I hope you and your loved ones are safe during this time of Covid-19.
Right now, many of us are facing the reality of having our children at home instead of at school and we are not sure how to best support their learning. This can be very challenging.
One of the most important things you can do as a parent is to focus on your parent-child relationship and not get too upset if acting as a teacher doesn’t work for your relationship. In the long term, it is more important that your main focus is the parent-child relationship.
However, the best way you can help your child learn is by being sure that you are teaching them at their level. In today’s post, I am going to be talking about the four different phases of how reading and spelling develop.
If you take the time to understand what phase your child is at for their literacy development, you will have greater success helping them develop the skills they need and save yourself some frustration.
The 4 Phases of Reading and Spelling Development
It takes years for an individual to become a skilled reader because there are several skills they need to develop as they learn to read. Once you understand which phase your child or student is in, you will be able to decide which activities would be best for them at this stage of development.
Children are in this phase before they begin any formal reading instruction.
At this point, they understand some basic ideas about print and books. This means while they know that written words on convey spoken messages, they have not discovered that letters represent the sounds in words.
These children may know their letter names, but they are not sure what the letters represent.
They may know how to read some words in context, like the word stop on a stop sign but they would not be able to read it if they say it in a book.
Children might be able to identify more complex words on familiar logos such as food chains like McDonald’s, Burger King or Subway but if they came across the word McDonald’s in a book about Old MacDonald’s Farm they would not recognize it.
They would tell you it said Burger King and not Bubger King. This is considered a form of logographic reading. They are using visual strategies to recognize Burger King’s looks and do not pay attention to the letters within the logo.
Children in this phase can also learn to recognize what their own and other family member’s names look like. What I mean is that they can identify the name when they see it, but they cannot tell you why it is their name.
At this point, the only strategies they have for reading is rote memory, by seeing it in context, or by using visual pattern identification. Their spelling of words will likely be a random mix of letters and numbers they can form with no logic to their order.
When they are asked to read, they will often try to sound out the first few letters and then guess at the rest. They should be able to start to sound out phonetic, one-syllable words.
In the beginning, when they are asked to spell a word, they will start out by only representing the letters they hear most clearly in the word. Often children will spell words with some consonant letters but leave out the vowels.
Later Alphabetic Phase
As children learn how to represent all the different speech sounds as letters that are used to create words, they become better at reading and spelling. At first they are slow at sounding out words because they need to focus on matching letters to their sounds but over time this becomes more automatic.
As children get more practice reading, they begin to build up a list of known words in their memory. These are words they have read correctly enough times to know them just by looking at them.
At this phase, children begin to internalize information about how the written language works, such as common spelling patterns, morphemes, and how words are used.
Full Orthographic Mapping or Consolidated Phase
At this stage, children are able to pick up a book at their level and read it without struggling with too many of the words they come across. They have a large number of words they can automatically recognize at first glance and it only takes a reading a new word a few times before adding it to their repertoire.
Children have a detailed understanding of how sounds, syllables and meaningful parts of words work together. They are able to manipulate a single sound within a word with little effort.