CRITICAL SKILLS TO BECOME SUCCESSFUL READERS
To become successful readers, children must master the following skills:
Automatic and accurate letter naming
Word reading accuracy and fluency
Passage reading fluency and comprehension
Reading requires the ability to accurately and rapidly recognize and name single words in print. It is this basic skill that most differentiates the dyslexic student from students who do not like to read and those who lack the intellectual ability to read. Word recognition depends on a specific linguistic ability known as phonological awareness. Children with dyslexia are typically slow and inaccurate when they try to link written alphabetic symbols with the sounds they represent, and they often make mistakes when they try to blend those sounds together to read a new word. Conversely, when they try to spell, they have trouble identifying the separate sounds in words and recalling letters that spell them. They may have a poor sense of how words are put together at both the sound and symbol levels.
Automatic and Accurate Letter Naming
A second critical skill that predicts later reading is the ability to recognize and name letters automatically, or without a lot of mental effort. This simple skill, which is easily measured by brief, timed tests of naming letters randomly sequenced in an array, encompasses a number of cognitive or mental skills that are important for reading. First, the reader must recognize the form of the letter and not confuse it with others - a necessity for associating it with the right speech sound. Second, the reader must recognize the written symbol rapidly because this skill is the basis for later automatic recognition of letter sequences that represent sight words. Third, letter names are phonological entities composed of speech sounds.
A third critical skill that should be directly assessed is the ability to link speech sounds with written symbols. Often referred to as phonic knowledge, the matching of speech sounds with letter symbols must be accurate and automatic for a student to decode unknown word. Otherwise, the student will try to guess at words based on the meaning of the passage or sentence.
Word Reading Accuracy and Fluency
As children become more proficient at the more basic skills already described, the goal of phonics instruction is to develop automatic or fast recognition of whole words, or sight recognition for fluent, automatic reading.
Passage Reading Fluency and Comprehension
After about the end of first grade, one of the best overall indicators of reading skill is oral reading fluency. Oral reading fluency is the number of words read correctly in 1 minute when the child reads a passage at an appropriate level of difficulty.
Source:Moats L.C., Dakin K.E., 2008 Basic Facts About Dyslexia & Other Reading Problems