The science of reading has a much more complex structure

  • The National Reading Panel reviewed reading research and identified 5 scientifically based elements:
    • Phonemic Awareness
      • Let’s start with the easiest one. We learn it first thing after we’ve tasted our first milk.
      • It’s an ability to identify, isolate, and manipulate individual sounds in spoken words.
      • This is where the correlation between sounds and letters is formed and solidified.
      • The majority of people don’t go further than that stage, and fluency, which is one of the other aspects of the science of reading, gives them a misleading sense that they can read.
    • Phonics
      • Nothing more than a way of teaching reading.
        • Which focuses on the same relationship between sounds and letters.
        • It provides a means to decode words by recognizing sounds associated with each letter and group of letters.
    • Vocabulary
      • It’s the high- and low-frequency words that we use to operate in our daily lives.
        • A vast vocabulary is essential for reading, comprehension, writing, and effective communication.
    • Fluency
      • An ability to read with accuracy, speed, and expression.
      • Fluent readers recognize words automatically and read with a level of understanding that allows them to focus on the meaning of the whole text, not just separate sentences and collocations.
        • [[Memory, the crucial part of reading and why people with poor memory can’t become strong or demanding readers|Memory]] also plays a crucial role in fluency; the better the memory, the higher the fluency and more profound the understanding.
    • Comprehension
      • Possibly the toughest nut to crack. We all fancy ourselves as those who can infer meaning from text. But what does it mean to understand anything? There are possibly tons of notes about understanding in my vault; just some of them are here.
      • To understand something is to make [[Lifelong learning|a connection to previous knowledge]].
        • And I would also say, [[Good reading is an effortful process|reconciling]] new knowledge with how things really work also plays a crucial part in it.
  • As anyone can notice, it’s not as simple as letter-to-sound correspondence.
    • The relationship between sounds and letters is nothing more than an ability to decode a cipher hidden in written symbols. Syntax, phonics, and basic morphology are often enough.
    • But phonemic awareness, fluency, and comprehension are elements from a thoroughly different league.


  • In general, the ability to contemplate text differently than just letters on paper is the essential skill of [[analytical apparatus of reading#^41ab36|a demanding reader]].

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