Reading Theory | 123Read&Write

Reading is the transferring of print to speech. Reading is a combination of language and meaning.

With regards to reading theory, there are two viewpoints to keep in mind.

a. Reading is the transferring of print to speech.

b. Reading is a combination of language and meaning; and how they correlate from the beginning.

When reading problems exist, a good place to start one’s investigations, as to its root cause, are physical factors.

            To begin, a child’s vision should be assessed. A child’s eyes must be healthy and functioning properly to be able to process print. The eyes need to be correctly focused to decipher images properly. Depending on the health of a child’s eyes, in its most minor impairment level, one my experience mild blurry vision. In its most limiting deficiency, double vision to legal blindness can be the case. By having your child’s eyesight tested, it can deter possible reading problems.

            The next physical limitation which can impair a child’s reading aptitude is hearing. A child’s sense of hearing is categorized into two components. These are . . .

a. discrimination

b. acuity

Discrimination is the ear’s ability to discern similarities and differences between differing word pairs (i.e. hot and hat). Acuity, on the other hand, is the ear’s ability to receive and transfer auditory sounds with minimal interference.

            Another factor regarding reading problems is the child’s neurological health. Past studies have shown the significance between the way the brain’s two hemisphere’s function. Basically, the brain’s left hemisphere allows the understanding of the written and spoken word. The brain’s right hemisphere is accountable for cognitive operations (i.e. thinking, memory, etc.) (Benson, 1976; Giordano, 1978). In order for the reading process to function properly, both of the brain’s hemispheres need to be completely developed and integrated (Vernon, 1977).

            An additional factor which is gaining momentum regarding its effects on a child’s chance for success with regards to reading readiness is their home and cultural environments. A child’s home and cultural environment, economic status, etc. all have a large impact on a child’s reading success. It can be argued that learning starts in the home. If reading is modeled (i.e. reading to your child before bedtime), proper language skills are observed, and the cultural expectations of a child’s academic successes have a tremendous impact on a child’s reading achievements. Unfortunately, the main challenge regarding these factors is that educators have no control over them. Therefore, an educator can have all the good intentions in the world to help a child succeed in reading; but if they are in conflict with a child’s socioeconomic factors, it’s very difficult to overcome.

            In the end, it’s very evident that learning to read is correlated with many different facets. These factors include physical, neurological, socioeconomic, and educational issues. Deciphering where a problem may lie is the first step in helping one’s child learn to read.


Benson, D. Frank. “Alexia.” In Aspects of Reading Acquisition, pp. 7 – 36. John     T. Guthrie, ed. Baltimore and London: The Johns Hopkins University Press, 1976.

Giordano, Gerald. “Convergent Research on Language and Teaching Reading.” Exceptional Children, 44 (May 1978), 604 – 11.

Rude, Robert T., and William J. Oehlkers. Helping Students with Reading Problems. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall, 1984. Print.

Vernon, Magdalen, D. “Varieties of Deficiency in the Reading Process.” Harvard Educational Review, 47, no. 3 (Aug. 1977), 396 – 410.