The(NIFL) states that there are five components of reading:
- Phonemic awareness is the ability to notice, think about, and work with the individual sounds in spoken words.
- Phonics is the relationships between the letters (graphemes) of written language and the individual sounds (phonemes) of spoken language. Phonics instruction teaches learners to use these relationships to use and write words.
- Fluency is the ability to read a text accurately and quickly. When fluent readers read silently, they recognize words automatically. They group words quickly to help them gain meaning from what they read. They read aloud effortlessly and with expression. Fluency is important because it provides a bridge between word recognition and comprehension.
- Vocabulary refers to the words we must know to communicate effectively. Vocabulary is also very important to reading comprehension. Readers cannot understand what they are reading without knowing what most of the words mean. Learning to read more advanced texts means readers must learn the meaning of new words that are not part of their oral vocabulary.
- Comprehension is the reason for reading. If readers can read the words but do not understand what they are reading, they are not really reading. Good readers are both purposeful (they have a reason to read) and active (they think to make sense of what they read).
How can we make sure our children are succeeding with these five components? It’s easier than you might think:
- Share conversations with your child over meal times and other times when you are together. Children learn words more easily when they hear them spoken often.
- Introduce new and interesting words at every opportunity.
- Read together every day. Spend time talking about stories, pictures, and words.
- Be your child’s best advocate. Keep informed about your child’s progress in reading and as the teacher about ways you can help.
- Be a reader and a writer. Children learn habits from the people around them.
- Visit the library often. Story times, computers, homework help, and other exciting activities await the entire family.
- Get involved in your community! The NIFL has a Literacy Directory you might find helpful: http://literacydirectory.org/