How the Brain Learns to Read

Jessica Allen


When the brain is exposed to speech, it starts to recognize the language hierarchy.

Phonemes are the basic sounds. It can be combined with morphemes, which are the smallest measure of units that have meaning for a language.

Phonemic Awareness

Phonemic awareness is the understanding that words are made up of phonemes (individual sounds). And that sounds can be used to create new words. The awareness also has the ability to separate a phenome from a word.


An approach that builds on associating letters and sounds with symbols that are written. A child that has a good grip with phonics can explain what letter is required to change cat to can.

Learning Video for Kids & Toddlers: Phonics & Reading


Oral vocabulary- Words known when they are spoken

Reading vocabulary- Words known when they are in print.

Having a vocabulary is needed for reading because without it, it would be frustraiting not understanind what is being read.


The readers ability to read with accurancy, speed, and expression while using multiple reading skills at the same time. Fluency is tied with comprehension becaust he reader must be able to move swifly through the text to gather meaning.


The ability to understand what is being read. It is more than reading words on its own. It is putting them all together and drawing meaning from it.

Alphabetic Principles

The understanding that spoken words are made up of phonemes and that those phonemes are represented in written text. The principles are very useful; however, the letters might be unfamiliar and the sounds unnatural.


Working Memory

It is the second temporary memory and the place where conscious processing occurs. The working memory is limited capacity and it usually takes up focus and attention. It can work with only a few items at a time and those items usually stay in the head for about 10-20 minutes before the brain becomes bored.