Stages of Reading Development

     Learning to read is like learning to walk or talk; however, this process can not be rushed. Reading is a skill which is built upon through stages and is an ongoing process. Every child will move through each of the five stages of reading development at their own pace, when he or she is ready. Children can not be rushed or pushed through these stages.

  While the progression from one stage to another is dependent upon the mastery of the previous stage, many learners may be operating in more than one stage during their school years. The five stages of reading development are described below.
Stage O: "Pseudo Reading" or Pre-reading - Preschool (ages 6 months to 6 years)
  • pretend reading
  • retells story from pictures
  • names alphabet letters
  • prints own name
  • plays with books, pencils, paper
  • needs to be read to by someone who responds to child's interest
  • most can understand children's picture books and stories read to them
  • can understand thousands of words they hear by age 6, but can read few if any of them
       Stage 1:  Initial Reading and Decoding -Grade 1 and beginning Grade 2 (ages 6 and 7)
  • able to read simple text containing high-frequency words and phonically regular words
  • learns relationship between letters and sounds and between printed and spoken words
  • sounds out new one-syllable words
  • needs direct instruction and practice in letter-sound relationships
  • needs to read simple stories using simple phonic patterns and high frequency words
  • needs to be read to at a higher level to develop advanced language patterns, new words, and ideas
  • the child's actual reading level is much below the language that is undestood when heard
  • at the end os this stage, most children understand 6,000 or more words but can read only about 600
Stage 2:  Confirmation and Fluency  Grades 2 and 3 (ages 7 and 8)
  • reads simple stories with increasing fluency
  • learns to consolidate decoding, sight vocabulary, & meaning context to read stories and selections
  • needs direct instruction in advanced decoding skills
  • needs to be read to at levels above their own to develop language, vocabulary and concepts
  • about 3,000 words can be read
  • 9,000 or more words in listening vocabulary
  • listening is still more effective than reading
        Stage 3:  Reading for Learning the New Grades 4-8 (ages 9-13)
  • may be responsible for reading independently to: learn new ideas, gain new knowledge, experience new feelings and attitudes
  • generally from one viewpoint
  • will be reading/studying textbooks, reference books, trade books, newspapers, magazines
  • being exposed to unfamiliar vocabulary and syntax
  • systematic study of words
  • reacting to text through discussions and writing
  • reading of more complex fiction, non-fiction, etc.
          Stage 4:  Multiple Viewpoints - High School, grades 10-12 (ages 15-17)
  • reading widely from a broad range of complex materials - expository and narrative
  • able to deal with multiple viewpoints
  • systematic study of words and word parts
  • formal and creative writing
  • reading comprehension is better than listening comprehension of difficult material
  • for poorer readers listening compreension may be equal to reading
          Stage 5: Construction and Reconstruction - College and beyond (age 18+)
  • reading is used for one's own needs and purposes
  • serves to integrate one's knowledge wit that of others to synthesize and create new knowledge
  • it is rapid and efficient
  • wide reading of more difficult materials
  • needs to be writing papers, tests, essays that call for integration of varied knowledge and points of view
  • reading is more efficient than listening