Developing phonemic awareness and phonics skills are the first fundamental steps an emerging reader will need to take when starting to read. Phonemic awareness gives children the essential listening skills to become aware that speech is made up of individual sounds and that these sounds make up syllables and words. Phonics skills help children understand the link between certain individual and combination sounds and letters – otherwise known as the alphabetic principle.
Learning to recognise Sight Words is one of the most important first steps an emerging reader needs to take. Sight words are words like ‘the’, ‘is’, ‘and’, ‘it’ – words whose meaning relies heavily on the context in which they appear and hence need to be recognised ‘at sight.’
Lack of sight word knowledge is one of the most significant reasons from which many early reading difficulties stem. Sight words make up more than 50% of primary level reading texts, therefore early readers need to develop an automatic recognition of these words in order to become fluent readers.
Comprehending and deriving meaning from a text are the core goals of reading. Asking a young reader questions about a text they have read is one of the most effective ways to develop their comprehension skills. Answering questions will not only help them recall from memory what they have read, but to also reflect on the text and make inferences.