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Mountain View College, College Heights, Mt.

Nebo, Valencia
School of the Light

Word Recognition
School of Education (SOE)
Developmental Reading 1

Submitted by: Harly Davidson Lumasag

Submitted to: Dr. Olivia B. Vasquez

I. Introduction
Throughout history, many seemingly logical beliefs have been
debunked through research and science. Alchemists once
believed lead could be turned into gold. Physicians once
assumed the flushed red skin that occurred during a fever was
due to an abundance of blood, and so the cure was to remove
the excess using leeches (Worsley, 2011). People believed that
the earth was flat, that the sun orbited the earth, and until the
discovery of microorganisms such as bacteria and viruses, they
believed that epidemics and plagues were caused by bad air
(Byrne, 2012). One by one, these misconceptions were dispelled
as a result of scientific discovery. The same can be said for
misconceptions in education, particularly in how children learn
to read and how they should be taught to read.
In just the last few decades there has been a massive shift in
what is known about the processes of learning to read.
Hundreds of scientific studies have provided us with valuable
knowledge regarding what occurs in our brains as we read. For
example, we now know there are specific areas in the brain that
process the sounds in our spoken words, dispelling prior beliefs
that reading is a visual activity requiring memorization (Rayner,
Foorman, Perfetti, Pesetsky, & Seidenberg, 2001). Also, we now
know how the reading processes of students who learn to read
with ease differ from those who find learning to read difficult.
For example, we have learned that irregular eye movements do
not cause reading difficulty. Many clever experiments (see
Rayner et al., 2001) have shown that skilled readers eye
movements during reading are smoother than struggling
readers because they are able to read with such ease that they
do not have to continually stop to figure out letters and words.
Perhaps most valuable to future teachers is the fact that a
multitude of studies have converged, showing us which
instruction is most effective in helping people learn to read. For
instance, we now know that phonics instruction that is
systematic (i.e., phonics elements are taught in an organized
sequence that progresses from the simplest patterns to those
that are more complex) and explicit (i.e., the teacher explicitly
points out what is being taught as opposed to allowing students

to figure it out on their own) is most effective for teaching

students to read words (NRP, 2000).
As you will learn, word recognition, or the ability to read words
accurately and automatically, is a complex, multifaceted process
that teachers must understand in order to provide effective
instruction. Fortunately, we now know a great deal about how to
teach word recognition due to important discoveries from
current research.

II. Body
Word recognition is the act of seeing a word and recognizing its
pronunciation immediately and without any conscious effort. If
reading words requires conscious, effortful decoding, little
attention is left for comprehension of a text to occur. Since
reading comprehension is the ultimate goal in teaching children
to read, a critical early objective is to ensure that they are able
to read words with instant, automatic recognition (Garnett,
2011). What does automatic word recognition look like?
Consider your own reading as an example. Assuming you are a
skilled reader, it is likely that as you are looking at the words on
this page, you cannot avoid reading them. It is impossible to
suppress reading the words that you look at on a page. Because
you have learned to instantly recognize so many words to the
point of automaticity, a mere glance with no conscious effort is
all it takes for word recognition to take place. Despite this word
recognition that results from a mere glance at print, it is critical
to understand that you have not simply recognized what the
words look like as wholes, or familiar shapes. Even though we
read so many words automatically and instantaneously, our
brains still process every letter in the words subconsciously. This
is evident when we spot misspellings. For example, when quickly
glancing at the words in the familiar sentences, Jack be nimble,
Jack be quick. Jack jamped over the canbleslick, you likely
spotted a problem with a few of the individual letters. Yes, you

instantly recognized the words, yet at the same time you noticed
the individual letters within the words that are not correct.
To teach students word recognition so that they can achieve this
automaticity, students require instruction in: phonological
awareness, decoding, and sight recognition of high frequency
words (e.g., said, put). Understanding what is word
recognition means different things to many educators. Some
teachers feel that pure word recognition is knowledge of Dolch
Word recognition or sight words. That is not accurate (and
please do not confuse Fry Words with sight words). Word
recognition means much more than being able to quickly read an
instant word list. The science of word recognition skills is based
in word identification and word discrimination. Word
identification (sometimes synonymous with word recognition
skills) is about the processes students use to pronounce
unknown words and be able to identify its meaning within the
context of the sentence. It also includes phonic analysis, use of
word parts (structure of words) and the awareness of how to use
context clues. Intelligent word recognition is also based on word
discrimination. This is using complex processes to note
differences between two printed words, analyze them rapidly,
and not lose the meaning of the text.
As teachers, we must ensure that all students learn phoneme
awareness, decoding, and sight word recognitionthe elements
necessary for learning how to succeed in word recognition.

III. Conclusion
In order for students to comprehend text while reading, it is vital
that they be able to read the words on the page. Teachers who
are aware of the importance of the essential, fundamental
elements which lead to successful word recognition
phonological awareness, decoding, and sight recognition of
irregular wordsare apt to make sure to teach their students
each of these so that their word reading becomes automatic,
accurate, and effortless. Todays teachers are fortunate to have
available to them a well-established bank of research and

instructional activities that they can access in order to facilitate

word recognition in their classrooms.
The Simple View of Readings two essential components,
automatic word recognition and strategic language
comprehension, combine to allow for skilled reading
comprehension. Students who can both recognize the words on
the page and understand the language of the words and
sentences are much more likely to enjoy the resulting advantage
of comprehending the meaning of the texts that they read.