We are searching data for your request:
Upon completion, a link will appear to access the found materials.
Learning to read fluently is a process that can take several years to complete. Children progress through four stages on the road to reading: pre-reader, beginning reader, intermediate reader, and advanced reader. While most kids learn to read between kindergarten and 2nd grade, there’s no set timetable. Some children develop the skill faster or slower than others. In this article, you'll learn more about the four reading stages and how your child will learn to unlock the meaning of letters and words to understand what's written on the page and screen.
our site may earn a commission from shopping links.
Learning to read is a process that can take years, and although each child learns at his own pace, most progress through four basic reading stages. Review the following descriptions to find out which stage of reading your child is in and how to help your child strengthen reading skills at each step along the way.
Signs of a Pre-Reader: Ages 2 to 4
Your child is probably a pre-reader (also called a pre-emergent reader) if he does most of the following:
- Plays with books as toys but doesn't yet understand that they contain stories
- Has been exposed to books and enjoys hearing them, but doesn't yet comprehend that the pages contain words that correspond to a story
- Is attracted to the bright colors and illustrations found in books, but doesn't understand that the pictures depict a story
- Can't identify any words or letters on the pages, though may seem interested in learning the names of letters
- Pretends to write with a pencil or pen
- Enjoys looking through books and magazines on his own
Most preschoolers are in the pre-reading stage.
How to help: Share books and more books with your child. Best bets are those that feature rhyming and word patterns, vivid illustrations, and stories you loved as a child. For more suggestions on what to read, see BabyCenter's advice on choosing books for your pre-reader.
Signs of a Beginning Reader: Ages 4 to 6
Your child is probably a beginning reader (also known as an emerging reader) if she does most of the following:
- Needs pictures on each page to help tell the story
- Can name the letters in the alphabet and knows many of the letter sounds
- Memorizes books and tries to read them again and again
- Reads aloud unexpressively and doesn't stop for punctuation
- Comes across an unknown word and is able to sound out the beginning, but then makes up the rest or skips over it
Many kindergartners can be at this level of reading, with one of their key skills being the ability to distinguish between the sounds letters make. Having this "ear" for letters will help kids accelerate their path to reading.
How to help: Reading along with your preschooler can be a huge boost to their reading progress. Talking to your child about the pictures, pointing to words as you read them, and reading everywhere you go (road signs, store signs, etc.) are just a few of the ways to help your beginning reader move to the next level.
Signs of an Intermediate Reader: Ages 6 to 8
Your child is probably an intermediate reader (also known as a developing reader) if he does most of the following:
- Reads smoothly most of the time with few mistakes, but sometimes stops to sound out words
- Uses pictures as well as context clues from the rest of the sentence to figure out the meaning of a story
- Comes across an unknown word, sounds it out, and can usually figure out the meaning based on context
- Can answer simple questions about the story
- Reads aloud expressively sometimes and pauses for most punctuation
- Enjoys new books, reading easier ones independently and more difficult ones with the help of an older child or adult
By the time many children enter 1st grade (usually between 6 and 7 years old), they're able to "decode" what they see on the page. Children in the intermediate stage of reading can pair letters with sounds and match up spoken words with their written counterparts.
How to help: At this stage, the most important thing you can do is give your budding reader freedom to blossom. Allow your child to pick out their own books, read on their own, and read no anywhere they want (within reason). Children in the intermediate reading stage need as much independent reading practice as they can get. The best way to encourage more reading is to let them read whatever they want so they enjoy it. Above all, skip making reading an "assignment." For more advice on how to unleash your child's inner bookworm, see tips on helping your intermediate reader become a fluent reader.
Signs of an Advanced Reader: Age 8 and up
Your child is probably an advanced reader (also known as a fluent reader) if she does most of the following:
- Reads smoothly with few, if any, breaks
- Reads chapter books and can fully comprehend most or all of the story
- Enjoys books without pictures
- Looks up an unknown word, or asks the meaning of the word and usually remembers it the next time she sees the word
- Can answer questions about the material and share feelings and thoughts about the story
- Reads aloud expressively throughout, with a full understanding of punctuation and rhythm
- Reads chapter books and shows interest in longer, more detailed stories
Many children hit their reading stride during the 2nd grade. At this point, they no longer have to carefully sound out each word. Reading becomes more automatic and they can shift their energy to enjoying the meaning of what they're reading.
How to help: Playing to your child's learning style and sparking their creativity can help cement advanced reading skills. For physical learners, create a family newspaper or make your own bookmarks. For auditory learners, seek out story time online and off or have them read to someone (sharing a book with the grandparents or even a beloved pet can work out well). And for visual learners, create a photo scrapbook and write captions describing what is happening in the photos to reinforce associations between imagery and story. Get more tips on helping an advanced reader.
Is your child ready for reading? The HOMER app will create a personalized learn-to-read plan based on your child's skill level and interests. It's a fun, interactive reading program developed by literacy experts. our site parents get the first month free (and, depending on the program you choose, up to 4 months free).