Essential Reading Skills for Learning How to Read

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essential reading skills

There are seven essential reading skills for learning how to read which are necessary to becoming a fluent reader. These skills are: Phonemic Awareness; Alphabet Knowledge; Phonics/Decoding; Sight Words; Comprehension; Fluency; and Vocabulary. A deficit in any one of these areas will affect an individual’s reading skills.

Each area can be taught individually or in tandem with each other. A struggling reader will need explicit instruction in each area to become a fluent reader. Dr. Stanovich discovered and wrote about how good readers get better and better in all these areas while poor readers fall farther and farther behind in all these areas.

Struggling Readers

We can tell who is struggling with learning to read midway through kindergarten. These are the children that struggle with learning the sounds and names of the letters in the alphabet. These are the children that can not complete phonemic awareness drills or skills. The longer a child goes undiagnosed with a reading difficulty, the harder it is to get that child up to the appropriate level.

Adult Nonreaders

Adults who were not taught to read fluently in school can learn to read starting today using the Reading Blocks program. The problem with not learning to read does not lie inside the adult nonreader.

The problem lies in the instruction this person recieved in school. Our school system tends to offer a one size fits all which never works for at least one third of the group in any given year. People are different. We all learn differently. We all have different skills and weaknesses, likes and dislikes. Our education system should take this into account but doesn’t.

Each of the seven areas necessary for reading fluency are:

Phonemic Awareness

Alphabet Knowledge


Sight Words




Veronica McCarthy

I am a Certified Reading Specialist who has taught reading in the school system as well as privately for over 25 years. Parenting two children with dyslexia, I have addressed the challenges of a struggling reader as a parent and as a teacher. My mission is to assist parents and teachers to help children become fluent readers, one reader at a time!

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