The Reading Process
We often refer to the reading process as “The BIG FIVE”. Each of these components builds upon each other and helps students develop their reading skills. A strong literacy program addresses each of these essential components.
Phonemic Awareness is the understanding that every spoken word is made up of a sequence of speech sounds. Early instruction in phonemic awareness is essential for learning to read. If students show difficulty with “hearing” sounds and parts of spoken words, they will need explicit instruction in this area to help with their beginning reading skills.
Phonics is a system of teaching reading and spelling that stresses basic symbol- sound relationships and their application in decoding words. Phonics instruction focuses on teaching students how to sound out new words and to understand the relationship between spoken words and how the words are spelled.
Fluency is the ability to read text with speed, accuracy and proper expression. Fluent readers recognize words automatically, read aloud effortlessly and with expression. When students make gains in fluency, they are able to put their effort into comprehending the text rather than stopping to figure out words.
Vocabulary is the knowledge of words and word meanings. Knowing what a word means allows students to develop strong comprehension and communication skills. Vocabulary development fosters a greater understanding of both written and spoken words.
Comprehension is the ultimate goal of all reading. Strong readers, read with purpose and understanding of the text. They are able to think about what they are reading rather than focusing on how to read. Many students will need help with developing their own ability to think critically about the text they are reading.