Reading is an academic subject considered crucial to modern elementary education. It is one of the 3 R's (reading, 'riting, and 'rithmetic).
- Do we read whole words in an instant, or by sounds? The fluent reader quickly perceives whole words, but the path to fluency is through mastering the connection between letter combinations and the sounds they represent. The fact is that our letters stand for sounds, not ideas. While some still debate "whole language" versus "phonics" instruction, experts such as Priscilla Vail recognize that language has structure and texture, and our students need to develop both. 
- Whole language vs. phonics debate