Nobody said reading is simple, and Philip Gough and William Tunmer, didn’t either. Just as medicine has theoretical models, Gough and Tunmer created this formula in 1986 to clarify the role of decoding in reading comprehension. Over 150 empirical research studies have supported this formula.
Decoding (D) x Language Comprehension (LC) = Reading Comprehension (RC)
Simple right? Yes. Simple, but not simplistic! This formula was meant to be a 20,000 view. Each component is necessary, not sufficient. Over time, the weight of the two components shifts. Like a seesaw, the big words carry the meaning so older students still need “decoding/word recognition” but as students become more proficient decoders, more weight can be focused on language.
Phonological Awareness: Awareness of sounds of words in learning to read and spell. (Note: The constituents of words can be distinguished in three ways: (1) by syllables, as /bo˘ok/, (2) by onsets and rimes, as /b/ and /o˘ok/, or (3) by phonemes, as /b/ and /o˘o/ and /k/. (cf. phonemic awareness)
Decoding (and spelling): (reading). (1) Using one or more strategies to identify a printed word and its meaning; (2) Using knowledge of the logic of the written symbol system (especially letter–sound relationships and patterns in alphabetic orthographies) to translate print into speech; encoding involves translating speech into print using this knowledge.
Sight Recognition of familiar words: (not sight words or high frequency words) any word whose pronunciation, spelling, and meaning are linked in long-term memory such that it is recognized automatically, effortlessly, and unconsciously when seen in print
Language Comprehension: The ability to derive meaning from spoken words when they are part of sentences or other discourse.
Background knowledge: The bank of knowledge one possesses based on life experiences and previous learning that is stored in memory and acquired over time.
Vocabulary knowledge: A language user’s knowledge of words.
Language structures: Written syntax, sentence structure and text structure. Understanding how sentences are formed and how they convey meaning is critical to our ability to comprehend while we read.
Verbal reasoning: The ability to put learning into words, to explain answers to the teacher’s questions, to infer, conceptualize and frame thoughts in words – all of these ways of connecting ideas, comparing and contrasting ideas, combining ideas, verbalizing thinking are referred to as verbal reasoning.
Literacy knowledge: The understanding that organizational differences and purposes exist among different text formats. For example, a poem has a different structure and purpose than an essay. Literacy knowledge includes familiarity with the different expository (non-fiction) text structures that authors use to organize information. These include description, sequence, compare, cause and effect, problem/ solution, as well as the use and purpose of headings, captions, and other organizational features.