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Learning to read is an exciting milestone for children and their families. While thrilled by their children's emerging literacy skills, many parents are surprised to learn that the fact that a child can read words on a page doesn't necessarily mean he comprehends what he is reading. Becoming a successful reader is a process that is not fully understood.

In The Importance of Automaticity and Fluency For Efficient Reading Comprehension, Pamela E. Hook and Sandra D. Jones analyze the the reading process as organized along two separate but highly interrelated areas - word identification and comprehension. Their article maintains that even the slightest glitch in word comprehension and fluency can create a cognitive overload that significantly reduces reading comprehension.  The article then outlines the link between phonemic awareness, phonics and orthographic reading. So strong automaticity, built in large part through spelling practice, is required for adequate reading comprehension.

The Reading Skills Pyramid based on the What Works? research, illustrates how a successful reader is the culmination of building skills in five major areas: phonemic awareness, phonics, reading comprehension, vocabulary, and fluency. The Reading Skills Pyramid visually depicts the patterns of concept acquisition that children follow in becoming successful readers up through third grade. We recommend a high level of parent involvement in this process by providing high-quality educational materials, establishing a pattern of daily reading, creating a language-rich environment, and discussing your child's progress with teachers and following up on their recommendations. While most children follow the same sequence of acquiring literacy skills, they do so at their own pace. All children are different. If you have questions or concerns about your child's progress in reading, contact his or her teacher.

Reading Skills Pyramid
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