Laying a Path to Literacy
The path to reading and writing begins with…well, the beginning of life! Babies in utero begin developing their sound processing skills, attending to their mother’s voice and the speech sounds of their native language.
Literacy skills begin as soon as sound and sight merge at birth. Basically, as children develop language skills, they are developing a strong foundation for reading and writing. At each stage on this literacy path, identified by approximate ages, children obtain skills in the areas of:
book and story knowledge
orthographic (or alphabet and letter) knowledge
phonological (or sound) knowledge
So many skills are interwoven and interdependent for successful reading and writing. To delve deeply into phonological (sound) and orthographic (letter) knowledge and how to teach it, sign up for Laying a Path: Phonics & Spelling.
Unlike most programs, we teach all these skills together throughout the entire Laying a Path series. Give your child the best chance for success as a reader and writer!
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As children grow, these skills merge and overlap, until fluent literacy is achieved. By grade three, the average reader is able to use their literacy skills to gain knowledge, making a crucial shift from learning to read to reading to learn. Let’s take a look at these key skill areas and their average progression from 0 to 8 years.
In the first few years of life, children are becoming talkers and are honing their language listening skills. In a conversationally rich environment, they grow in vocabulary and sentence structure. In a literacy rich environment, they learn what books are and all the wonders they hold.
In the preschool years, conversation continues to enrich children’s verbal language skills, including listening, vocabulary, and sentence structure. Children become more aware of the wonder of stories that move from beginning to end. Children learn how to hold books and turn pages, and they begin to understand that the print upon the pages is being read by the adult.
Soon children are exposed to words and letters. They recognize their name and they learn the alphabet song. They are asked to write letters and to memorize a sound-to-letter relationship. Early phonics readers teach them how to blend sounds into simple words. They may recognize common words, such as stop and the end.
As children progress in their early reading skills, they combine their sound and letter knowledge into spelling conventions. They use sound tracking along with spelling knowledge to develop word-form memory, connecting meaning to all these skills. Their speed and accuracy for both reading and writing begins to increase, eventually leading to age appropriate reading fluency. Meanwhile, they are learning writing conventions and they can create their own original writing. Reading and writing skills support each other, and both are supported by their ever-growing language system.