The Simple View of Reading is a widely accepted theoretical framework that explains reading comprehension as the product of two essential components: decoding and linguistic comprehension. According to this view, reading ability is the result of the interaction between these two components.

  1. Decoding: Decoding refers to the process of translating written symbols (letters or graphemes) into their corresponding sounds (phonemes). It involves phonics skills and the ability to accurately and fluently read words. Decoding is crucial because it enables readers to access the phonological representation of words, allowing them to recognize and pronounce them accurately.

  2. Linguistic Comprehension: Linguistic comprehension refers to the understanding of language and the meaning of words, sentences, and texts. It involves vocabulary knowledge, grammar, syntactic structures, and comprehension strategies. Linguistic comprehension allows readers to make sense of the words they have decoded, comprehend the meaning of sentences and paragraphs, and extract the overall message or information from a text.

According to the Simple View of Reading, reading comprehension can be represented mathematically as the product of decoding and linguistic comprehension. In this framework, if either decoding or linguistic comprehension is weak, it will impact overall reading comprehension. For example, a reader with strong decoding skills but weak linguistic comprehension may be able to accurately read words but struggle to understand their meaning in context, resulting in limited comprehension. Similarly, a reader with strong linguistic comprehension but weak decoding skills may struggle to accurately decode words, hindering their ability to comprehend the text.

The Simple View of Reading emphasizes the importance of developing both decoding and linguistic comprehension skills to become a proficient reader. Effective reading instruction should include explicit phonics instruction to develop decoding skills and explicit instruction in vocabulary, grammar, and comprehension strategies to enhance linguistic comprehension. By addressing both components, educators can support the development of strong reading skills and improve overall reading comprehension.