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Understanding the 5 Pillars of Reading Success

Understanding the 5 Pillars of Reading Success

Every successful reading program is built around the instruction of five key concepts, or pillars. Each pillar is integral to the reading process and a deficiency in any of the first four pillars can hinder reading comprehension.

Pillar #1: Phonemic Awareness

This is the first pillar in the reading process because it addresses the smallest units of language—phonemes. These building blocks make up syllables and syllables make up words. Phonemic awareness refers to the ability to identify and manipulate these units of language. Engage your child in rhyming exercises, tongue twisters and word games to help them develop a solid understanding of phonemes.

Pillar #2: Phonics

The next pillar in the reading process, phonics is the relationship between sounds and letters or groupings of letters. Phonics instruction helps children understand how to decode new words they encounter. When a child grasps phonics, they are able to read and spell words and understand the relationship between the written word and oral language.

Pillar #3: Fluency

Once your child has a solid phonemic awareness and working knowledge of phonics, they can begin to read more fluently. Fluency is the ability to read quickly and accurately without having to stop and decode words in the process. Oral reading greatly contributes to a child’s ability to read with fluency. Practice and repetition are key!

Pillar #4: Vocabulary

Vocabulary is understanding the meanings of words. There are two primary ways your child can develop a robust vocabulary: by learning words and their meanings directly or by hearing or reading them in context, indirectly. Playing music, reading books to your child, pointing to street signs and labels at the grocery store and encouraging your child to read books on their own that challenge their reading skills area few of the many ways you can surround your child with words they can decode in context and add to their growing vocabulary.

Pillar #5: Comprehension

When a child has a working knowledge of phonemic awareness and phonics, reads fluently and possesses a growing vocabulary, they have the ability to comprehend what they read. In other words, the first four pillars unlock the door to reading comprehension and ultimately, reading success.

Grow your child’s reading comprehension skills by asking them to summarize what they read and asking them specific questions related to the setting, characters, plot or any other story elements. Does your child seem to struggle with these basic building blocks of reading? Maybe reading comprehension is difficult for them but you’re not sure which pillar or pillars are weak. Our free brain quiz is a great place to start.

LearningRx offers hope for struggling readers!