Reading is more than sounds, sight words and chunks. Children need a lot of skills in order to read successfully. Reading is the ability to understand meaning from print. The simple task of reading is really anything but simple!

Reading is not a skill children are born with. Children need to be taught to read. Some children need large amounts of instruction, while other children appear to 'just pick it up'.


Some symptoms of a reading difficulty may include:

  • Not liking to read
  • Skipping over or missing words when they read
  • Mispronouncing words or letters
  • Not understanding what they have read
  • Not remembering what they have read
  • Guessing a word based on its first letter or the shape of the word


The specific causes of reading difficulties are variable. Due to the complex nature of reading, no one cause can be identified. This means that the difficulties that children face can differ completely from child to child.

Reading difficulties are considered to be neurodevelopmental in nature. Children can experience reading difficulties with no other associated itellectual or learning difficulty.

Reading difficulties do not generally 'go away'. Children need to be taught successful skills and strategies in order to decode and understand the information they have read. Research has proven that the earlier a child receives intervention, the better their long term reading skills will be.

What is involved in reading?

Successful reading can be broken into four main areas:

  • Phonemic awareness
  • Comprehension
  • Fluency and Retention
  • Motivation

Each area will impact on a child's success in learning to read.

Phonemic awareness (Decoding and Segmenting). This includes:

  • Letter to sound awareness
  • Sound to letter awaereness
  • The ability to understand "letter" versus "word" versus "sentence"
  • The ability to understand that a sentence is made up of words
  • The ability to break each word into seperate sounds (segmenting) then put these sounds back together (blending) to form words

Comprehension. This includes:

  • The ability to understand a word and attach meaning to it. (eg "dog" - furry animal with 4 legs that barks)
  • The ability to understand what they are reading in order to answer questions.
  • The ability to understand what they are reading in order to learn new information.
  • Strategies for reading and problem solving. These include a child's ability to realise that a sentence or passage may not make sense and they will need to re-read it.

Fluency and Retention. This includes:

  • Fast and accurate blending and segmenting of sounds.
  • The ability to remember the information that was just read.
  • The ability to classify the information just read.
  • The ability to add new information that has been read to existing knowledge.
  • Use of expression in oral reading so that it sounds like everyday talking.
  • Maintaining rate of reading to facilitate comprehension.

Motivation. This includes:

  • Reading needs to be fun.
  • A child needs to get enjoyment from reading through learning things that are interesting to them.

If you have concerns for your child's reading skills, contact Chatterbox Speech Pathology to book an assessment.

  • In Penrith (02) 4731 2432
  • In Narellan (02) 4647 6777