  • 11,327 Students
  • 1 Course

Dr. Helen Abadzi is a Greek psychologist. After 27 years at the World Bank, she is research faculty at the University of Texas at Arlington. She is a polyglot of 19 languages, most of which were learned in order to provide accurate technical advice to various countries. She monitors daily the cognitive neuroscience research and extracts policy advice and applications to improve the education of lower-income learners. Her presentations and publications helped raise early-grade reading fluency to a high-level international priority.