top of page

Start Teaching Before Birth

Reading Development

Reading instruction begins early and is directly related to oral language development. Before jumping into the academic side of reading, you may be comforted to know that reading occurs in the following sequence.

· The reading process begins with body reading, which includes the identification of ears, eyes, nose, and other body parts. Sequence mastery by first saying,

—This is your eye.”

—Next say, “Point to your eye.”

After practice, touch the child’s eye and ask, “What is this?”

· Environmental reading (often referred to as logographics) emerges when the child identifies symbols such as those used for McDonald’s®, Toys-R-Us®, or Taco Bell®.

· Begin associative reading by placing written names on items in the child’s environment, such as a chair, table, wall, floor, and door. Print using lowercase letters. Only use capitals if the word is a proper noun, such as the child’s name. Make the tall letters approximately 1- inch high and short letters one half inch in height. Signs on familiar objects provide opportunities for informal learning. Please do not drill or expect memorization.

· Use a Language Experience Approach (LEA) to demonstrate that what one says can be written down and what one writes can be read. LEA offers a wonderful opportunity to build on children’s cultural and home backgrounds, to facilitate their oral language development, and to connect the skills of speaking, listening, writing, and reading.

· The original directions for LEA were to write exactly what the child said. Many find this uncomfortable if the child’s pronunciation of a word would require incorrect spelling. Likewise, if a child uses incorrect grammar, it may feel too uncomfortable to write the child’s exact words. Although it is important to honor your feelings about these questions, please do not turn this activity into a spelling or grammar lesson. Never ask a child to edit the LEA story.

Sample experiences include looking at clouds, petting animals, cooking together, watching a short movie, or playing outside. Again, the purposes are to share a wonderful experience and to enjoy the pleasures of oral storytelling, listening, writing, and reading.


bottom of page