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Elementary teacher working with student during reading instruction

Reading 101: Self-Paced Learning Modules

Core knowledge about reading is a key to effective literacy instruction. Our free, self-paced learning modules can help you deepen your understanding of the building blocks of reading and writing.

Teaching reading IS rocket science

Our brains are hard-wired to master spoken language, but learning to read is another story. Learning to read is a very complex skill — one of the most complex things that we ask our children to take on. And for many kids, it doesn’t come easily.

As a result, teaching children to read and write well can be a very challenging job. So much so that researcher Louisa Moats called her influential article “Teaching Reading IS Rocket Science.” (This incidentally, became the inspiration for the “Reading Rockets” name!).

There are many reasons why children succeed or struggle in school, but among school-related factors, teachers matter the most. What teachers know and what they do in class every day have an enormous impact on student achievement.

It’s never easy, but when reading instruction is delivered by knowledgeable, skilled teachers, more students will be more successful, and all but the most severe reading disabilities can be addressed effectively. This is true even for students who are most at risk.

Reading 101 provides the basic information that teachers need to help young children learn to read and write well and to support the children who struggle. 

How children learn to read

You may want to start with this introductory section, How Children Learn to Read, and then move on to our course modules.

Certificate of completion

Reading Rockets does not offer CEUs for this self-study course. After completing each module and successfully answering the post-test questions, you’ll be able to download a certificate of completion.

Production credits

Reading 101 is a service of WETA/ Reading Rockets in collaboration with the Center for Effective Reading Instruction (opens in a new window) and The International Dyslexia Association (opens in a new window). Reading 101 is made possible in part by grants from the National Education Association and the LD Network.

Executive editor: Noel Gunther    

Contributing writers and editors:

  • Suzanne Carreker, PhD, CALT-QI
  • Margaret Goldberg
  • Elizabeth Liptak
  • Nicole Lubar
  • Latrice Seals, Ed.D.
  • Louise Spear-Swerling, Ph.D.