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Understanding the Early Stages of Literacy Development by John Jezzini


Acquiring words, sounds, and languages are known as literacy development. Children gain literacy skills and the ability to learn to write and read confidently, ultimately enhancing their general communication abilities. A kid’s stages of literacy development might differ based on their understanding levels, but they all involve the same basic ideas.

Considering literacy development in kids as an educator is critical for assisting children in mastering these fundamental skills that prepare them for success in school. Both instructors and students will be better prepared for success in the classroom if they understand literacy development and how to handle each stage of literacy development.

In this interview with John Jezzini, we will better grasp children’s early literacy development stages and the behavior they normally exhibit in each stage. You will be able to recognize which stage your kid is currently in.

Q: John Jezzini can you say why Literacy Development is so Important?

A: Literacy development is an important stage in a child’s life since it forms the foundation of language and reading abilities. To successfully support children at each level of their early literacy development, educators must first grasp why literacy development is so crucial.

Here are a few reasons why early literacy development is critical:

  • Children with excellent reading skills often struggle less with academics and confidently approach their schooling.
  • Strong reading skills effectively transfer into autonomous learning and foster steady improvement inside and outside the classroom.
  • Literacy development influences how pupils interact and solve problems. People with good reading skills often have better cognitive abilities.

Q: What is the main aim of early literacy?

A: We take writing and reading for granted as adults. We need to be made aware that relatively easy tasks like reading a cookbook or writing a letter are complicated procedures that require time.

According to recent research, there are five stages in literacy development that a child undergoes as they learn to read, write, and interpret written language. It’s crucial to remember that everyone progresses through these phases at their rate. Some people may spend longer in one stage than others.

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 Some people may even spend a substantial amount of time in both phases simultaneously. Rushing this process may be harmful; thus, it is critical to accommodate each child’s specific speed. We will be better informed to help our children’s early literacy development if we understand the behaviors they display at each stage.

Q: John Jezzini, quickly run down these 5 stages?

A: The first stage is emergent readers and spellers, or emergent literacy. The first stage usually starts in early childhood and lasts until the child is 5 or 6. It is also known as the pre-illiterate stage.

Examples of the behaviors that children at this stage display are as follows:

  • Pretending to read literature to which they have already been exposed
  • Holds books correctly and loves playing with them.
  • The kid enjoys playing with paper, pencils, crayons, scissors, etc.
  • Can speak and sing the letters but only sometimes identify them individually.
  • Unintelligible letters scribbled, trying to write.

By the conclusion of this stage,

  • They can draw the characters that make up their name since they recognize them.
  • Can recognize and distinguish between lowercase and uppercase letters.
  • They begin to recognize more and more heavy words.
  • They like to write in capital characters.

The second category is “Alphabetic Readers and Spellers”, often known as Alphabetic Fluency. The second stage, commonly referred to as the letter name stage, occurs between the ages of 5 and 8. Children begin formal schooling. They discover the link between sounds and letters at this stage.

Typical behaviors at this time include:

  • They begin to identify words visually.
  • Children begin to write phonetically.
  • Reading is tough for them; therefore, they will utilize context clues such as visuals to figure out the word.
  • They read by finger-pointing and vocalizing the words.
  • They still might reverse letters while spelling.
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The third option is “The Decoding Reader or Words and Patterns.” This period is often experienced by children aged 7 to 9 years. Stage 3 is distinguished by improved fluency and the idea that kids begin to chunk words rather than read individual letters.

Typical behaviors at this time include:

  • Children can read more without help.
  • Their understanding of the text vastly improves.
  • Can identify a large number of high-frequency words

By the conclusion of this stage,

  • Children should be able to read and comprehend around 3000 words.
  • To interpret new words, use fewer and fewer context hints.

Fourth, we have “Transitional or Intermediate Readers and Spellers,” also known as Intermediate Reading; stage 4 covers students aged 9 to 13 to 15 years old.

Among the behaviors seen during this period are:

  • Their understanding of what is read is much improved, and reading is utilized to learn new concepts and information.
  • Children have more techniques for comprehending unexpected language.
  • They begin reading more quickly.

Finally, we have “Fluent Readers and Spellers,” also known as Advanced Reading. At this level, the learner is a fluent and skilled reader. They can read lengthy, difficult materials and books on their own. Reading is employed to meet the professional and personal requirements of the learner. In addition, the reader may synthesize the material and build new knowledge from it.

Hopefully, this knowledge will benefit parents and educators (you may read more about Emergent Literacy in Children and its Importance), and based on some of the usual behaviors; you will be able to assess which stage your kid is in and plan your activities appropriately.

Q: What are the advantages of early literacy development?

A: Every stage of literacy development has distinct difficulties and achievements in learning to read and write confidently. Early childhood development programs aid in the progression of literacy development stages. Various educational resources are available to assist instructors in developing an interesting lesson plan that will entice youngsters to study more. Parents and educators should be devoted to helping children become confident students by providing tools for parents to get their children ready for school and programs for teachers to teach early literacy principles. Several tools and instructional materials are produced for children in pre-kindergarten through fifth grade to assist pupils in achieving at every level of literacy development and early childhood education.

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Q: John Jezzini, what do you think  are the side effects of missing out on early literacy development?

A: Good readers are phonemically aware, comprehend the alphabetic principle, use these abilities quickly and fluently, have rich vocabularies and grammatical skills, and link reading to their own experiences.

Missing out on early literacy development might hinder reading development. Reading starts long before education. From infancy, exciting literacy experiences help children build vocabulary, comprehend reading objectives, and understand print and literacy principles.

The most vulnerable readers risk having a reading failure in kindergarten and primary school without these early experiences. Poor readers often don’t play with language to learn sound structure and patterns. Bedtime and lap time readings are rare.

Thus, children raised in hardship, those with little English proficiency, those from low-literacy households, and those with speech, vernacular, and hearing impairments are more likely to fail reading.

Q: John Jezzini what will be your last words for now?

A: It is crucial to remember that each kid has a unique rhythm; some may spend more time in one stage than others. Parents and educators must enable children to acquire reading skills quickly without pushing them beyond their capabilities.


Eli Mark

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