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Teachers—not programs—teach students to read.

Language Essentials for Teachers of Reading and Spelling (LETRS) provides in-depth professional development on the foundations of scientifically-based reading, spelling, writing, and language instruction. LETRS participants learn why certain practices are necessary and effective; what is likely to be needed for whom; and how to implement assessment and instruction. LETRS assumes that good programs must be implemented by knowledgeable teachers in order to be effective.

LETRS builds deep and broad understanding of all skills that contribute to fluent, competent reading: phonological processing; phonics and word recognition; fluency; vocabulary and background knowledge; text comprehension; oral language; and writing. The disciplinary knowledge base in LETRS is explained in detail in Snow, Griffin, and Burns' (2005) Knowledge to Support the Teaching of Reading, a book to which Dr. Moats contributed, and other documents including Teaching Reading is Rocket Science (Moats, 1999) and The Missing Foundation in Teacher Education (Moats, 1995).
The content and teaching methods of LETRS have been developed by Dr. Moats over many years, with input from participants, trainers, and independent reviewers. The content evolved first in graduate courses on reading, beginning with Dr. Moats’ extension courses at Harvard University. Methods for teaching practicing teachers were then adapted and developed during the NICHD Early Interventions Project (Foorman & Moats, 2004; Moats & Foorman, 2003; Moats & Foorman, 2008), where, over 4 years, teachers in high poverty, low-performing schools brought their students up to the national average in reading between grades K-4 through intensive professional development that was later published as LETRS.

For more information on LETRS research base

LETRS Research

Research Base (PDF, 136 KB)

Further Research

LETRS Further Research (PDF, 1.1 MB)

Neuman Chapter 5 (PDF, 222 KB)

Phonemic Awareness Skills of Speech-Language Pathologists (PDF, 146 KB)

McCutchen (PDF, 307 KB)


With LETRS, teachers return to the classroom knowing about the mental processes of reading and the field-tested instructional strategies that work for every type of learner. Welcome to this proven professional development opportunity.

LETRS Success Stories (PDF)
Diagnosing Dysteachia by Nancy Hennessy, M.Ed.
posted 4/17/2012

Interview with author 
Louisa C. Moats, Ed.D.

50 min.
released 3/12/12

Sopris Webinars
LETRS: Best Practices in English Learner Instruction
Antonio Fierro, Ed.D.
73 min.
original broadcast: 4/4/2012