Reading is a complex process and is often a challenging undertaking for children. Dr. Hollis Scarborough’s Reading Rope is an excellent infographic that depicts the necessary sub-skills needed for accurate, skilled, and fluent reading.
The Reading Rope is comprised of two main strands. The upper strand encompasses language comprehension or what is often referred to as reading comprehension. Within this main strand are smaller individual pieces of rope representing background knowledge (this refers to knowledge of content, facts, concepts, etc.), vocabulary (word meaning, multiple meaning words, shades of meaning, etc.), language structures (sentence structure and grammar), verbal reasoning (inference generation, figurative language, etc.), and literacy knowledge (genres, print concepts, story grammar, etc.).
The lower strand of the Reading Rope involves word recognition or what is often called decoding. The individual pieces of rope from this strand include phonological awareness (rhyme, syllables, individual sounds), decoding (alphabetic principle, letter sound relationships, letter patterns and spelling rules, etc.), and sight word recognition (automatically recognizing words without needed to decode)
In order to execute fluent reading, all of the skills represented by the strands of the rope must be be established and strong. If any piece of the rope is missing or weak, the rope begins to unravel resulting in poor language comprehension and word recognition. Furthermore, this leads to poor reading fluency.
Scarborough’s Reading Rope is a wonderful illustration of the complexities of reading. An image of the Reading Rope and resources to support each of the strands can be found here: https://projects.esc20.net/page/pgc.li.home