Explicit instruction is instruction that does not leave anything to chance, and it does not make assumptions about skills and knowledge that children will acquire “on their own.”
For example, explicit instruction requires teachers to directly make connections between the letters in print and the sounds in words, and it requires that these relationships be taught in a comprehensive fashion. It also requires that the meanings of words be directly taught and be explicitly practiced so that they are accessible when children are reading text. Finally, it requires not only direct practice to build fluency, but also careful, sequential instruction and practice in the use of comprehension strategies to help construct meaning.
Using Common Science and Common Sense to Teach All Children to Read by Holly B. Lane, Ph.D. University of Florida firstname.lastname@example.org (pdf file of ppt presentation)