Jamie Metsala

Professor, Mount Saint Vincent University, Halifax, NS


Research Informed Practice in the Early Literacy Classroom

The scientific studies of reading has informed our understanding of reading acquisition and instruction, from students’ development of accurate and fluent reading, to their building complex understandings of texts. In this session, I will briefly reference findings that support the role for systematic and explicit instruction in each of phonological awareness, phonics, fluency, vocabulary, and reading comprehension. Research is highlighted which demonstrates that effective early instruction can prevent future reading problems in most young children at-risk for reading disabilities. I will sketch a picture of what some of these elements look like in the early elementary classroom. Finally, I will examine from a systems-level perspective, possible obstacles to the implementation of these approaches to early reading instruction and consequences for each new generation of students.


Dr. Metsala is a Professor of Education, and the Gail and Stephen Jarislowsky Chair in Learning Disabilities at Mount Saint Vincent University. She has collaborated with teachers and administrators from Nova Scotia schools on projects aimed at incorporating research-based approaches in early literacy classrooms. Her current research examines oral language and reading comprehension outcomes in the early elementary years, as well as remediation for students with reading disabilities. Dr. Metsala has held previous faculty appointments at universities in Ontario and the US, and served as the Associate Director of the National Reading Research Centre in College Park, Maryland.