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What is the Three Cueing System, and why has Florida eliminated it from schools?

There are several commonly implemented reading programs throughout the United States. A recent Education Weekly survey found that up to 75% of its respondents who taught early literacy skills used a literary practice called "Three-Cueing." In 2023, Florida eliminated the use of this practice in its curriculum in favor of implementing methodology that aligns with the science of reading best practices. So what is the difference, and what can you expect for your children in the Florida public school system?

The Three-Cueing System

This early literacy methodology is centered on three cues for young readers attempting to decode words:

  • Does the word look right?

  • Does the word sound right?

  • Does the word make sense?

While these questions may seem harmless enough, critics of this system argue that children may be able to "guess" the word based on context, visual imagery, or pattern prediction instead of being able to truly decode and read the word. As students progress through school, the reading material gets more complicated and unfamiliar, and stops following predictable patterns (like rhyme or repetition), so readers may begin to struggle with reading comprehension.

This method is largely deemed to be especially ineffective for struggling readers and those who are in the earliest stages of phonemic awareness. Unfortunately, many popular curriculum developers have incorporated elements of the Three-Cueing System into their reading materials.

In 2023, Florida signed into law HB 7039, which eliminated the use of the Three-Cueing System in favor of materials that align with the science of reading. This is included in an effort to strengthen reading and math instructional materials and intervention strategies, and to promote success for all Florida students.

What is the Science of Reading?

The science of reading is an evidence- and research-based approach to the development of literacy. Using information from the fields of linguistics, cognitive science, and psychology, the science of reading focuses on the progression of phonics, phonemic awareness, vocabulary development, and fluency. There is a much stronger emphasis on students being able to accurately decode words using knowledge of sound, spelling, and syllable rules. This strong foundation in genuine reading ability will enable students to be more successful with reading comprehension at later stages of learning.

This strategy is backed by science and is widely considered to be the most appropriate strategy for all beginning readers, but especially for those students with learning differences such as dyslexia.

What do we use at Jill Abrams Tutoring?

At our centers, our materials are wholly aligned with the science of reading! We use the Wilson Structured Literacy program to develop phonemic awareness, phonics, and decoding skills with our students. Our 1-on-1 tutoring sessions explicitly teach critical reading skills in a way that makes sense to all of our students, no matter their age, experience, or ability. We're serious about our science - but we also make it fun! Our tutors use a variety of techniques, including visuals, hands-on learning, and lots of games and activities to rehearse important skills. We celebrate every success and make every session a memorable experience!

If you have an older student who is struggling with reading comprehension, we can help with that, too. Many students have struggled under the harmful practice of the Three-Cueing System. As reading curriculum gets progressively more difficult throughout grade levels, students can't rely just on context and pattern recognition to be able to "figure out" new words. Because our tutors are highly trained and experienced in the science of reading, we can pinpoint the areas where your student can grow, and develop an individual plan to help them achieve their goals.

Call Jill today to see how we can help your students blossom into fluent, confident, and successful life-long readers!


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