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faceted factors. On the assumption that understanding can move public discussion beyond the polemics of the past, we have made it an important goal of this report to make the complexities known: many factors that correlate with reading fail to explain it; many experiences contribute to reading development without being prerequisite to it; and although there are many prerequisites, none by itself appears to be sufficient. Our review of the research literature makes clear, nevertheless, the general requirements of effective reading instruction.

Adequate initial reading instruction requires a focus on:

·      using reading to obtain meaning from print;

·      the sublexical1structure of spoken words;

·      the nature of the orthographic2system;

·      the specifics of frequent, regular spelling-sound relationships;

·      frequent opportunities to read; and

·      opportunities to write.

Adequate progress in learning to read English beyond the initial level depends on:

·      having established a working understanding of how sounds are represented alphabetically;

·      sufficient practice in reading to achieve fluency with different kinds of texts written for different purposes; and

·      control over procedures for monitoring comprehension and repairing misunderstandings.

Effective instruction includes artful teaching that transcends—and often makes up for—the constraints and limitations of specific instructional programs. Although we have not incorporated lessons from artful teaching practices with the same comprehensiveness as

1 Sublexical means concerning the phonological and morphological components of words, such as the sounds of individual and groups of letters.

2 Orthographic means features of the writing system, particularly letters and their sequences in words.

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