Chapter 8: Reading Development: Engaging Emergent Readers

“The fire of literacy is created by the emotional sparks between a child, a book, and the person reading. It isn’t achieved by the book alone, nor by the child alone, nor by the adult who’s reading aloud—it’s the relationship winding between all three, bringing them together in easy harmony.”

–Mem Fox, from Reading Magic: Why Reading Aloud to Our Children Will Change Their Lives Forever.

Opening Vignette: The Favorite Book

One morning a young 2-year-old named Adelyn was sitting with a favorite book from home, “Dora and the Rainy Day.” Ms. Faith, Adelyn’s home care provider, watched on as Adelyn flipped back and forth between the pages of the well-loved boardbook. She repeatedly came back to a page in the beginning and pointed to the words and the pictures and said, “It’s time to come inside now.  It’s raining.” Then she would flip to the middle of the book and stop.  Clearly mimicking the intonation of an adult who had read the book before, she said, “We are making hot chocolate…need to wait for the cookies to bake!” Then she moved to a page at the end of the book and pointed to the characters in the picture saying, “That’s the mom…there’s the dad….it’s raining.” Then she closed the book and announced, “THE END!”

Ms. Faith walked over to the child and commented on what a good job she did reading the book. Ms. Faith also asked Adelyn to show her some of the parts of the book, noting that this child was clearly showing signs of print awareness. For instance, she observed that Adelyn was holding the book right side up, she turned the pages from right to left (even though she skipped some), and she was able to use known words and concepts from the story in her retelling. It was clear to Ms. Faith that Adelyn was developing a sense for story structure and how to use pictures and words to understand text. And best of all, Adelyn was finding great joy and pleasure in rereading this book on her own.


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The Early Literacy Journey: Supporting and Celebrating Young Learners Copyright © 2024 by Sandra Carrie Garvey is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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