2 minutes reading time (330 words)

Help Your Child Choose the Right Book

Three ways to categorize young readers are emergent, beginning, and independent.

Emergent reading is defined as children’s interaction with reading and writing before they can actually read and write. Emergent readers can recognize some short words and know some letter sounds. Yet, an emergent reader often relies on memorization. This frequently is the child who wants to hear the same story over and over again. 

Help an emergent reader choose books with:

  • Colorful illustrations or photographs
  • Large print with few words
  • Pictures that exactly match the words. For example, if the words say “See the blue bird fly” the picture should clearly and simply show a blue bird flying.

A beginning reader usually knows some sight words and can use his knowledge of phonics to sound out simple words. She looks for clues in the pictures to help her decode unknown words. Help a beginning reader choose books with:

  • Pictures and a few sentences or small paragraph on each page
  • Pictures that can contain more detail
  • Print that is smaller, but should contain simple, familiar, and easily decodable words

An independent reader can easily decode unknown words and read with fluency and expression. This is the reader who pays attention to periods, question marks and exclamation marks at the end of sentences.  They comprehend most of what they read. They use picture and word clues to figure out what they don’t understand.  Help an independent reader choose books with:

  • Smaller print and longer sentences or two to three paragraphs per page
  • More than one character
  • Change of settings
  • Plots that are more detailed and challenging

No matter what category of reader your young child is, still read aloud to him often. Read a variety of books at different levels to, or along with him.

With lots of reading practice, you’ll be amazed at how quickly an emergent reader can become an independent reader!


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