Amara, a first grader, stands proudly in the kitchen with book in hand and reads to all within earshot, “The cat is fat.”

Amara’s dad, grinning wildly, says, “Wow! You can read!!”

So is Amara a reader now? Sort of.

She’s a word reader, or beginning to be one. But to make sure she becomes a strong reader who reads and understands all the types of texts she will encounter in school, there are other skills Amara needs on top of her word-reading skills. The problem is, Amara’s dad may not know that, and may not know how to support her to learn all those other skills.

In our work with parents, we hear lots of questions about how to help children become strong readers, but there is a problem that stands in the way: we all need to think differently about what successful READING demands.

Today we focus on one key fact:

  • Learning how to read means more than learning how to sound out and read words.

Sure – we need to applaud a child’s word reading, and Amara’s dad should be excited for her and tell her so. But while word reading is critical to reading success, it is not enough. At Abound Parenting, we want parents to understand that:

Reading = Letters & Sounds + Vocabulary & Knowledge + Awareness & Regulation

Stay tuned for next week’s Reading Corner posts with more about what skills children need to be successful readers, and how parents can support them – from birth.