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Reading 101

What do educators and families need to know about how children learn to read? Here you can explore reading “basics” — from oral language to comprehension — as well as the key role of background knowledge and motivation in becoming a lifelong reader and learner. You’ll also find our PBS Launching Young Readers series and our self-paced Reading 101 course.

Learning to read is a complex achievement, and learning to teach reading requires extensive knowledge and skills across the components of word recognition, language comprehension, spelling, and writing. Consider what the classroom demands of the teacher.

Louisa Moats (from AFT’s American Educator)

Reading Rockets is made possible with generous support from the National Education Association.

How children learn to read

Take a look at our amazing “reading brain” and what happens when we process print. Get an overview of the simple view of reading and Scarborough’s reading rope — as well as newer models that expand our understanding of how children become skilled readers. Learn about the typical stages of reading development, beginning with oral language comprehension and word recognition. 

What else matters in becoming a skilled reader

Find out why why background knowledge is key to comprehension, and how we can help kids expand their “knowledge bank.” You’ll explore the importance of motivation and engagement in nurturing lifelong readers and learners. And you’ll see how a literacy-rich preschool experience prepares our youngest kids for learning to read and write.

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Build your knowledge about reading

Launching Young Readers visits schools and families across the country, highlighting how to help children become skilled readers. And if you are looking to deepen your knowledge of the building blocks of reading and writing, try one of our nine Reading 101 courses, which explore the building blocks of reading from print awareness to comprehension.

Illustration of fox writing on a laptop