Reading isn't automatic. It's a skill we have to learn.
Source: Decoding, Reading, and Reading Disability by Philip E. Gough and William E. Tumner
How do we learn to read?
When we read, our brains connect how printed letters and words look on the page, how letters and words sound, and what words mean. To do this, we need to know how to translate how letters and words look when printed into how they sound when we talk out loud. That's called decoding. It's how we learn word recognition. We also need to know what words mean. We need to understand lots of vocabulary words, and we need to understand the context of what we’re reading. That's called language comprehension. These two components—word recognition and language comprehension—form the foundation of reading.