Want to have a deeper understanding of which phases a child goes through when learning to read or what to look out for in your own child's reading development journey? Find out what the different reading stages are and where your child is in their reading.
Many parents count reading as one of the cores of educational development. Yet many are unaware of what or where their child should be in terms of reading stages and development as they grow up. We list down the key competencies that you should observe in your child as they master reading.
Since language mastery is part of reading mastery, it is important to encourage your child’s language development from the time they are an infant. Here is what you can look out for from the ages of zero to one. At this infant stage, kids usually begin to:
- imitate sounds they hear in language
- respond when spoken to
- look and focus at pictures
- reach for books and turn the pages with help
- respond to stories and pictures by vocalizing and patting the pictures
From the ages of one to three, your toddler should be able to string some words together and will not just show an interest in the books but actively participate in it.
The descriptions above describe the pre-alphabetic stage of a child’s reading development. At this reading stage your child should also be able to recognise words according to their shapes. While this displays a marked improvement, a child at this reading stage might still confuse words with similar shapes. The word ball, for example, could be confused with doll.
Partial alphabetic stage
This reading stage is marked by children being able to identify the letter alphabet with the sound it makes. What this translates to is that your child might be able to recognize the word boundaries in print and usually the beginning and ending letters and sounds of a word. For example, the word ‘cat’ – they might be able to recognise it from the front ‘c’ and end ‘t’. However at this stage, your child would be prone to confusing words that start and end with the same words such as ‘cart’ and ‘can’t’.
Full alphabetic phase
As the name suggests, at this reading stage, your child has already memorised the sounds associated with their corresponding letters in the alphabet. They can also recognise the letter visually and sound it out, which points to the first steps in spelling and phonemic awareness. This usually happens when your child enters kindergarten. The writing exercises in school will encourage your child’s alphabetic awareness as well.
Once your child becomes more adept at recognising the alphabet and spelling things out, they should pick up reading at a faster pace and move on towards not just rote reading but reading with comprehension.
Did this information help you figure out what kind of reading stages and development that a child goes through on their reading journey? Remember that this is just a guide and there are no hard and fast rules when it comes to reading stages and development. However, we do suggest that if your child is having trouble recognising letters despite starting school, it would be prudent to consult with a learning disability specialist to rule out any reading problems.
Check out this video on parents reading to their babies and how it’s helped the child’s reading and language development.