The National Children's Literacy Website is a unique children's literacy initiative and is part of the Soho Center's National Children's Literacy Information Project - a not-for-profit
literacy initiative dedicated to advancing the literacy skills of young children, promoting literacy as an integral factor
in the growth of society, and enhancing literacy in a variety of
home and child care settings. We believe that reading is a fundamental skill needed by all, and we are proud of what we are doing to help children learn to read.


The 5 Reading Skills Children Need

P r a c t i c e   M a k e s   P e r f e c t

Research shows that there are five essential skills ("five components of reading") that children must be taught in order to learn to read.  Adults can help children learn to be good readers by systematically practicing these five components:

     Recognizing and using individual sounds to create words, or phonemic awareness. Children need to be taught to hear sounds in words and that words are made up of the smallest parts of sound, or phonemes.

     Understanding the relationships between written letters and spoken sounds, or phonics.  Children need to be taught the sounds individual printed letters and groups of letters make.  Knowing the relationships between letters and sounds helps children to recognize familiar words accurately and automatically, and "decode" new words.

     Developing the ability to read a text accurately and quickly, or reading fluency. Children must learn to read words from left to right rapidly and accurately in order to understand what is written.  When fluent readers read silently, they recognize words automatically.  When fluent readers read aloud, they read effortlessly and with expression. Readers who are weak in fluency read slowly, word by word, focusing on decoding words instead of comprehending meaning.

      Learning the meaning and the correct pronunciation of words, or vocabulary development.  Children need to actively build and expand their knowledge of written and spoken words, what they mean and how they are used.

     Acquiring strategies to understand, remember, and communicate what is read, or reading comprehension strategies.  Children need to be taught comprehension strategies, or the steps good readers use to make sure they understand text.  Students who are in control of their own reading comprehension become purposeful, active readers.

 Reading with children and helping them practice these five specific reading components can dramatically improve their ability to read.


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