Month: September 2021

Getting on the Bike: Stage I

Those of you who have read the last few posts, know that we have been talking about the Stages of Reading Development as a type of “road map” that helps you know where your child is at any given time (Getting a Roadmap).

Understanding the Stages also helps with “next-step thinking.

Previously, we talked about Stage 0 which typically starts in preschool and ends with the child leaving kindergarten  (Stage 0: Moving Down the Road).

A child is ready to leave Stage 0 when they know their letter names and the sounds of the letters automatically.  The child may also know a smattering of sight words.

Stage I of reading development typically corresponds to the beginning of first grade into middle second grade.

Stage I is like learning to ride a bike.  In the beginning of Stage I, the child will be shaky for quite some time and there’ll be much insecurity at the start, with more confidence developing.

Stage I is a crucial stage of reading development and it is the foundation upon which all later reading skills are supported.  It is important for you to be patient and to exposure child to simple word patterns.  It is also essential that you do not try and mix too many large, multisyllabic words, as these would be challenging and overwhelming for children in this stage.

It can’t be stressed enough that this is not a stage to rush through quickly.  Mastering the fundamental skills before moving on to the next one is crucial.

Mastering Stage I typically occurs when the child can read “sight words” fairly automatically and is starting to show basic decoding of simple word patterns (consonant-vowel-consonant patterns, such as, set, got, fit, hat).

Following the C-V-C patterns to master in this stage, the next would be words that follow C-C-V-C (e.g., flat, trot, drip), then moving to more complex word patterns, that follow C-C-V-C-C words  (e.g., stomp, flinch, trots).

When a child is showing signs of significant struggling that suggests a possible reading/learning problem, they typically stay in Stage I much longer than children who are smoothly moving through this stage.

With such children it is even more important that you do not rush things and proceed into a level that will be overwhelming and  frustrating.

Copyright, 2021
Questions or topics email Dr. Selznick.  Not in the South Jersey area? For a free 15 Minute Consultation, contact Dr. Selznick: email –

“Moving Down the Road: (Stage 0)”

In the previous blog post from 9/17/2 , we introduced an “old school,” but still very relevant, concept –   “The Stages of Reading Development,” developed by Dr. Jeanne Chall in the 1960’s  (Getting a Roadmap).

Knowing the stages and what is expected typically at a given age, provides a roadmap that can help to guide you as to what is considered expected or “average” within a given age range.

This roadmap also helps you to understand what you should be emphasizing at any given point and gets you into “next step” thinking.

Children with learning problems/disabilities tend to get “stuck” within a given stage and don’t progress at an expected rate. So, for example, you might have a nine year old who is still in Stage I which corresponds to the early first grade of reading development.

Stage 0

Dr. Chall called the first stage, Stage 0 (even though I might have preferred she called it Stage I, rather than Stage 0).

Typically, Stage 0 starts at birth and goes through to the end kindergarten.  Much of what is emphasized within this stage is linked to language development.

For example, talking to infants/toddlers, reading bedtime stories, playing different games that emphasize language are all examples of good Stage 0 activities laying a foundation for later reading development.

What represents a child adequately progressing beyond Stage 0 and ready to move into Stage I?

For a child to be ready to move out of this stage, they need to know upper and lower case letters automatically (by name and by sound).

Many children who are ready to move into the next stage also know a small number of easy, high frequency sight words, such as dog, stop, book, the, and.

It is important to stress that children in this stage are not yet reading any extended text.  If they are, then that means they have moved beyond Stage 0.

One last point.

It is important to emphasize that if you are the parent of a child in this stage, you should not look to move out of the stage too quickly.

It is better to spend time exposing the child to many of the early concepts, which will pay dividends in the later stages of actual reading instruction and development.  In other words, do not get too concerned about accelerating the reading instruction that will be coming later.

Make sure they know their letter names and sounds before moving on to “real reading.”

Copyright, 2021
Questions or topics email Dr. Selznick.  Not in the South Jersey area? For a free 15 Minute Consultation, contact Dr. Selznick: email –


Getting a Roadmap

When it comes to their  children struggling with reading, parents could use some road maps.

An “old-school” concept  not discussed much anymore, but that is still quite relevant has to do with the “stages of reading development.”

The stages provide a type of road map, as every child (not just those who are struggling) are somewhere on a continuum within the stages.  Knowing where your child is on this continuum helps to guide you as to what you should be doing relative to any type of instruction or tutoring that may be taking place.

The stages help in what I call “next-step thinking.”

Fundamental questions such as “Does might child need decoding? Fluency? Comprehension?  Vocabulary?” should be answered by knowing where your child in in the stage your child is in the stages.

The stages reveal answers to such questions.

For example, if you know that the child is in early Stage I of development (regardless of the child’s age and grade), will have clear implication for what the emphasis should be relative to any instruction taking place.

The concept of the Stages of Reading Development originated from the theories of the late Dr. Jeanne Chall, a renowned reading expert, psychologist and  researcher from Harvard University.  Even though her theories were written decades ago, they continue to apply today.

Over the next few weeks we will drill down on the stages so that you’ll have a full understanding of the relevance for your child’s development.

Copyright, 2021
Questions or topics email Dr. Selznick.  Not in the South Jersey area? For a free 15 Minute Consultation, contact Dr. Selznick: email –

Feeling the Twinge

Sometimes I can feel the twinge coming on.  It usually occurs when I hear the misinformation parents are given from schools or have heard through the grapevine.

Here’s a small sampling of what parents are frequently told regarding dyslexia:

  • “Well, we really don’t know what dyslexia is?” (Ugh, yes we do.)
  • “Only medical doctors can diagnose dyslexia.” (Really? So a neurologist will give a broad array of measures that assesses word identification, reading accuracy and oral reading fluency along with spelling and writing, all of which are necessary to diagnose dyslexia.  I don’t know too many medical doctors doing these tests.)
  • “The only thing in reading that matters is comprehension.” (So, if the child reads “medichan” for “mechanic,” that’s ok as long as they can answer some questions and somehow gets the gist of the story?)
  • “It’s probably all attention – maybe you should see a doctor since we can’t diagnose.” (The unspoken, but clearly delivered message is, “Your child should be on medication and that will take care of it.”  Not sure how that will help the child just mentioned who couldn’t read “mechanic?”)
  • “How can it be dyslexia? He’s not reversing when he reads.?” ( Reversals – Mythology #1)

To cut through a lot of the misinformation and mythologies I would recommend that you visit a few website to help keep you on the “straight and narrow.”

These include:

Then, there is my all-time favorite,, where there are over 500 blog posts, interviews and other such stuff.  (OK, a little self-promotion isn’t going to hurt anyone!)

Takeaway Point

There’s a lot of buzz on the street when it comes to children and their issues.  Be careful with what you are being told as much of it does not hold up with the research and the reality.

Copyright, 2021
Questions or topics email Dr. Selznick.  Not in the South Jersey area? For a free 15 Minute Consultation, contact Dr. Selznick: email –


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