Understanding the different stages of children’s reading development is essential because it allows us to adapt our teaching approach to each child’s needs and abilities. By providing developmentally appropriate books and activities, they are motivated and given the opportunity to support strong reading skills and a lasting love of reading. In addition, understanding the stages of children’s reading development helps parents, caregivers, and teachers to identify potential difficulties or delays in reading and, therefore, take the appropriate steps to address them and offer additional support.
Reading is a long process that usually begins at the beginning of the first year of primary education. Learning to read depends on each person’s abilities, and cognitive or language disorders that could delay the process, should be taken into account. Materlu believes that personalized children’s books are a great tool. On the Materlu website, we can find different titles for each child, occasion, or values that we would like to highlight.
Through reading, children learn to identify sounds and syllables orally in order to assemble them to form a word. Later, they associate sound and spelling. Perfect knowledge of the alphabet is essential to start the reading process and prevent the child from confusing sounds with syllables, which would lead to mistakes and confusion when learning to read. After, the child will have to learn to join syllables before recognizing full words. Once all these steps have been acquired, the child will be able to understand texts.
Skills Acquired when Learning to Read
Thanks to Materlu personalized books, children will be able to become familiar with letters and words. They will learn to read or improve their reading skills. Materlu personalized books for children, will allow them to develop the following skills:
- Become familiar with the spelling and combination of letters to create sounds.
- Ability to differentiate what we call units, for example, “b” from “d”.
- Identify the syllables that make up words.
- Become familiar with punctuation.
- Learn to use and understand stressed syllables (both written and orally, thanks to learning pronunciation).
- Focus their attention on decoding and understanding the meaning of the text, simultaneously.
- Create their own mental dictionary with words associated with their age and their daily life.
- Understand new topics that will expand their knowledge, or strengthen previous knowledge learned at school and in their daily lives, thanks to the vocabulary used in common everyday situations that they have experienced before.
- Improve memory in children,
- Improve their general culture thanks to reading.
- Intensify their imagination.
Therefore, the advantage of personalized books is that you can choose a story that relates to your child or that discusses a topic that may interest them. Here is an example of how you can personalize the protagonist according to your child’s physical features, by choosing their eye color, hair color, and hairstyle. You can also use your child’s name and include a customized companion in some stories designed for several characters, so that your child lives their adventure with a friend or a family member. That way, they will feel identified with the story and will be even more focused when reading it.
Stages to Master Reading
Las etapas de la lectura infantil muestran cómo aprenden los niños a familiarizarse paulatinamente con la lectura. Cada etapa es importante para el desarrollo de habilidades lingüísticas, cognitivas y emocionales en los niños. A continuación, se describen las etapas de la lectura infantil más comunes y por qué es importante entenderlas:
The stages of children’s reading development show how children gradually learn to become familiar with reading. Each stage is important for language, cognitive and emotional skills. We will discuss the stages of children’s reading development and why they are important to understand:
- Active listening: At this stage, children are exposed to language through stories read by their parents or caregivers. Reading aloud helps develop listening skills, vocabulary, listening comprehension, and familiarity with the narrative structure of books. It is important to understand this stage to lay the foundations for children’s future literacy. Here we can find guidelines for early literacy.
- Logographic stage: In this stage, the child does not identify each letter or sound independently, but rather observes the word as a whole, like a drawing that he or she begins to recognize. For this reason, the content must be easy and, more importantly, it must be accompanied by representative images that support understanding.
- Alphabetical stage: The child will be able to discriminate letters and join them, progressively improving the ability that leads them to read full words and sentences. They learn to combine letters to make words and to decode simple texts. It is crucial to understand this stage in order to provide children with books that are appropriate for their reading level, containing simple words and short sentences. They should also be encouraged to practice reading aloud to improve their fluency and comprehension.
- Orthographic stage: This is the last stage of the reading process in which the child is able to identify words thanks to the previously studied stages. The objective of this stage is for each child to create their own mental dictionary so that they are able to recognize words almost instantly by seeing them in a text. By now, the children will already be independent readers. We can challenge them with more sophisticated texts without illustrations. They can analyze and interpret texts more deeply, develop their own opinions, and reflect on what they read. It is important to understand this stage in order to provide children with challenging and stimulating books, as well as encourage reading for pleasure or to explore different literary genres.
Learning to read is important because it is a fundamental skill for accessing knowledge, communicating effectively, and participating actively in society. Reading develops vocabulary, comprehension, imagination, and critical thinking. In addition, it provides tools for continuous learning throughout life. Through reading, people can explore different perspectives, cultures, and experiences, thus broadening their horizons and enriching their personal and intellectual development. For this reason, it is necessary to understand the stages of children’s reading development. Little by little we are capable of making big changes.