Kids in elementary school listen to a teacher.

A new article from TIME looks into the push to bring phonics to the forefront of reading instruction.

Cognition, neuroscience and education research has continuously shown that learning phonics is essential for children to be able to read. But, throughout the 2000s schools shifted away from a structured phonic approach and towards what is known as a balanced literacy approach. Where phonics lessons were mixed with other activities that educators thought were effective but were not supported by research. With this balanced literacy approach, there were no improvement in the student literacy levels.

After the shift away from phonics, parents of dyslexics students began a movement to bring a structured, phonics-based approach towards reading back into the classroom, after recognizing the new methods were not working for their children. This effort has grown over the pandemic as parents took a more hands-on approach with their children’s education and were able to see where their child was not receiving effective instruction. Backed by research and joined by legislators, this movement has led states across the US to adopt new phonics-centered curriculums and retrain teachers. But new training is not sufficient, teachers also need help from school administrators to apply what the training programs teach.

Transitioning to evidence-based instruction has not been easy, and is not yet over. Read more about this effort and the people behind it in the full TIME article.