I love words and concepts and "isness" (ontology).
Someone, elsewhere here, said "reading is a tool." I said no, reading is an ability, a skill.
Reading is hard for people to think about objectively, even unschoolers. I want to run an analogy, please here:
Reading music. Reading musical notation.
A drumstick is a tool. A tuning key for a harp is a tool. The ability to read music—especially to read it fluently—is a skill that involves more than one ability, perhaps.
So I think reading is a skill. But "the ability to read" sounds right, too.
Driving a car is a skill that takes more than one ability, at first. After all of those things are combined and driving smoothly and safely and confidently has been accomplished, then driving is an ability.
Driving isn't a tool. An automobile isn't a tool—it's a conveyance, and a machine / contraption. :-)
Clarity leads to more clarity.
Is phonics "a tool"? In a way, it is.
People talk about having "a parenting toolbox," and those are all ideas.
"Tools and tricks" is a phrase I've used for those kinds of"tools" (or tricks).
Clarity Real Learning