The National Assessment of Reading was not based on any one particular approach to the subject of reading. Its primary assumption was that information would help anyone who is interested in reading--regardless of his approach to the subject--determine for himself how well Americans read. The results of this assessment are reported according to a number of themes which unite groups of exercises assessing different aspects of the reading process or different skills involved in the development of reading ability. Nine basic themes were developed: (1) word meanings, (2) visual aids, (3) written directions, (4) reference materials, (5) significant facts in passages, (6) main ideas and organization of passages, (7) inferences from passages, (8) critical reading of passages, and (9) reading rate. Objectives were developed for each of the nine themes, and they became the framework for which the reading exercises were developed. The results for both themes and objectives demonstrated that some groups exhibited a higher achievement than others on specific reading skills and that any given group exhibits higher achievements on some types of reading skills than on others. (WR) Primary type of information provided by report: Results (Overview).