The simple view of reading is that learning to read requires two abilities – correctly identifying words (decoding) and understanding their meaning (comprehension). Acquisition of these two broad abilities requires the development of more specific skills.
An extensive body of research on reading instruction shows that there are five essential skills for reading and that a high quality literacy program should include all five components.
|Phonemic Awareness||The ability to identify and manipulate the distinct individual sounds in spoken words|
|Phonics||The ability to decode words using knowledge of letter-sound relationships|
|Fluency||Reading with speed and accuracy|
|Vocabulary||Knowing the meaning of a wide variety of words and the structure of written language|
|Comprehension||Understanding the meaning and intent of the text/td>|
Reading and literacy are perhaps the most researched aspects of education.
Thousands of studies of the teaching of reading, and how children learn to read, have been published in scientific and academic journals and there are many hundreds of reviews of the research literature. Not all studies use rigorous scientific methodologies that provide robust, valid findings, however there are many studies that do.
Evidence from scientific studies has accumulated over the past several decades to provide strong guidance to teachers about the most effective teaching strategies.
The links below provide information about the evidence-base for the five keys to reading, as well as useful documents and videos.