Overview of Key Components / Skills of Proficient Reading


Reading is a complex learned skill and requires integration of many different fundamental subskills. Students need to convert print to sound so they can tap into the brains phonologic processors designed for effortlessly processing spoken sound. To do this efficiently the student must recognize the sound structure of language (phonemic awareness), directly and automatically know the phonemic code including the complexities (alphabetic awareness/knowledge of the complete phonemic code). They must process print from left to right (proper directional tracking) and smoothly combine sounds (smooth blending) when reading. Students also need to pay close attention to all the letters in the words (attention to detail). Learning the individual components in isolation is not sufficient. The student must not only master these individual skills but also integrate and automatically apply these skills in phonologic processing of print. Considerable practice with correct phonologic processing is essential. The student must practice reading decodable text in words, sentences and stories. Repeated practice of correct phonologic processing is necessary to build fluency. Direct instruction in handling complex multisyllable words, expanding vocabulary and developing comprehension strategies is also critical to helping students become skilled readers.

These specific skills and components of proficient reading need to be the focused targets or learning objectives of all instructional activities.

Start with the article:

Overview and Visual Representation of the Process of Proficient Reading


For more detailed description, see the article:

Skills Necessary for Proficient Reading


Additional detailed information including links to developing specific skills can be found in the articles:

Foundational Skills Necessary for Proficient Phonologic Processing

Advanced Skills Necessary for Proficient Reading: Overview of Key Higher Level or Advanced Reading Skills


In summary, to become a skilled reader the student needs to first develop proficient phonologic processing pathways and then develop higher level skills. The most effective and efficient method of insuring your student develops proficient reading pathways is to directly teach the student necessary skills. Parents and teachers can use a strong direct systematic phonics program and carefully targeted activities to directly build necessary skills and intentionally develop correct phonologic processing pathways and higher level skills.


Additional free information on teaching students to read is located at Reading Information and Information & Resources for Teaching Reading pages of the Right Track Reading website.


This article was written by Miscese Gagen a mother with a passion for teaching children to read proficiently by using effective methods. She is also a successful reading tutor and author of the reading instructional programs Right Track Reading Lessons and Back on the Right Track Reading Lessons. The purpose of this article is to empower parents and teachers with information on teaching children how to read. We CAN improve reading proficiency, one student at a time! More information is located at www.righttrackreading.com ~ Copyright 2008 Miscese R. Gagen