Early Readers

First grade through second grade:

  • know that reading needs to make sense
  • are more attentive to print and know more print conventions
  • understand that books have exact and unchanging messages carried by print as well as pictures
  • can identify most letters by name, and can use some letter/sound knowledge (i.e.: the sound of the first letter) to help figure out words.
  • know the meaning of some punctuation (capitals and periods), but may not use consistently in writing and reading
  • can recognize, by sight, a small but growing store of words in different contexts
  • use pictures, story patterns, context and memory of some Link to Glossary of Termswords as well as some phonics to make sense of print

Early Writers:

  • use spaces between words, but not consistently
  • include more sound/letter associations in spelling, especially initial or final consonants; may write some whole words or word parts (like "ing") from memory
  • can usually re-read his or her own writing
  • have variable handwriting: may use more lower case letters, but still could be mixed with caps, may reverse some letters (writing b instead of d)

Children in this phase benefit from:

  • continued exposure to shared and guided reading of pattern stories and other predictable books, with clear print and pictures
  • modeling and explicit teaching of and practice with using threeLink to Glossary of Terms cuing systems and strategies to figure out words and make sense of print
  • games, activities to consolidate voice/print match and build sight word recognition Link to Glossary of Terms
  • games and activities to build phonemic awareness Link to Glossary of Terms
  • encouragement to write using invented spelling Link to Glossary of Terms
  • language experience activities Link to Glossary of Terms
  • hearing, discussing, retelling a variety of stories read aloud

NOTE: Keep in mind that the grade levels associated with each phase described below are only approximate. In each grade there are likely to be children in all phases of literacy acquisition. Also, remember that within each phase there may be a range of learners who are developing in different ways.