How do We Read?

When you read, you look at certain symbols and are able to get some meaning from them. For example, a kind of  “reading” is going on when you read symbols on road sign, or when an engineer  reads the markings on a blueprint, or when an Indian sees smoke signals!

When we say “reading”, we usually means reading print or writing. But here, too, we must understand the symbols. The first thing we have to do in learning to reads is to recognize the symbols or letter as being different from others.

Then we must get the idea for which word (or group of symbols) stands. But before we can understand fully, we must be able to relate the symbols or word to our own experience.


Over the years, children have been taught to read by various methods. The “spelling” method begins by teaching the child the names of the letters of the alphabet in order. Next he puts two letters together, then three letters, and spells and pronounces syllables, and then these are joined into words phrases, and sentences.  

In the “phonetic” method, children learn the sounds of the letters then put the sound together to make words. At first only short words are made, then longer ones. In still another method, the child memorizes the way a word, phrase, or sentence looks.

But we can only learn to read when we are ready to begin learning. And for this we must be able to see words or symbols that are alike and different; remember the form of a word; remember ideas in the order in which they are given; bring to mind pictures of objects that the order in which they are given; bring to mind pictures of object that the words describe; move eyes from left to right on a page and any more things!

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