Early childhood literacy skills that predict better reading skills later

June 4, 2021

Better reading skills aren’t a direct result of formal, dogmatic instruction in the mechanics of reading.  So you can toss away those dusty 1990’s readers (unless your kid loves them! Then have at it because all reading is valuable.).

The foundation for strong reading skills is laid in the 0-5 years with diverse exposure to language in all its forms. As your child speaks, listens, reads and writes in these early years they will be building their literacy skills. Analysis of early learning research highlights specific skills and abilities that predict strong reading outcomes later (National Institute for Early Education Research (NIEER), 2006) .

These include:

Oral Language

  • Listening comprehension (can they understand what is spoken to them? Can they talk to you about the story you read?)
  • Oral language vocabulary (do they understand a variety of words spoken to them? Can they use a variety of words to communicate?)


Alphabetic Code

  • Alphabet knowledge (do they know *some* of their letters? But a reminder, as always, kids do not need to know all their letters before kindergarten or even by the end of kindergarten)
  • Phonemic awareness (do they know some letter sounds? Can they play with letter sounds by blending them into words, giving you the initial sound of a word, or the final sound?)


Print Concepts

  • Function of text (do they start to show understanding that different forms of text serve different purposes? That podcasts are structured differently than novels, which are different than a textbook.)
  • Structure of text (do they start to notice how letters are grouped together to form words? That there are spaces between words when words are grouped together to form sentences? And how when sentences are grouped together they form discourse?)
  • Format of text (do they start to understand that in English we read a sentence left to right? That you read a paragraph top to bottom? That you read the right page and then the left page? Do they notice the front and back covers, and how different information is housed there?


Join Earlybird to build your child’s foundational literacy skills and lay the foundation for strong reading skills later. We have playful resources to build oral language, alphabetic code, vocabulary, letter skills and print concept skills in your child! For example, with our letter cards, uppercase letter BINGO and lowercase letter Bingo. All our resources and evidence based activity ideas in one place for one affordable membership fee.

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