The ROOTS OF READING • Writing is the ability to leave information through symbols while reading is the ability to retrieve information previously written. • Writing is transcribing words we speak into understandable symbols that we see. • We are not born speaking but we are wired to acquire the speech that we hear in a relatively short time flawlessly. • We have the inherent capacity to form concepts and label concepts with words. • Reading is an outgrowth of speaking. It follows that to be a good reader one must be a fluent speaker and commands a wide range of vocabulary. • Unlike speaking, we need to be taught to read and write. We build a vocabulary of using symbols to represent the sounds that make up words. Similarly we represent auditory signs with visual signs. These signs are represented by the letters of the alphabet. • We communicate verbally through speaking and listening. • For written communication, we use writing (sending a message) and reading (retrieving message). The method of representing sounds that make up words with signs is called phonics. • Writing is simply representing the sounds (letters) we use in saying a word. Reading is retrieving the message we wrote. • Analyzing the sounds that make up a word is called decoding. Choosing letters to represent the sounds of the word we want to say is encoding. Decoding and encoding are the cornerstones of reading and writing. • At first the process of decoding is slow but with practice, automaticity sets in and decoding is faster. Decoding then is reading. • To be an effective reader one needs to develop a subset of skills as follows: phonemic awareness, phonics, fluency, vocabulary, comprehension.