Pre-Emerging and Emerging Literacy Skills

This checklist of pre-emerging and emerging literacy skills may be helpful to teachers, families, and others in identifying areas to target in the development of literacy skills in young children who are blind or visually impaired.

By Susiene Royson

This checklist of pre-emerging and emerging literacy skills may be helpful to teachers, families, and others in identifying areas to target in the development of literacy skills in young children who are blind or visually impaired.   The list includes skills that a child may demonstrate, as well as actions that a teacher can take to encourage the development of literacy skills.

Child’s Behaviors That Demonstrate the Development of Literacy Skills

  1. Sound awareness
  2. Pronounces most phonemes correctly
  3. Uses language incorporating simple sentence structures to inform, make requests, meet social and emotional needs
  4. Asks questions when something is not understood
  5. Names most things in their immediate environment and enjoys learning new vocabulary within concrete and high interest experiences
  6. Listens to and enjoys stories read in “one-on-one” or small group situations
  7. Visual discrimination: sorting, matching, learning patterns, sequencing
  8. Discusses pictures / illustrations
  9. Incorporates words and phrases from books into their play
  10. Responds to stories through drawing
  11. Incorporates story elements into their play
  12. Enjoys and participates in language games showing awareness of rhyme and alliteration of initial consonants
  13. Makes auditory discriminations of sound in the environment
  14. Awareness of sound qualities (high pitched/low pitched, loud/soft, fast/slow)
  15. Recognizes and imitates short sound sequences making use of concepts of first, last, middle, same and different
  16. Recognizes symbols (symbols next to their names, pictures of toys on the shelves to assist in clean-up time, cups from McDonalds, Burger King, Hardees, boxes from Pizza Hut, Domino’s, cereal boxes, etc.)
  17. Recognizes shapes in the environment and in printed materials
  18. Copies /draws simple shapes and lines
  19. Letter recognition (formation and letter-sound relationship)
  20. Makes visual discriminations between a few letters
  21. Writes own name using letters and letter-like approximations
  22. Shows interest in magnetic letters, making letters in sand/salt
  23. Shows interest in alphabet and one-letter books
  24. Repeats short sentences with varying forms
  25. Displays enjoyment of and interest in books, choses books independently, requests rereading of favorite books, talks about books they like
  26. Holds book correctly (holds book upright, turns one page at a time, looks at the pictures on the left page before going to pictures on right page)
  27. Shows an awareness that the text of favorite book is consistent and/or that the story stays the same across readings
  28. Recognizes environmental print that is connected to their own experiences
  29. Uses a combination of scribbling, letter approximations and letters to write own name and other meaningful words and phrases
  30. Imitates reading and writing behaviors
  31. Communicates through and about their drawings
  32. Dictates short stories to accompany drawings
  33. Uses literacy materials provided at structured play centers in meaningful ways (have notepad in housekeeping center for taking order, writing grocery lists, etc., notepad in blocks to draw structure before they build it, etc.)
  34. Gives simple descriptions of past experiences
  35. Shares information from TV programs, field trips and informational books
  36. Makes connections between story events and own experiences
  37. Distinguishes text from illustrations
  38. Demonstrates book knowledge: cover, front/back, right side up, turns pages one at a time
  39. Participates in framing and counting words in the morning message
  40. Recognizes and imitates sound sequences making use of the concepts of repetition and pattern words
  41. Counts words in spoken sentences and claps the syllables in spoken words
  42. Segments familiar compound words
  43. Creates rhymes and short phrases using alliteration
  44. Writes name and a few high frequency words correctly
  45. Forms most letters correctly
  46. Recognizes and names most of the letters of the alphabet
  47. Shows awareness of the sounds to the corresponding letters consistently
  48. Reads classroom labels,  signs and other environmental print
  49. Recognizes a few high frequency words (Dolch words, word wall, symbol reading)
  50. Predicts what might happen next in a story
  51. Shows an interest in authorship (draw attention to authors and illustrators)
  52. View sself as a reader and writer
  53. Draws connections between children’s experiences and those of characters in books

Teacher or Adult Behaviors to Promote the Development of Literacy Skills

  1. Oral stimulation and development of vocabulary
  2. Create a community of learners in which each child is valued and supported in taking risks with his/her literacy learning and children are encouraged to help each other
  3. Read books for children’s enjoyment on a daily basis
  4. Reread children’s favorite books
  5. Engage children in informal conversations and show an interest in what they say
  6. Engage children in language play with finger plays, rhyming games, tongue twisters
  7. Sing, chant and recite poems, songs, and nursery rhymes with children on a daily basis.
  8. Draw children’s attention to letters and letter sounds in their own names and in environmental print
  9. Support literacy-related play activities
  10. Encourage children to experiment with writing and reading behaviors
  11. Create a print-rich environment
  12. Demonstrate the foundational literacy concept that what can be said, can be written and read through activities such as morning message and the creations of short experience charts
  13. Model reading and writing behaviors
  14. Create and maintain classroom libraries and well-stocked writing centers
  15. Believe in each child’s desire to learn and in his/her unique set of abilities
  16. Show an interest in reading and writing for enjoyment and talk with children about personal reading and writing interests.
  17. Give children time to show understanding of books through talking, drawing and dramatizing meaningful parts

This article was originally posted on the BrailleSC website, which was funded by a grant from the US Department of Education with support from the University of South Carolina Upstate and The Maryland Institute for Technology in the Humanities.