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.
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.”
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