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The Five Building Blocks of Teaching Children to Read

Learning to read doesn’t just happen at school.  Early literacy skills begin at home and continue to grow and develop as a child progresses through school.  Reading research tells us that there are five building blocks for teaching children to read.  These are identified in both the No Child Left Behind Act and the 2004 reauthorization of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Improvement Act (IDEA 2004).

  1. Phonemic Awareness: the ability to hear, identify, and manipulate the individual sounds or phonemes in spoken words
  2. Phonics: the understanding that there is a predictable relationship between phonemes (the sounds of spoken language) and graphemes (the letters and spellings that represent those sounds in written language)
  3. Fluency:  the word for being able to read quickly and accurately
    Fluent readers recognize words automatically.
  4. Vocabulary: the name for the words we must know in order to listen, speak, read, and write effectively
  5. Comprehension: understanding what we read

    *Research shows that it takes mastery of all five areas to read effectively.  Knowledge of letter-sound relationships and comprehension go hand-in-hand.  If children can sound out the words, but don’t understand what they are reading, they’re not really reading.

    For more information, read “Put Reading First (Kindergarten Through Grade 3) The Research Building Blocks for Teaching Children to Read”

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