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Reading Is Like Driving a Car

Once I watched a recorded webinar given by Terri Noland, Vice President, Educator Initiatives of Learning Ally and hosted by “Why Reading Is Like Driving a Car: Automaticity Is Critical”

Here are some key points:

When we learn to drive, we must think about every little thing that we are doing. As we gain experience many of the tasks involved in driving become second nature and we can do other things while driving.

Like driving, reading requires a number of foundational skills. Our goal is for these skills to become second nature. Once students use these skills automatically, they can concentrate on actually enjoying the story or understanding the concepts.

During childhood, we can multiply the age times 10 and get a general idea of how many words per minute he should be reading.


  • Readers benefit from the pleasure and information that reading provides.

  • Includes: accuracy, automaticity, rate and prosody (expression).

  • Is the most the most important impediment in reading problems

Further fluency requires the following proficiencies:

  • Phonological awareness

  • Accurate decoding

  • Vocabulary

  • Recognizing words – automaticity

  • Constructing with prior knowledge

  • Monitoring comprehension

  • Adjusting as necessary

Two things that help with this process:

  • Schema – building pathways in the brain

  • Working memory – “capacity – 7” -remembering long enough to use

Remember that remediation is not replaced by accommodation nor is accommodation replaced with remediation. Our children need explicit instruction (in those skills mentioned above) plus they need access to grade level material.

At Unlocking Learning Potential, some of the neurodevelopmental activities that we use to build these skills include:

  • Audio books (with and without the text)

  • Reading 100 easy books within a set time period

  • Paired Reading (neurological impress method)

  • Auditory Digit Spans with parent and/or Brain Trainer

  • Auditory Conceptual Word Sequences with parent and/or Brain Trainer

  • Hearbuilder or BrainHQ or Lumosity


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