Coming Soon ... Teaching Routines

Literacy can be seen as dependent on instruction, with the corollary that quality of instruction is key. This view emphasizes the developmental nature of literacy — the passage of children through successive stages of literacy, in each of which the reading and writing tasks change qualitatively and the role of the instructor has to change accordingly.
— (Chall, 1996 as referenced in Snow, 2004)

Regular visitors to The Literacy Bug will be very familiar with the above quote. We refer to it just as much as we refer to another of Catherine Snow's observations, "[in] a developmental theory, literacy is not a single skill that simply gets better [with age] ... Being literate is very different for the skilled first grader, fourth grader, high school student, and adult, and the effects of school experiences can be quite different at different points in a child’s development.” (Catherine Snow, et al, 1991, pg 9) In the spirit of these two observations, we plan to add a new section to The Literacy Bug. The section will be entitled Teaching Routines, and it will include advice on the types of teaching activities which suit each of the various stages of literacy development

As a teaser, the following diagram attempts to isolate lesson cycles that reflect aspects of the different stages of development. As these cycles currently stand, they are skeletal and oversimplified; however, they will be fleshed out in the new, yet-to-be-drafted section. Over the coming two to three months, we hope to establish the Teaching Routines section as a valuable addition to the website.  Until then, please explore and enjoy!


Chall, J. S. (1996). Stages of reading development (2nd ed.). Fort Worth: Harcourt Brace Jovanovic College Publishers.

Snow, C. (2004). What counts as literacy in early childhood? In K. McCartney & D. Phillips (Eds.), Handbook of early child development. Oxford, UK: Blackwell Publishers.

Snow, C. E., Barnes, W. S., Chandler, J., Goodman, I. F., & Hemphill, L. (1991). Unfulfilled expectations: home and school influences on literacy. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.