The moment when one realizes that there is a connection between letters and words and that the connection can lead to many hours of enjoyment. This discovery can be magical, especially for a young child. For children, reading does not come naturally but can be aided with the right tools and support from parents and teachers. Understanding a child’s reading readiness levels will be very helpful for ensuring that the child is prepared and willing to start reading.
What is Reading Readiness?
Reading readiness refers to the point in an individual’s life when he/she becomes ready to read. During this time, he/she will be able to transition from a period of non-readership to readership. This period is also sometimes referred to as emergent reading or more commonly, early literacy.
Children generally enter the reading readiness stage through their exposure to their environment, usually by listening to other people talk. This is a critical stage for the child because in order to learn how to read the written word, he/she must first learn how to understand the spoken word. Unlike reading speaking and acquiring language is considered natural. This is the basis of My First Words for A to Z. Parents or older siblings reading or speaking to the new ready to read child. Reading, on the other hand, has to be learned and in order for the child to learn, he/she must be ready. The purpose of My First Words Kindle Books is to expose the child to words by listening to them in a fun way.
Reading is important for every child’s success in school and in many aspects of his/her social and personal life. A good portion of one’s academic success, for example, is often dependent on one’s ability to read. However, although reading can and should be taught, parents and teachers should consider a child’s reading readiness levels in order to provide the child the best possible support and opportunity that will fit his/her needs, abilities and preferences.
Signs of a Child’s Reading Readiness
There is no such thing as a one-size-fits-all characteristic to reading readiness, so there is no exact age when children begin to show interest or readiness in learning to read. Some children may show signs at as early as 2 years old while others may be ready at around age 5. If the child is aged 3 to 5, he/she is ready to start learning. To assist the child and provide him/her the opportunity to progress in the appropriate manner, consider these signs to determine if he/she is ready to begin reading:
- Shows ability to recognize and distinguish different shapes
- Has basic understanding of letters as representative of sounds
- Knows some of the letters of the alphabet, can recite them and recognize them
- Recognizes and even reads his/her name when spelled out or written
- Begins to show appreciation for books and stories
- Show some understanding of the meaning of printed text; printed text, for example, are equivalent to spoken words, spaces between words mean pauses, stories in books have a title, a beginning and end, etc.
- Shows interest and enjoyment in reading activities
- Shows preference for certain books
- Participates when favorite stories are read; may recite a word or a phrase at a particular page, for example, or show knowledge of what is about to occur in the story
- Recognizes letters and corresponding sounds, including those that may be phonetically different, such as the letter “I” in “ink” and “island”
- Reads from memory from a favorite book
- Able to memorize lines from a favorite book
Determining a Child’s Reading Readiness Levels
To determine the level of a child’s reading readiness, it is important to take note of the associated skills he/she has already developed. Some of these skills include:
1) Understanding Written Text
This level is characterized by the child’s willingness to participate in a reading activity. He/she will hold a book upright, turn the pages at the right moment and even ask questions related to the text. He/she may also be able to make the connection between the text and the images, and even try to read the story or text later from memory.
2) Understanding Word Meaning
Even if the child does not yet know how to read, he/she may show the ability of being able to recognize certain letters, words and groups of words and form the appropriate connection. He/she may, for example, recognize the letters that form his/her name, a commonly seen public sign or even a favorite restaurant. He/she may also be able to associate certain letters with certain words. The letter “A”, for example, is the first letter in the words “apple”, “alphabet” and “airplane”.
3) Understanding the Context of the Text
At this level, the child will be able to show understanding of what is being read and relate their own feelings and experiences to it. For example, in a story where a character’s favorite color is blue, the child may say, “That is my favorite color, too”. When this happens, the child shows how certain groups of words make sense to him/her.
4) Understanding of the Basic Concepts of Printed Text
The child will be able to show his/her understanding of the purpose of the written text and begin to show interest in books. He/she will also begin to show an interest in interacting with the reading experience and may point at words and ask, “What is that?” or “What does it mean?” or “How do you read that?”
A child aged 3 to 5 is likely to have developed his/her interest in learning to read, so it is important to take note of the signs in order to determine his/her reading readiness levels. By providing him/her with the necessary tools, support and experience, he/she will be able to benefit from the activities. This will also help prepare him/her for more advanced learning later.
My First Words for A to Z a child’s first words Volume 1
Welcome to our new Kindle book series called, “My First Words for A to Z.” Each of these Kindle books is about helping your child learn new words. The main goal is to make learning new words fun. Each word is formatted with a mini story and fun illustration.
Children generally enter the reading readiness stage through their exposure to their environment, usually by listening to other people talk. This is a critical stage for the child because in order to learn how to read the written word, he/she must first learn how to understand the spoken word. This is the basis of My First Words for A to Z.
This series is designed for the 3 to 5 year age group and needs an adult or older sibling to sound out the word, read each of the mini stories and share the fun illustration. Listening to the spoken word is the first step to Reading Readiness and needs to be a fun experience. There are two words for each letter in the alphabet. Some are simple like Ball, Dog and Cat. Some are difficult like Alligator and Xylophone. Some will even be learning opportunities for parents, such as the word Xat.