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  • Writer's pictureM. Kovack

The Complete Picture

Updated: Oct 21, 2020

*Slightly modified from Kim (2017). Used with permission.

While the Simple View of Reading and Scarborough’s Rope are two of the most effective ways to explain the process of learning to read, this slightly modified graphic from Young-Suk Grace Kim (2017) encompasses a more complete picture of what I see in my practice with students.

Not only do my students present with dyslexia, but they also often (though not always) have some combination of ADHD, slow processing (domain-general cognitive skills/executive function), challenges with listening comprehension (higher order cognition and foundational language skills), weak content knowledge, and/or challenges with social and emotional development.

As I have spent most of my career studying preschool and early literacy skills, I appreciate Kim’s (2017) assertion that “[f]ailing to assess and teach listening comprehension and its underlying skills in the earliest grades is a significant missed opportunity” (Kim, 2020, p. 19). Although challenging to assess, listening comprehension skills begin well before kindergarten, and assessment in listening comprehension is just as important as assessment in phonological awareness and orthographic knowledge (which also begin well before kindergarten).

In my Early Childhood Education Language Arts classes, we spend a great deal of time studying listening comprehension skills. I have them practise reading aloud (several times) and incorporating many listening comprehension strategies (in playful ways) as they read.

Kovack, M. (2019). Early childhood education language arts students practising reading aloud to develop listening comprehension. [digital photo]. Orillia, ON.

I think that every preschool and kindergarten and primary school classroom would benefit from hanging this graphic up in their classrooms where they could see it and ponder its complexities. I think this would spark much curiosity and enthusiasm to want to learn more!


Kim, Y. G. (2017). Why the simple view of reading is not simplistic: Unpacking component skills of reading using a direct and indirect effect model of reading (DIER). Scientific Studies of Reading, 21(4), 310-333. doi:10.1080/10888438.2017.1291643

Kim, Y.G. (2020). Simple but not simplistic: The simple view of reading unpacked and expanded. The Reading League Journal, 1(2), 15-22.

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