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Reading Development

By age 8, kids are having adult conversations.

Drawing of Owl

5 stages of reading development

The books on this site, Who Will Save the Desert? and Marshalls' BIG Discovery, may be utilized to aid in skill development for stages #1-4 below. Stage 5* readers may find the reading level in the books too basic, but the main concepts of the stories regarding trash/recycling and the acceptance of similarities/ differences should be important to all ages of readers.


  1. Pre-reader: typically from 6 months to 6 years. This is the period of emerging skills, as kids are being exposed to sounds, words, concepts, print images and conversations. This is often the stage when adults “read to” a child.

  2. Novice reader: typically from 6 to 7 years. In this stage, kids can understand letters and sounds, both printed and spoken words. They can read or sound out simple one syllable common words. They become eager to “read on their own”.

  3. Decoding reader: typically from 7 to 9 years. These readers are now reading more independently as they have developed sight vocabulary and decoding skills. Being “read to” is still important in gaining skills as it promotes listening skills. Hearing sounds and locking onto new words is crucial to promote vocabulary development and reading fluency. This leads to developing comprehension skills and moving to the next level reader. 

  4. Fluent reader: typically 9 to 15 years. This is a reader who better comprehends what is read. To continue to advance and ensure comprehension, readers should be engaged in question/answer sessions, learn to activate prior knowledge, understand how to draw inferences and read a variety of materials. 

  5. Expert reader: 16 years and older. This is a reader who is capable of reading a wide variety of materials while fully understanding what is read. The reader continues to develop and maintain skills through practice.

Higher level readers could read this book to the younger readers and then utilize some of the activities together!

What fun they could have!

"A child who reads will be an adult who thinks."


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