Emergent Readers: Everything You Need to Know

This refers typically to a pupil who has a grasp of the fundamentals of reading – such as letters and pronunciations, and is ready to commence actual reading from the beginning stages and upwards. The emergent reader is one of the most crucial stages in a student’s journey. It’s important to ensure a student progresses beyond this stage with excitement and confidence, which can only happen when they improve beyond a fundamental level of reading comprehension.

Unlike early emergent readers, emergent readers have learned the alphabet and possess a more extensive vocabulary of core words. As a result, they’re no longer limited to reading picture books or small sections of text. Instead, they’re capable of reading books with increasingly larger sections of text. Additionally, they can deal with more complex sentences and depend less on pictures for comprehension.

Emergent readers have a good grasp of phonics and are likely to have started comprehending word meanings besides word sounds. Another key attribute of these readers is their added confidence in identifying high-frequency words. While emergent readers may read stories on familiar themes, such as home and family life, they’ll typically dive deeper than their early emergent reading predecessors. Additionally, the books they read will usually have more complex sentence structures, depend less on pictures and repetitive patterns, and have more lines of print per page.

Emergent readers venture into both non-fiction and fiction stories and start discovering with excitement that reading has several uses and purposes beyond the classroom. Parents and/or teachers need to select the right books and offer assistance only when needed to engage and excite these readers. There are two reasons behind the latter point. Firstly, the emergent reader needs to know they are supported and that the adult is there for assistance, if needed, with comprehending definitions or sounding out words. Secondly, too much help can erode the reader’s confidence in their abilities, which would be detrimental to their progress. The reader needs to know that the adult thinks they can read independently. It’ll give them the space to get confidence in reading independently.

Choosing the right book is crucial, too, as the reader should feel adequately challenged but not defeated. Thus, with the right book selection, emergent readers will start comprehending the meanings of words more automatically rather than focusing on word recognition alone. This will signal that they’re ready to move into the next stage of development.

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