How Understanding the Science of Reading Can Help Your Children Read


April 3, 2019

Reading is one of the most valuable, if not most valuable, skills that children learn in early childhood. An integral still for day-to-day life and the foundation from which all other educational endeavors are based. Having a few decades between you and when you were first learning to read, it can be difficult to comprehend just how difficult this now second-nature skill is to learn. At Jett Publishing, we want to make the tools your child needs to learn as accessible and easy to understand as possible, which is why we’re here to break down the 5 essential components of reading -- allowing you to fully understand the science behind learning to read and best help your child when learning this vital life skill. Whether your child is ahead of the game or needs a little help from a specialist like dyslexia tutors, we’re here to provide you with the knowledge you need to understand the science of reading.

What is the Science of Reading?

Understanding the Basis of the Science of Reading

little boy on rain boot reading a picture book

The Science of Reading is a field of studies and understanding that looks to understand the processes from which children learn to read. The Science of Reading looks at reading as a logical progression of skills development that lays a strong foundation for learning to read and maintaining strong reading comprehension skills throughout life.

Developed with the help of the National Reading Panel - a 14-member panel that evaluates existing research and evidence to develop standards from which children learn to read - the Science of Reading is the basis of understanding from which the Panel develops its programs. As a collection of five vital competencies that make up a successful reader, the Science of Reading is a well-research and trusted collection of skills at the heart of early childhood education.

The 5 Core Competencies of the Science of Reading

The Foundation of Reading Taught by Dyslexia Tutors, Teachers, and Specialists

teacher leading a class

The Science of Reading is a combination of 5 core competencies that allow students to understand letter sounds, words, and language as a whole. Each of these competencies is part of a bigger picture of what it takes to be a successful reader:

  1. Phonemic Awareness: Phonemic awareness is the knowledge that words can be broken down into phonemes, which are the smallest units of spoken language. This step that comes before basic phonics involves the ability to differentiate a phoneme from a grapheme, which are the letters that represent a sound. This includes the ability to understand spoken words, syllables, and sounds that letters make, resulting in skills like letter deletion, word segmentation, and rhyme generation.
  2. Phonics: Phonics, contrary to phonemic awareness, is based on the understanding of how letters interact with one another. Phonics is the ability to decode written language into spoken language by breaking down letter sounds, analyzing they correspond to one another, and being able to turn those sounds into a word that carries meaning. This process is understandably difficult due to a differentiation between regular and irregular words - like ‘mat’ and ‘was,’ respectively - from which decoding is sometimes not possible.
  3. Fluency: Fluency is the ability to read as you speak. Rather than reading slowly, breaking words down to their sounds, fluent readers can read a work as it exists in natural spoken language. This is often taught through repetitive reading of the same materials until expression, speed, and a smooth deliverance is created.
  4. Vocabulary: Once fluency is developed, children begin building a vocabulary. Vocabulary expands as children can identify words, assign them meaning, and figure out how that word fits into sentences. Vocabulary continues to grow throughout a lifetime, and students develop inference skills to identify context clues to expand their reading skills and vocabulary.
  5. Comprehension: Reading comprehension, the complex process of extracting meaning from what you read, is the ultimate goal developed from the other reading skills. Interactive and strategic, reading comprehension is an ongoing process throughout life that requires work as the piece we read become more dense and difficult.

How Can I Utilize the Science of Reading with my Child?

Reinforcing Reading Skills at Home is Key to Preventing Reading Failure

people reading in a bookstore

The skills that are broken down in the science of reading build upon one another, meaning one skill cannot exist without mastery of the previous. It is said that 90% of children with reading troubles lack a sense of early phonemic awareness, making them fall behind their peers.

Some of these children may have a learning disability, but at its core, children need special attention paid to these early stages and the entirety of the learning to read process outlines by the science of reading. This is much like the mindset “you must crawl before you can walk.” By taking the time to focus on phonemic awareness and phonics, students will develop strong reading skills in the future. If your child needs a little help, contact a reading specialist like a dyslexia tutor.

If you’re looking for tools to help you help your child or student succeed in reading, check out the tools from Jett Publishing. Their curriculum and tools, created using the science of reading, are proven to prevent reading failure form the ground up.