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Parent Info | Reading Development Stages

Students move through levels of reading as they gain reading fluency and become more adept at solving problems that appear in text. These levels can be grouped into three developmental stages of reading: early, developing, and fluent.

Early Reader

Early readers are learning that text and illustrations work together to tell a story. Early readers will be able to:

  • use pictures for clues
  • retell a simple story that was read to them
  • recall some details
  • know the names of letters
  • identify consonant sounds at beginning and end of words
  • use configurations as clues to help identify words
  • read one word at a time (but may be choppy)
  • read simple repetitive books
  • silent read for 5-10 minutes

Books appropriate for early readers have:

  • a small amount of print per page
  • illustrations that are clear and directly support the text
  • rhyming, rhythm, repetition, and natural language
  • simple story beginnings, middles, and endings

Developing Reader

Developing readers understand the basic concepts of print and are ready for more complex stories. Students are beginning to use clues from illustrations, clues from letters/words, and meaning clues when reading unfamiliar text. Developing readers will be able to:

  • sequence events in story
  • identify the main characters, setting and plot
  • make predictions
  • differentiate between fact and fiction
  • use context clues
  • begin to self correct
  • pause and use appropriate inflection for punctuation
  • feel comfortable when reading silently or orally
  • silent read for 10-15 minutes

Books appropriate for developing readers have:

  • an increased amount of print per page with several paragraphs
  • dialogue mixed with prose in a variety of formats
  • more complex story lines
  • text that may not correspond directly with illustrations
  • greater variety or more challenging vocabulary
  • more developed characters and plots
  • story lines from different times and settings

Fluent Reader

Fluent readers are able to read a variety of text in an effective manner. They are able to read smoothly and comprehend the text at a deeper level. Fluent readers will be able to:

  • recognize the problems and how they evolved in a story
  • evaluate the character's actions or behaviors
  • use a variety of clues to decode unfamiliar words
  • apply vowel and constant rules to sound out words
  • use punctuation correctly
  • read smoothly and with expression
  • silent read for at least 20 minutes
  • feel confident reading silently or orally

Books appropriate for fluent readers have:

  • a wide variety of topics
  • complex story lines
  • age or grade level appropriate information