Earlier this month, Education Lab took a close look at the way a handful of districts in Pennsylvania are reworking their approach to teaching reading, using practices that have been broadly described as “the science of reading.”

The story followed up on reporter Katherine Long’s earlier work on learning disabilities and reading instruction in Washington state.

Pennsylvania is one of several states that has made major changes to reading instruction in recent years, prompted by discoveries in neuroscience about how we learn to read. Other states are following suit.

In Washington, a group of educators would like to see reading lessons revamped, too. And some change is in the works: A new state law will require districts to begin screening students for reading deficiencies.

How is this “science of reading” type of instruction different from what’s being used in Seattle-area districts? To help answer that question, we’re going to host a weeklong, online forum on The Seattle Times website. We’ll take your questions about how reading is taught, and pose them to some of the Pennsylvania educators who contributed to the Dec. 1 story and to local educators who are trying to make similar changes.

To submit your questions or to share your personal experiences, go to the comments section. We’ll be moderating this section, so your comments won’t appear immediately. Then, we’ll pose the questions to our guest experts. They are:


Julie Bedell is in her 36th year of teaching and teaches second grade in Seattle. She has been a classroom teacher and a reading specialist and has taught hundreds of children to read, including those with dyslexia and with other reading and writing difficulties. Bedell has also taught teachers how to use structured literacy in their classrooms and is a founding member and president of Read Washington.

Dawn Brookhart is the director of curriculum, instruction and technology in the Danville Area School District in Pennsylvania, where reading is taught using a research-based multisensory structured literacy framework. She also founded the Danville Area Reading and Dyslexia Academy, a training center for teachers.

Jan Hasbrouck (@janhasbrouck) is an educational consultant, author and researcher, working with schools in the U.S. and internationally. Her work focuses on reading fluency, academic assessments and interventions and coaching. She lives in Seattle and is a founding member of Read Washington (readwa.org; @read_washington).

Pam Kastner serves as the state lead consultant for literacy for the Pennsylvania Training and Technical Assistance Network (PaTTAN), where she coleads Pennsylvania’s Dyslexia Screening and Early Literacy Intervention Pilot Program. She also serves as the president of the Reading League Pennsylvania.

Reporter Katherine Long will help moderate the discussion.

The comments thread for this post will remain live until Dec. 18, and the conversation will stay on the site indefinitely as a resource you can reference.

Reading science is a complicated and often personal subject. Please enter the conversation with respect and an open mind. You can read all of The Seattle Times commenting rules here. Thank you for joining us.