What is Reading?

Reading is the ability to construct linguistic meaning from written representations of language.
This ability is based upon two equally important competencies.
1. Language comprehension – the ability to construct meaning from spoken representations of language.
2. Decoding – the ability to recognize written representations of words

Neither of these competencies are sufficient in themselves. The only route to successful reading comprehension is through success at both language comprehension and decoding.

As you can imagine many children struggle with reading.

At Castle Hill Tutoring we have Skills, Knowledge, and Resources to tackle your child’s reading problems.
We first test each student to ascertain their specific learning difficulty and then develop a plan of action that is appropriate for them. Our main go to resource is Cracking the ABC Code which is a multisensory reading and spelling program developed by Dr Lillian Fawcett. All of the stages of literacy development have been incorporated into Cracking the ABC Code.
It has been developed over many years and tried and tested on numerous students with excellent results. In addition, the programs utilise a range of memory techniques and a multisensory approach to maximum retention of the information taught (see for example Krafnick et al.’s 2011 study for the benefits of such an approach).


There are three basic types of reading problems.

  1. General” reading problem which characteristically involves a difficulty decoding text and a difficulty understanding spoken language. There are numerous reason for this type of reading difficulty and it is relatively common. Some of the reasons for this General reading problem are listed below.
  2. Dyslexia is the ability to understand spoken language but the inability to decode text.
    Dyslexia is believed to affect about one is five people.
  3. Hyperlexia is characterised by the ability to rapidly and easily decode text without understanding what is being read. Hyperlexia is the least common reading disorder.

Some factors that contribute to general reading problems

  • chronic absenteeism
  • sensory impairment(s)
  • delayed acquisition of language
  • speech sound errors
  • social-emotional difficulties
  • limited early language and literacy exposure
  • low socio-economic status
  • gaps in reading instruction
  • disrupted learning 
  • If English is not a student’s first language, or the primary language spoken at home, this may contribute to initial difficulties while the child masters the language.

For more information on the reading hierarchy