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For The article on Literacy, see Literacy.
For the town in England, see Reading, Berkshire. For other uses, see Reading (disambiguation).
Part of a series on
Learning to read
  • Learning to read
Scientific Theories & Models
  • Dual route theory
  • Simple view of reading
Cognitive processes
  • Comprehension
  • Phonemic awareness
  • Phonological awareness
  • Subvocalization
  • Word recognition
Reading instruction
  • Analytical phonics
  • Basal reader
  • Guided reading
  • Independent reading
  • Literature circle
  • Phonics
  • Reciprocal teaching
  • Structured word inquiry
  • Synthetic phonics
  • Whole language
Reading rate
  • Fluency
  • Slow reading
  • Speed reading
  • Readability
  • Readability test
Reading differences & disabilities
  • Dyslexia
  • Hyperlexia
  • Reading disability
  • Reading for special needs
  • Alphabetic principle
  • Braille
  • Dolch word list
  • Grapheme
  • History of printing
  • Language
  • Languages by writing system
  • Morpheme
  • Orthography
  • Phoneme
  • Sight word
  • Vocabulary
  • Writing
  • Writing system
  • Children's literature
  • Critical literacy
  • Close reading
  • Distant reading
  • Great books
  • Literacy
  • Literature
  • Literary criticism
  • Functional illiteracy
  • Family literacy
  • v
  • t
  • e
Cognitive process of decoding symbols to derive meaning
Illustration of two people reading

Reading is the process of receiving or taking in the sense or meaning of letters, symbols, etc., especially by sight or touch.[1]

For educators and researchers, reading is a multifaceted process involving such areas as word recognition, orthography, alphabetics, phonics, phonemic awareness, vocabulary, comprehension, fluency, and motivation.[2][3]

Other types of reading and writing, such as pictograms (e.g., a hazard symbol and an emoji), are not based on speech based writing systems.[4] The common link is the interpretation of symbols to extract the meaning from the visual notations or tactile signals (as in the case of Braille).[5]

Historically, being literate is having the ability to read and write.[6][7] And, being illiterate was considered to be the inability to read and write. However, since the 1980's literacy has taken on a more extensive meaning and may include numeracy skills and some social and cultural elements (e.g.,to use written material to interpret, create, communicate and compute; or, to use information to express ideas, make decisions and solve problems).[8][9] In addition, the term literacy is often used to mean being knowledgeable in a particular field (e.g., computer literacy, ecological literacy and health literacy).[10][11][12][13]