Let’s face it, we all want our children to reach their full potential. Reading is one fundamental skill that can support them throughout life and help them gain knowledge, independently and confidently.
In this article, we will cover the early, intermediate, and advanced reading milestones, as well as the important role of developing phonological awareness in the reading process.
Let’s jump straight into it!
Early Reading Milestones (Ages 2-5)
In the early years, children begin to develop pre-reading skills that lay the foundation for reading. They start to recognize familiar words and can even understand the concept of a book.
This is also the time when children begin developing phonological awareness, which is the ability to recognize and identify sounds in words. This skill is crucial for learning the alphabet and connecting letters with their corresponding sounds.
As children learn the alphabet, they also begin to understand basic concepts of print, such as left-to-right directionality and tracking words on a page. At this point, they can make connections between the sounds they hear in words and the letters that represent those sounds.
This is a vital step in learning how to read, as children need to be able to match sounds to letters before they can begin to read words. Quick learners at this stage can also start learning to match letters to words in simple words such as “cat”, “dog” “sun” etc.
Some children are also able to start responding to simple questions about the story or pictures in the books that they are being read. They may even start to make attempts at writing letters and words with the correct formation.
Intermediate Reading Milestones (Ages 6-8)
As children enter the intermediate stage of reading development, they continue to develop phonological awareness and sound-letter correspondence. They also begin to read simple words and sentences and understand basic grammar.
Some children at this age begin to develop comprehension skills, such as understanding the main ideas and details in a text. This is a crucial time for children as they move from learning to read. They start to use their reading skills to acquire new information and understand more complex texts.
Some fast learners can start to read simple stories and can answer questions about the story’s plot, characters, and setting. They can also start to understand basic concepts such as cause and effect and make predictions about what might happen next in the story.
Parents and caregivers can support children at this stage by providing access to a variety of age-appropriate texts and encouraging independent reading. They can also engage them in interactive reading activities such as asking them questions about the text and encouraging them to ask questions about the text themselves.
Advanced Reading Milestones (Ages 9-12)
As children reach the advanced stage of reading development, they continue to improve their reading fluency and comprehension. They begin to read longer and more complex texts, such as chapter books, and develop critical thinking skills, such as making inferences and analyzing text.
Some can start to read books that are appropriate for their age and can read with greater fluency and comprehension. They are able to understand and make connections between different texts and can make predictions and inferences based on what they read.
At this stage, children’s reading skills become more sophisticated, with most now able to understand and engage with a wide range of texts. They begin to read for pleasure and use their reading skills to research and explore topics that interest them. They can also start to write more complex sentences and can start writing short stories and essays.
Parents and educators can support children at this stage by encouraging them to read independently, providing access to a variety of age-appropriate texts, and fostering an environment that promotes curiosity and a love of learning.
They can also encourage them to read a wide range of texts and discuss the texts with them, helping them to understand the themes and ideas presented in the texts.
The Link Between Phonological Awareness and Ability to Read
Phonological awareness is the ability to hear, identify, and manipulate individual sounds in spoken words. It’s a critical component of reading development and is strongly linked to success in learning to read.
Children who have strong phonological awareness skills are better able to decode words and understand the sounds that makeup words. This means they will be better equipped to identify words they haven’t seen before and will have an easier time sounding out unknown words.
There are many ways to develop phonological awareness, including reading aloud to children, playing sound-based games, and teaching children to rhyme and identify syllables.
Additionally, children who are exposed to a rich and diverse vocabulary tend to develop strong phonological awareness skills.
Reading is a fundamental skill that helps us make sense of the world around us. By teaching children at an early age and understanding reading milestones, educators and parents can help their students reach their potential.
Knowing what to expect from different ages based on these milestones gives parents the opportunity to create experiences for helping foster language development throughout the entire duration of a child’s learning journey.
With this knowledge in hand, we can assist our young learners along the path to becoming proficient readers.