Early reading stages

FatherSonDaughterReadingChildren go through several developmental stages as they learn to read.  Children learn and develop skills at different ages so these phases in literacy development should be viewed as a guide only and are not age related.

Early emergent readers

At this stage children may begin to write or scribble and separate scribble that represents writing from free flowing drawing. Early emergent readers will handle books, turning the pages and looking at pictures.  They imitate things they see adult readers do, such as holding the book the right way up and turning the pages carefully. They often pretend to read by using the pictures and their memory to retell stories. Children take an interest in books and the writing they see in the world around them.

Emergent readers

Children often read by using pictures or their memory of the story. An emergent reader will read word by word, matching spoken words to print to retell a simple story.  At this stage children may use scribble with random letters and numbers. They will turn pages of a book with left to right directionality, choose favourite books, join in with books that are read aloud and memorise rhymes and predictable books. They will also begin to use initial consonants to write words e.g. d for dog.

Early readers

Early readers may still read word by word and match print and voice.  They will tell you what they think about the things they have read and why they think it.  They can retell the text in sequence and some children display an increasing fluency of reading.  At this stage children may begin to grasp concepts of words and can retell a simple story. They will begin to understand sentences and some punctuation and write in simple sentences. They will begin to write many high frequency words and may use repetitive sentences such as I like...

For more information on the developmental milestones of preschoolers which includes a section on communication and literacy go to  Raising Children Network.

As a teacher of over 30 years, I have witnessed the Better Beginnings program helping to transform children’s lives and given them greater potential to grow, learn and develop, perform well at school and succeed in later life.
Councillor David Lagan, Deputy Mayor, City of Stirling

I tell stories in Vietnamese and read to my children in English.  I only started reading English after receiving Better Beginnings. 

One mother reads with her four year old every afternoon after school now.  She said without these books, they would not have any to read. 
Teacher, Remote Community School

It’s wonderful to have support across the community emphasising the importance of reading and language development. 
Community Health Nurse

…I never thought of reading to my baby.  Better Beginnings has really boosted my confidence.