ENGB3- CLA: Developing Reading

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Different types of books

Developing reading: Different types of books

  • Many baby and toddler books help with speech development by providing pictures for children to label objects and package/network build.
  • Oftern based around hypernyms (weather, clothes, animals) to provide children with hyponyms (rain, socks, dogs).
  • Nouns and adjectives are the most common word classes in early books.
  • These link children's literacy experience with the equivilent speech aqcuisition stage- giving labels to objects increases knowledge of immediate environment.
  • Early story books are designed to be read to children (not by them). They contain complicated words and grammatical structures that children can understand even if they cannot read or use them.
  • Children's understanding of words and structures is ahead of their ability to use them.
  • Books for young children are enjoyable and act as a shared experience: they introduce children to stories and storytelling.
  • Books for school-aged children, although entertaining, have been created for formal learning process. Being graded to assist children in aqcuiring fluency skills.
  • Children become independent readers around age 8- books for older children are entertaining, informative, and instructive- but are centred on them as solo readers.
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Bruner's LASS

Jerome Bruner's LASS (Language Acquisition Support System

Explains how adults encourage children's speech by using books to interact with babies and young children.

He sees parent- child interations with books as four-phased:

1) GAINING ATTENTION: Getting the baby's attention on a picture.

2) QUERY: Asking the baby what the object in the picture is.

3) LABEL: Telling the baby what the object in the picture is.

4) FEEDBACK: Resonding to the baby's utterance.

Bruner was inspired by Vygotsky who believed that children learn by being helped to do something  when they are ready (not by being told). This is part of the scaffolding process. Both Bruner and Vygotsky see children as active learners and believe that social contexts of their experiences are very important.

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What do young readers need to know?

Children need to know that written texts:

  • Reflect the relationship between written symbols (graphemes) and sounds (phonemes)
  • Have cohesion with different parts interconnecting.
  • Are organised in particular ways, with chapter headings, page numbers etc.
  • Differ in their organisation according to genre (e.g fiction and non-fiction books are organised in different ways).
  • Represent the original culture, following its rules and conventions (e.g English is read from left to right; narratives are organised in particular ways; certain 'characters' are well known in English- speaking cultures etc).
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How are children taught to read?

The 'look and say' and phonics methods are the two used in British classrooms.

'Look and say' or whole-word approach

  • Children learn the shape of the word, not breaking them down phonologically.
  • Children learn to recognise whole words or sentences rather than individual phonemes.
  • Flashcards with individual words written on them are used for this method, often accompanied with a related picture so that children can link the object and the referent.


  • Children learn the sounds made by different letters and letter blends and some rules of putting them together.
  • Emphasis is on developing phonological awareness and on hearing, and replicating sounds in spoken words.
  • The two main approaches to teaching phonics are analytical and synthetic.  
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Dombey and Konza

Some theorists found that children who are sensitive to rhyme are much better at reading.

Learning phonological patterns in langauge is key to reading successfully, as is learning that orthography does not always match phonology in English.

  • Dombey (1999) says that rhyming (and rhyming games) help children to relate sound patterns to letter clusters, which assist both reading and spelling.
  • Konza (2011) makes phonemic awareness one of the most important skills for reading successfully. Phonemic awareness is the ability to hear, separate and manipulate individual sounds and phonemes.
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The key features of analytical phonics


Children learn:

  • To break down whole words into phonemes and graphemes, looking for phonetic or orthographic patterns.
  • To decode words by separating them into smaller units:- onset (the vowel or syllable at the start of a word) -rime (the rest of the word, always beginning with a vowel)
  • To use rhyme or analogy to learn other words with similar patterns e.g c-at, m-at, p-at.
  • To recognise one letter sound at a time, seeing pictures showing words beginning with the same letter sound.
  • Children learn the initial letter sound first, then middle sounds, then the final sounds of words and consonant blends.
  • Children are competent readers within three years, breaking down and sounding out unfamiliar words. The phonics method runs alongside the whole-word approaches and reading-scheme books.


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Key features of Synthetic phonics


Children learn:

  • To remember us to 44 phonemes and their related graphemes (one phoneme can be represented by differnt graphemes , e.g 'ough', 'ow' and 'oa'.
  • To recognise each grapheme, sound out each phoneme in a word, blending the sounds together to produce the word phonetically.
  • To memorise the phonemes quickly (up to five or six sounds a week).
  • Often through a multi-sensory approach whereby they: 1) see the symbol, 2) listen to the sound, 3) use an action (such as counting phonemes on fingers or using magnetic letters to correspong the phonemes).

Chilren learn in whole-class teaching groups. Reading schemes are not used in the early stages of learning synthetic phonics as the method can be taught in a few months.


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Types of reading cues

An early reader aquires many tools to interpret the written word, using cues to decode words and meanings within texts. Writers of children's books build cues into their texts.

Cue                                                        Activity

GRAPHOPHONIC                    Looking at the shape of words, linking these to familiar graphemes/ words to interpret                                                  them .

SEMANTIC                               Understanding the meanings of words and making connections between words in order                                                  to decode new ones.

VISUAL                                    Looking at the pictures  and using the visual narrative to interpret unfamiliar words or                                                   ideas.

SYNTACTIC                            Applying knowledge of word order and word classes to work out if a word seems right in                                                 context.

CONTEXTUAL                        Searching for understanding in the situation of the story- comparing it to their own                                                 experiences or their pragmatic understanding of social conventions.

MISCUE                                  Making errors when reading: a child might miss out a word or substitute another that                                                 looks similar, or a guess word from accompanying pictures.

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The stages of reading development- Jeanna Chall

Jeanna Chall identified six stages from her studies with children.

Chall's stages of reading development

STAGE                     DESCRIPTION                        AGE                     KEY CHARACTERISTICS

0                Pre-reading and psuedo reading       Up to 6         'Pretend reading' (turning pages and repeating stories                                                                                                      previously read to them). Some letters and word recognition                                                                                                        espcially letters in own name. Predicting single words or the                                                                                                      next stage of a story .

1                 Initial reading and decoding                6-7            Reading simple texts containing high-frequency lexis (this                                                                                                     happens when children start to learn the relationship between                                                                                                     phonemes and graphemes) Estimated around 600 words                                                                                                     understood.

2                Confirmation and fluency                    7-8             Reading texts more quickly, accurately and fluently, paying                                                                                                     more attention to the meanings of words and texts. Estimated                                                                                                    around 3,000 words understood.

3               Reading and learning                          9-14             Reading for knowledge and information.

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Chall's stages of children's reading continued

STAGE         DESCRIPTION                           YEARS                       KEY CHARACTERISTICS

4                   Multiplicity and complexity           14-17            Responding critically to what they read                      and analysing texts

5                  Construction and reconstruction    18+             Reading selectively and forming opinions                                                                                               about what they have read.

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Key features of reading schemes

Reading-scheme books use different linguistic choices from the kinds in books like the Gruffalo as their primary purpose is to teach reading skills rather than to entertain.

Key features of reading schemes are:

  • Lexical repetition: Especially the new lexis introduced in each book but also in proper nouns.
  • Syntactical repetition of structures: Usually subject-verb-object order and simple sentences containing one clause (in early books).
  • Simple verbs: Single verbs used (i.e is) rather than verb phrases.
  • One sentence per line: Helping children to say complete phrases.
  • Anaphoric referencing: Pronouns (she/he) refer to names of characters already used.
  • Limited use of modifiers: This makes graded reading schemes different from imaginative stories where adjectives add details and description.
  • Text-image cohesion: the picture tells the story of the text on the page. 
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