It’s no secret that children follow an incredibly similar pattern of reading behaviors as they steadily begin to learn and understand how to read, to identifying each letter of the alphabet and being able to read fluently. There are very clear and distinct stages of development when it comes to reading, which is why there is an abundance of specific reading behaviors, and key development signs that can be identified easily at each of these stages.
Pre-readers require plenty of enriching and enjoyable experiences when it comes to the idea of books, especially picture books. Children can become increasingly comfortable with books that contain plenty of imagery even before they can read. A child that is at the development stage of a pre-reader is capable of working with concepts of print and will be noticeably at the beginning stages of developing the capability to focus attention on a particular letter-sound. Your child is most likely a pre-reader if they mostly:
- Plays with books as a toy but isn’t yet able to understand the content inside.
- Has been introduced to books and enjoys hearing them
- Doesn’t understand that the pages contain words that are related to a particular story.
- Is attracted to bright illustrations and colors found in books, but doesn’t relate the images to the story.
- Unable to identify any letters or words on the pages.
- Pretends to write using a pen or pencil.
- Enjoys looking through different forms of literature unaided.
- Approximate age for a pre-reader is 2 to 4 years old
Readers who are only just beginning are able to use a handful of methods in order to predict a word. One method which is often used is using imagery in order to confirm your child’s own predictions of words. It is a fundamental time where reading habits of confirming, predicting and risk-taking with words will occur. Your child is most likely a beginner reader if they mostly:
- Requires some form of imagery on each page in order to help tell the story.
- Can identify letters in the alphabet
- Can identify and pronounce sounds of the alphabet.
- Memorizes books and stories and tries to read them again.
- Reads aloud expressively and doesn’t use any form of punctuation.
- Encounters an unknown or difficult word and skips over it.
- Approximate age for a pre-reader is 4 to 6 years old.
Intermediate readers will often enjoy reading books that are a series. They will enjoy the idea of the same characters across a variety of titles. If your child is an intermediate reader, you will notice that they read at a good pace. At this stage of development, children will generally have formed their own strategies and methods in order to figure out many of the words but will still continue to require some form of help with understanding more difficult words or sentences. Your child is most likely an intermediate reader if they mostly:
- Reads smoothly and at a good pace.
- May stop to figure out a word or sound. Few mistakes may occur.
- Uses imagery as well as context in order to gain clues as to what the story is about.
- Encounters an unknown word and will try to sound it out.
- Capable of answering simple questions regarding the story.
- Reads aloud expressively. May pause to identify punctuation.
- Enjoys new books.
- Easier books are now read independently.
- Approximate age for a pre-reader is 6 to 8 years old
There are also an abundance of websites out there to help your child develop their reading further:
For more information and detailed advice on your child’s literacy milestones and development, why not check out:
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