Emergent Readers

Reading is an essential skill for building a life that encompasses possibility. Children enter the journey to reading by becoming emergent readers at about two years of age.

Earning a diploma, obtaining a driver’s license, and accessing most careers requires literacy. Successful readers have much greater opportunities, both academically and economically, than those with limited reading abilities. Unfortunately, not all emergent readers become advanced readers and, as adult literacy rates attest, a substantial percentage of the U.S. population never acquire reading proficiency.

Additionally, children who fall behind, even in the early years, may fall further behind each year as they encounter more complex reading tasks.

Known as the Matthew Effect, this term describes the fact that some students rapidly develop foundational skills and move toward becoming advanced readers while others fail to develop the necessary skills and continue to lag behind their achieving peers.

In other words, students who are unable to grasp early print concepts as emergent readers may experience difficulty with reading later. For these reasons, and many others (such as self-esteem), it is important to focus on giving budding readers the best preparation to become strong readers.

Learn more about the importance of Early Literacy from our other resources on the subject.

L earning to read is a developmental process that can be classified in 5 stages of reading development beginning with Emergent Reading. Because cognitive development is dependent on so many factors and each child is unique, it is important to understand that the timeframe for entering the first stage, and advancement from one stage to the next, cannot be accurately predicted.

The information presented here serves as a guide to the development of reading skills over time.

Emergent Readers

Beginning Reader

Basic concepts of print

Picture analysis

Sound-letter recognition

Early Readers

Word recognition

Sight words

Print reading

Gradual speed in reading

Transitional Readers

Towards fluent reading

Reading of length texts

Little reliance on pictures

Self-extending Readers

Independent Reading

Reading various texts

Reading for information

Advanced Readers

Mastery in reading

Proficient comprehension

Reading for information

Reading for pleasure

Inferential reading

Interpretive reading

Internalized reading

Internalized reading strategies

Pre K Reading

Stage 1: Emergent Reading

Unlike spoken language and many of the physical tasks mastered in childhood, reading is not a naturally acquired skill.

Kindergarten Reading

Stage 2: Early Reading

The second stage, early reading, generally begins when children enter kindergarten and continues between the ages of 5 and 7. This stage focuses on printed text rather than oral language.

First Grade Reading

Stage 3: Transitional Reading

Transitional readers are students who are able to read larger amounts of text with greater fluency and less reliance on images.

How can I apply this in my classroom?

Feel free to download our screener list for teachers.