8 Essential Skills for Reading Success

Decoding: The ability to sound out words you have not read before. This forms the basis of other reading skills. Decoding is dependent on the language skills of phonemic awareness; this is a child's ability to hear and manipulate sounds into different words. This ability is established when a child learns about syllables, words and sounds (phonemes).

Phonics: Recognising the sounds of letters (graphemes) and making connections between them. This method maps the sounds (phonemes) into written words. Children decode the words into sounds and then blend the sounds into the written words they write down and spell.

Vocabulary: The ability to understand the meaning of words. This is important when looking at the definition of words and their context. The more words a child knows, the better they are at reading, writing, speaking and listening. 

Fluency: The ability to read words correctly, at an appropriate speed and with correct stress and tone. This skill is needed for good reading comprehension. 

Sentence construction and cohesion: The understanding of how sentences are structured to create meaning. This is crucial for reading comprehension. 

Reading Comprehension: The ability to understand the meaning of the text; in story books and in information books. It can allow children to imagine characters, become emotionally attached to the story, or it can allow them to gain knowledge and further their understand of a subject matter. This skill requires time, patience and practice. 

Reasoning and Background Knowledge: This skill allows children to apply contextual knowledge in order to make inferences and draw conclusions. 

Working Memory and Retention: Working memory is the ability to process information in a short amount of time; for example, when reading a long sentence. Retention is the ability to remember, process and interpret what has been read.