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Learning to read is arguably the most important milestone of a child’s education, as it provides access to knowledge, work, and social interaction throughout one’s life.  But the importance of reading contrasts sharply with the fact that it is not a universal part of human experience. Rather, reading is a skill that must be acquired over many years.  In this talk, I develop the view that reading systems are always reflections of writing systems, and that skilled reading is best understood as the product of instruction and text experience within a particular writing system.  I will highlight how an understanding of learning can enhance our understanding not only of reading acquisition but also of skilled reading.