Becoming literate is a lifelong journey, and there are some distinct stages to be aware of.
Beginning (0 – 5 years)
Becoming literate starts with learning to speak. A child will have a greater number of problems learning to recognise written words later on if they cannot say them correctly. Learning is always a social and interactive skill. The most valuable learning occurs when a child is engaged with someone they trust either watching or doing a new skill, but always talking about it.
Getting Started (5 – 7 years)
As children learn how to read (decode the words), they see letter patterns and associate them with sounds. Children hear sounds and learn how to write (encode) them. The English language has 44 separate sounds but unfortunately, many of these can be spelled in different ways. The ‘or’ sound is the worst! This is the main issue with children learning how to read, write and spell. Children learn through a lot of mileage the many choices there are for each of the sounds.
Learning To Read (7 – 10 years)
This is where children consolidate, extend and enrich their literacy skills. They do this by being encouraged to read and take risks without fear of criticism. Parents play a vital role in this. A child’s attitude to reading and learning will be set in these years. At the end of this stage they will be functional and enthusiastic readers.
Reading To Learn (11 years on)
This is where children read to find out information. They learn to get information from more than one source, evaluate what they have read and present what they have learned.
Remember that different children will reach these stages at different ages.