Revision:Child language acquisition - reading

  • Most people read by sounding out graphemes and forming phonemes.
  • Yacht – strange words
  • Dual method – 2 processes when reading
    1. Direct access – pronounce each word e.g. det, cat, bat
    2. Grapheme, phoneme conversion
      • Use previous experience to help with new words.
      • Look at the words more sophisticatedly
  • The frequency of the word and the neighbouring words affect the way we pronounce each word.

Theory 1: FRITH 1985

3 Stages to a child’s development of reading.  


  • Pronounce individual letters
  • Letters are connected with sounds
  • Child can only link words to one phoneme



  • Child is more comfortable with the alphabet
  • Can combine graphemes to make longer phonemes. E.g. ‘th’



  • Recognise a string of graphemes without having to decode them
  • Greater phonological awareness – recognise more sound patterns
  • Analogy – compare and apply patterns and rules.

Theory 2: CHALL 1983

6 stages to child’s development of reading.  

Stage 0: PRE READING (birth to 6 years old)

  • Children pretend to read, turn pages pf books and repeat what they have previously had read to them.
  • Rely on images to determine what the text is saying.
  • Use logographic info to guess the words.
  • Realise words are made up of sounds
  • Recognise rhyme and alliteration


Stage 1: INITIAL READING/ DECODING STAGE (6-7 years old)

  • Able to read simple texts.
  • Relies heavily on text and focuses on visual images.
  • Realise letter combinations represent sounds.
  • Become aware of vowels and vowel sounds.


Stage 2: CONFIRMATION & GLUING STAGE (7-8 years old)

  • A child can automatically decode words.
  • High levels of comprehension and reading
  • Ability to become more fluent
  • Can control pace and are comfortable with reading situations


Stage 3: READING TO LEARN (8-14 years old)

  • Reading to learn and acquire new knowledge
  • Before this child relied on environment and speech
  • Words mean a lot more to them
  • Able to bring previous experiences and knowledge to the reading.
  • Learn facts from a singular view point
  • They need direct reconstruction
  • Learn to read narrative texts.


Stage 4: MULTIPLE VIEW POINTS (14-18 years old)

  • Begin reading and dealing with multiple view points
  • Analyse and react critically to different view points
  • Able to deal with layers of facts and able to edit them
  • Able to deal with complex texts.



  • Read in detail and completeness to fulfil purpose (education)
  • Aware of relevant and irrelevant information
  • Can form their own opinions and ideas from what they read
  • More interest shown = more info that is remembered
  • Ability to criticise and question texts.

What a child’s text tends to contain

  • Use of repetition- enables child to be able to pick up structure
  • Simple sentences used
  • Large picture – explaining what is being read.
  • Use of imaginative sentences- i.e. dog talking and shows feeling
  • Visual representation of texts
  • Cohesive structure- beginning, middle and end, repetition and grammatical structure.
  • Good punctuation and grammar skills
  • Thick pages- easier for child to handle
  • Capitalisation


These notes are aimed at A Level English students at A2 level.

Originally written by BlondKelly18 on TSR Forums.