New Reading Lists Added to The Literacy Bug: Stages of Literacy Development

It is with great pleasure that we make this small - yet important - update. We would like to announce that we have categorised some of our recommended references according to Jeanne Chall’s Stages of Reading Development. Regular visitors would be well aware that Chall’s model plays an important role in The Literacy Bug’s approach to literacy teaching and learning. If you are not familiar with Chall’s model, we encourage you to read the linked essay on the Stages of Literacy Development and/or visit the notes on the Five Stage of Reading Development.

Otherwise, proceed straight to the newly added reading lists. Each list begins with a brief description of the stage.


Stage 0: Pre-Reading: Birth to 6 Years Old

In Stage 0, the child pretends to read, gradually develops the skills to retells stories when looking at pages of books previously read to him/her. The child gains the ability to name letters of the alphabet, prints own name and plays with books, pencils and paper. By six years old, the child can understand thousands of words but can read few (if any). In this stage, adults are encouraged to scaffold child’s language attempts through parallel talk, expanding on verbalisations and recasting child’s verbalisations. Adults are encouraging children to use of two to three word combinations within social contexts, and adults should implement dialogic reading or effective shared reading for young children ages 2 to 5 years. Any instruction (phonics, vocabulary) should be linked to the book reading, and such books should include rhyme, alliteration, and repetitive phrases. In one’s environment, adults should verbally label objects with which children are involved and encourage children to ask questions and elaborate on observations (Westberg, et al., 2006). Click here to explore recommending readings for Stage 0.


Stage 1: Initial Reading & Decoding: 6 to 7 Years Old

In Stage 1, the child is learning the relation between letters and sounds and between print and spoken words. The child is able to read simple texts containing high frequency words and phonically regular words, and uses skills and insight to “sound out” new words. In relation to writing, the child is moving from scribbling to controlled scribbling to nonphonemic letter strings. Adults are encouraging the child to write about known words and use invented spellings to encourage beginning writing, which can be extended through assisted performance. In this stage, the main aims are to further develop children’s phonological awareness, letter-sound knowledge, and ability to manipulate phonemes and syllables (segmentation and blending). (Westberg, et al., 2006) Click here to explore recommending readings for Stage 1.


Stage 2: Confirmation & Fluency: 7 to 9 Years Old

In Stage 2, the child can read simple, familiar stories and selections with increasing fluency. This is done by consolidating the basic decoding elements, sight vocabulary and meaning context in the reading of common topics. The learner’s skills are extended through guided read-aloud of more complex texts. By this stage, adults should be providing instruction that includes repeated and monitored oral reading. Teachers and parents must model fluent reading for students by reading aloud to them daily and ask students to read text aloud. It is important to start with texts that are relatively short and contain words the students can successfully decode. This practice should include a variety of texts such as stories, nonfiction and poetry, and it should use a variety of ways to practice oral reading, such as student-adult reading, choral (or unison) reading, tape-assisted reading, partner (or buddy) reading and reader’s theatre. (Westberg, et al., 2006) Click here to explore recommending readings for Stage 2.


Stage 3: Reading for Learning the New: 9 to 13 Years Old

In Stage 3, reading is used to learn new ideas, to gain new knowledge, to experience new feelings, to learn new attitudes, generally from one or two points of view. There is a significant emphasis placed on reading to learn, and writing for diverse purposes. There is time spent balancing the consolidating of constrained skills (spelling, grammar, fluency) whilst providing ample opportunities to explore topics through reading, writing, speaking, listening & viewing. By this time, the learner has transitioned to a stage where he or she is expected to learn from their reading. Adults should teach  specific comprehension strategies, such as comprehension monitoring, using graphic and semantic organisers, answering questions, generating questions, recognising textual structures, summarising, and identifying main ideas and important details. (Westberg, et al., 2006) Click here to explore recommending readings for Stage 3.


Stage 4: Synthesising, Critiquing & Applying Perspective: 13 to 17 Years Old

In Stage 4, learners are reading widely from a broad range of complex materials, both expository and narrative, and are asked to apply a variety of viewpoints. Learners are required to access, retain, critique and apply knowledge and concepts. Learners are consolidating general reading, writing and learning strategies whilst being required to develop more sophisticated disciplinary knowledge and perspectives. These adolescent learners deserve content area teachers who provide instruction in the multiple literacy strategies needed to meet the demands of the specific discipline. In these areas, adolescents deserve access to and instruction with multimodal as well as traditional print sources. (International Reading Association, 2012). Click here to explore recommending readings for Stage 4.

We hope the newly added lists are helpful. If you would like to provide any recommendations or send us a comment, please do not hesitate to contact us at or use the comment box/link below.

References in this blog entry
International Reading Association. (2012). Adolescent Literacy: a position statement of the International Reading Association. Newark, DE.

Westberg, L., McShane, S., & Smith, L. (2006). Verizon Life Span Literacy Matrix: Relevant Outcomes , Measures and Research-based Practices and Strategies. Washington D.C.