The Five ‘Keys’ to Reading

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 reviews of the research literature.

An extensive body of research on reading instruction has concluded that there are five essential sets of knowledge and skills for reading and that a high quality literacy program should include all five components. These components are inter-related — the development of each is dependent on the others — but an emphasis on phonics in the early years is necessary to build foundational word reading skills. Research also shows that the most effective method of teaching is systematic and explicit instruction.

Phonemic AwarenessThe ability to identify and manipulate the distinct individual sounds in spoken words
PhonicsThe ability to decode words using knowledge of letter-sound relationships
FluencyReading accurately, quickly and with expression
VocabularyKnowing the meaning of a wide variety of words and the structure of written language
ComprehensionUnderstanding the meaning and intent of the text

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