Children learning to read are faced with a very difficult task. For skilled readers, many of the component processes involved in reading occur fairly automatically and effortlessly, yet for the beginning reader they may be plodding, time-consuming activities. In this chapter, we examine a number of characteristics of learning to read, focusing on the skills or component processes that the child must acquire. While we will touch on cross-cultural issues, the focus of the chapter will be on learning to read English.