Strands of Skilled Reading: Scarborough's Rope

How do Children Learn to Read?

  • Our reading instruction includes recommendations by leading reading research scientists and educators (Moats, 1999): 

     ■ Direct teaching of decoding, comprehension, and literature appreciation;

    ■ Phoneme awareness instruction [becoming aware of and being able to manipulate distinct speech sounds];

    ■ Systematic and explicit instruction in the code system of written English;

    ■ Daily exposure to a variety of texts, as well as incentives for children to read

    ■ Vocabulary instruction that includes a variety of complementary methods designed to explore the relationships among words and the relationships among word structure, origin, and meaning;

    ■ Comprehension strategies that include prediction of outcomes, summarizing, clarification, questioning, and visualization; and

    ■ Frequent writing to enable a deeper understanding of what is read.


    Skilled reading requires development and eventual automaticity of: 

    • Word Recognition- the word-recognition strands (phonological awareness, decoding, and sight recognition of familiar words) work together as the reader becomes accurate, fluent, and increasingly automatic with repetition and practice. This is when students "lift" words off the page without effort.


    • Language-comprehension strands (background knowledge, vocabulary, language structures, verbal reasoning, and literacy knowledge) reinforce the word recognition strand, The strands weave together with the word-recognition strands to produce a skilled reader.


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