You for Youth logo
Online Professional Learning and
Technical Assistance for
21st Century Community Learning Centers

How Do We Become Good Readers?

Becoming Readers: Mastering the Language and Code

Becoming a reader is not a natural process, but requires direct and explicit instruction. Therefore, it is important to understand the variety of skills children need to acquire in order to become readers. Louisa C. Moats (1999) coined the term “Teaching reading is rocket science."

One way to think about the idea that teaching reading is rocket science is to explore our rocket ship analogy. There are many components that go into developing literate students. To begin with, the rocket ship has two powerful boosters — language and code. The fuel that powers both of these boosters is background knowledge and motivation. 

To learn more about how the different components of the rocket ship power literacy, click on each term below and watch reading skills take off! 



(Moats, L. C. (1999). Teaching reading is rocket science: What expert teachers of reading should know and be able to do. Washington, DC: American Federation of Teachers.)

My Notebook


The Notebook is a useful way to jot down notes as you go through the various topics available on the You For Youth website. If you'd like to use the notebook, please sign in if you already have an account or register now to join the Y4Y community!