Knowledge of how our language works is the key to delivering quality reading instruction

The two central goals of the MindPlay Comprehensive Reading Course are to:

1) increase teacher knowledge; and,

2) improve student reading and spelling achievement.

This program includes video presentations with accompanying narration and text, video clips with demonstration teaching, video excerpts from numerous national experts, and pre- and post-tests to assess understanding of the content.

MindPlay Comprehensive
Reading Course™ Specs

Q: How well prepared are your teachers for the task of teaching reading, especially to students who struggle to learn?

A: MindPlay’s Comprehensive Reading Course for Educators (MCRC) is an online course in professional development that can enhance the knowledge and skills your teachers bring to their reading instruction.

Q: Are your teachers familiar with the research base that shows what struggling readers need to understand about the English language to become skilled readers?

A: MCRC reviews the scientific findings that have been empirically proven and replicated over the past several decades.

Q: Do your teachers understand the differences between phonological awareness and phonics, or between phonological awareness and phonemic awareness? Phonemic awareness underlies the skill of reading and many students lack sufficient phonemic awareness to benefit from reading instruction.

A: MCRC clearly explains the differences between the two. The course explores the phonemes of our language deeply, with attention to how struggling readers are confused by phonemes in ways that impact their skill development in both reading and spelling.

Q: Do your teachers know how word reading and spelling skills develop and how to target instruction based on a student’s developmental level?

A: MCRC explains research-based models of reading and spelling development and the specific skills students need to acquire at each developmental stage.

Q: Many teachers do not teach phonics in an explicit and systematic way because they believe our language is too inconsistent and irregular. But our printed language system is not crazy; it is just quite complex and multi-layered. It is easily teachable if taught systematically. Do your teachers have a deep enough understanding of the workings of our print system? Do your teachers understand the complexity of our phonics system and why it needs to be taught systematically and explicitly, especially to struggling readers?

A: MCRC describes in detail the way our English print system represents both the sound units (phonemes) and meaning units (morphemes – prefixes, suffixes, roots). This online course presents our complex phonics system by moving from simple and stable to more complex and variant while matching student growth to developmental stages of reading and spelling.

Q: Do your teachers understand that systematic phonics instruction teaches students the way printed words represent spoken words and is a more efficient and accurate method than guessing at words from context?

A: When students fully understand how our printed language system works, they are able to read most words, in or out of context. Skilled word recognition does not require context. As MCRC teaches teachers how our language works, they are empowered to provide more effective help and feedback to their students.

Q: Do your teachers understand how students learn to read words automatically, at a glance, and thus build a large repertoire of words they can recognize instantly by sight, leading to fluent reading?

A: MCRC describes the way students learn to recognize words at a glance and provides strategies for assisting students to read with automaticity and fluency.

Q: Do your teachers recognize what it takes to truly master new vocabulary words, or do they rely primarily on vocabulary workbooks, dictionary work, and/or incidental exposures?

A: MCRC will help teachers know how to choose which words to teach explicitly, how to teach new vocabulary words deeply, and what kinds of words are most important to teach students.

Q: Do your teachers understand the way sentences are structured and the different levels of complexity found in sentence structures? Do your teachers understand how sentence level comprehension can interfere with understanding larger units of text, and how to address such weaknesses?

A: This course will help students learn the structures of different forms of sentences. They will explore the aspects of sentence construction that can confound comprehension. They will learn how to help students relate words within and across sentences to unpack the meaning of complex text at both the sentence and paragraph levels.

Q: Are your teachers aware of the multiple language components required for understanding text?

A: MCRC explores different dimensions of language and thinking that are needed for both comprehension of oral and written language.

Q: Do your teachers have a repertoire of comprehension strategies to help students actively engage with text during classroom reading and discussion?

A: MCRC offers teachers a repertoire of instructional tools and strategies for teaching.


The MindPlay Comprehensive Reading Course for Educators is a 30-hour professional development course that provides a series of modules with activities and expert videos to increase educators’ understanding of how to provide explicit instruction in:

  • Phonological awareness
  • Reading and spelling development
  • Phonics fundamentals for reading and spelling
  • Advanced phonics concepts
  • Fluency
  • Grammar
  • Vocabulary
  • Reading comprehension

RESEARCH March 23, 2015

Effects of MindPlay After 10

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RESEARCH January 30, 2015

Second Graders’ Reading Skills Thrive ...

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