Literacy Pamphlet for Parents
Literacy FocusEmergent LearnersBeginning Learners Transitional
EMERGENT READERS, WRITERS, AND SPELLERS
-A simple guide for families to understand the characteristics
of emergent-level children and how to help them at home-
The EMERGENT stage of reading, writing, & spelling is
usually seen in children pre-K through middle 1st grade.
What youll see--- * Pretend reading-retelling using a familiar
book (they use much picture support) * Memory reading-more accurate
reading of books by pointing to text in some way
* Attempts to touch individual words, but inconsistently
* Unable to read what they write
During this stage, children will begin with random marks or
scribbles, and move toward discovering that scribbling and drawing
can represent something What youll see--- Pretend writing
Example:(early stage) rxallmmfe(late stage) I K S K P (I like
What youll see--- * Pretend writing using symbols (drawing and
scribbling) * Some letter-sound matching
EmergentActivities you can do from the website
(Reading) Concept of word: Be the SentenceMaterials: large index
cardsProcedure: 1. Create a short sentence, such as Today is
Monday. 2. Write each word from the short sentence on a large card.
3. Give each word to your children and other family members and
name it for them. (Sam, you are the word today.) 4. Have someone
else in the family read the sentence to check the direction and
order of the sentence.
(writing) Name bags
Materials: plastic bags, any type of letter cards or magnetic
lettersProcedure: 1. Place the letters of each childs name in a
bag. 2. Have your child put them in order to spell his or her name.
3.The child can switch name bags to spell another family members or
a friends name, or words can be introduced.
(spelling) Show meMaterials: show me pockets, set of letter
cards for your childProcedure: 1.. Create Show me pockets by
folding over a piece of strong paper three times (like a letter for
an envelope). Then fold up the bottom and tape or staple sections
to create three small pockets. Make sure the letters fit inside the
pockets so they can easily be seen. 2. Give a set of letter cards
and a Show me pocket to your child.3. Call out a CVC
(consonant-vowel-consonant) word and ask your child to put the
letters in the right position in his/her pockets to create the
word. Have your child close the pockets. 4. Say, Show Me!5. Have
your child open his/her Show me pockets to show the word he/she
created.6. Call out a new word and repeat the steps.
BEGINNING READERS, WRITERS, AND SPELLERS
-for families to understand the characteristics of
beginning-level children and how to help them at home-
The BEGINNING stage of reading, writing, & spelling is
usually seen in children Kindergarten through middle 2nd grade.
What youll see--- Finger point to words as they read Read aloud
to themselves Word by word reading (not much fluency at this stage)
Children can usually read what they write
BEGINNING WRITERS During this stage, children begin to write in
a more conventional way. Their writing becomes more readable, by
themselves and by others.
What youll see--- Word by word writing (they may write a few
words or lines)EXAMPLE:My gamnmoe kam to my hosn. (My grandma came
to my house.)
BEGINNING SPELLERSThis spelling stage is referred to as the
Letter Name-Alphabetic stage.What youll see--- Children spell
beginning sounds in syllables1) They begin to use first and last
sounds in words2) Finally, they begin to use short vowel
patternsEXAMPLE:For the word bed, you may see:BBDBAD Children will
begin to learn consonant blends (st, bl, fl), short vowels in word
families (at, fat, bat, sat)They will begin to study patterns
outside of rhyming patterns (saw, was)
What you can do to help your child--- * Have your child dictate
stories to you (he/she tells, you write). Then have him/her read it
back to you, while pointing to the words* Read and recite rhymes
with your child (nursery rhymes are great!) * Read with and to your
child, using patterned books. Once the book is familiar, have your
child read and point to the words
BeginningActivities you can do from the website
(Reading) Treasure Hunt Materials: prizes-stickers, books, food,
etc., cards with words/pictures of room items or locations
Procedure: 1. Organize a treasure hunt during which your child
(children) can use a set of cards with words and pictures to guide
their hunt. 2. Cards can indicate different locations where your
child can find new directions. 3. During the hunt, use questions to
guide problem solving or to reflect on the hunt later. Draw
attention to the words that go with the pictures. 4. After a few
hunts, encourage your child to hide prizes and use cards to create
hunts for you.As your child becomes more successful, use word cards
only (no pictures) to create the treasure hunts.
(Writing) Word Play: A silly poem
Materials: paper, marker Procedure: 1.Tell your child that
sometimes poets make up silly words and put them together to create
fun poems. Share the first two stanzas of Jabberwocky by Lewis
Carroll. (Explain that the things mentioned are all pretend).2.
Jabberwocky: Twas brilling, and the slithy toves Did gyre and
gimble in the wabe; All mimsy were the borogroves, And the mome
rathe outgrabe. Beware the Jabberwock, my son! The jaws that bite,
the claws that catch! Beware the Jubjub bird, and shun the
fruminous Bandersnatch!3. Encourage your child to share his/her
responses to the poem. Ask why the writer may have made up words
instead of using real ones.4. Help your child create a poem, using
real and pretend words, and be silly.5. Ask your child to add the
next line of the poem. Take turns adding lines and read the entire
poem together when youre done.
(Spelling) Word huntMaterials: trade books, magazines that
children can read easilyProcedure: 1. Decide on 2 initial
consonants your child will hunt for in the reading. 2. Ask your
child to write the initial letters they will search for at the top
of a piece of paper. 3. Tell your child he/she will look for words
that start with the letters M and S, for example. 4. Explain that
after he/she finds a word that starts with the letter, he/she
should write it down under the right heading M or S, on a piece of
paper. Have him/her read the lists of words.
TRANSITIONAL READERS, WRITERS, AND SPELLERS
-A simple guide for families to understand the characteristics
of transitional-level children and how to help them at home-
The TRANSITIONAL stage of reading, writing, & spelling is
usually seen in children 1st through middle 4th grade.
What youll see--- More fluent reading, with some expression
Reading in phrases, with pauses at the end of sentences Reading
rate that approaches 100 words per minute Finger-pointing drops
away Predicting story outcomes
TRANSITIONAL WRITERSDuring this stage, children write with
increasing fluency and expression. They express their ideas in more
complex ways, and they are able to write with greater speed. They
are able to present sequence of events, and stories have
What youll see--- Approaching fluency More organization Several
paragraphs in writingEXAMPLE:My cousin came from Alaska for the
holidays. She came to school with me for two days! Then we had a
happy chismas. The day after chrismas I siting in a car going to
TRANSITIONAL SPELLERSThis spelling stage is referred to as the
Within Word Pattern stage.
What youll see---* More word patterns* Correct spelling of most
single-syllable short vowel words * Using different long vowel
patterns (cake, say, rain), although they often confuse the
patterns EXAMPLE:FLOTE for FLOATSPOLE for SPOILCHUED for CHEWED
What you can do to help your child---
* Let them practice reading materials that arent too difficult.
Rereading books is great! * Help your child with word sorts that
involve using different long vowel patterns* Continue reading with
and to your child * Have your child write every day
Transitionalactivities you can do from the website
(Reading) Around the worldMaterials: Around the world
cardsProcedure: 1. Make Around the World cards from a collection of
the sight words your child may know. Write I have _____ (the blank
is the sight word). Can you find ______? ( a different sight word).
Each card should say this, using different words, of course! 2.
Deal out cards to you and your child. Allow the game to continue
until you reach the last card.
(writing) Rewrite a Sports ArticleMaterials: A sports article
from the newspaper or a magazineProcedure:1. Select some
interesting sports articles from the newspaper/magazine.2. Note
what words are used to attribute quotes to various speakers.3. Have
your child rewrite the attributes with more vivid language. In
other words, find synonyms for says or said.
(Spelling) Word Family BingoMaterials: 5 bingo cards with a few
word family endings in various order, picture cards that match
endings on bingo cards, and chips to cover the cards (Smarties
candy words well!)Procedure: 1. After your child/children has
received a bingo card, begin by choosing a picture card and showing
it to them. 2. If the pictures word family ending appears on their
bingo card, they cover it with a chip. 3. First person to fill
their bingo card wins! EXAMPLES of word family endings: Fan (an
words)-the picture may be of a man-it has the same ending an as fan
Cat (at words)-the picture may be of a mat-it has the same ending
at as cat
INTERMEDIATE READERS, WRITERS, AND SPELLERS
-A simple guide for families to understand the characteristics
of intermediate-level children and how to help them at home-
The INTERMEDIATE stage of reading, writing, & spelling is
usually seen in children grades 3rd through 8th.
What youll see--- Beginning to expand reading interests (many
different topics) Working on reading strategies (using knowledge to
work on text) Vocabulary grows Predicting story outcomes becomes
INTERMEDIATE WRITERSDuring this stage, children write with more
sophisticated word knowledge. This involves working with syllables
and affixes (word beginnings and endings), which allows writing to
be more fluent and expressive.
What youll see--- Different writing styles and genres (poems,
non-fiction, letters, reports etc.) Writing will show personal
problem solving and reflection
EXAMPLE:Janell Cannons books, Stellaluna and Verdi are different
and alike in many ways. Stellaluna and Verdi both learned a lesson
but, on the other hand, they learned different lessons. Although
the characters are alike because Stellaluna and Verdi both got
separated from their mo, Verdi had to go out on his own.
INTERMEDIATE SPELLERSThis spelling stage is referred to as the
Syllables and Affixes stage.
What youll see--- *A study of plurals and suffixes
*Spelling-meaning connections (meanings of prefixes) *A study of
syllables and their junctures (settle, success, occasion)*A study
of words that have consonants which are doubled (hopping, vs.
Intermediateactivities you can do from the website
Homophone Solitaire Materials: 48 word cards using two-syllable
homophones. The cards are made up of 2 suits (1) homophones in the
stressed syllable, (2) homophones in the unstressed syllable. There
are 12 pairs of matching homophones for each suit:Homophone
lists:Suit 1: stressed Suit 2:unstressedaloud
Homophone Solitaire continued Procedure:1. Shuffle the deck;
then turn one card over at a time. Say the word, observe the
pattern, and place the card down, face up.2. Turn over the next
card. Place it on top of the previously placed card if it matches
(alter, altar)3. Continue play in this way, placing cards with no
matches to the right of the last card played. Stacks may be picked
up and consolidated at any time. The top card played on a stack
determines the movement.4. You may move back no more than four
stacks for play. Game ends when the whole deck is used.
Ow! Materials: ou and ow word cards (list is below):Country,
council, lousy, fountain, mountain, scoundrel, counter, around,
bounty, foundry, mouthful, flower, allow, brownie, vowel, shower,
towel, tower, chowder, coward, drowsy, powder, rowdy, prowler,
powerProcedure:1. Sort the word cards into the ow spelling or the
ou spelling 2. Sort the two-syllable ou word cards into words
accented on the first syllable and words accented on the second
syllable. 3. Do the same for the ow word cards. 4. Combine the ou
and ow word cards and sort into words accented on the first
syllable and words accented on the second syllable.
The information and activities in this pamphlet have been
compiled from information in Words Their Way: Word Study for
Phonics, Vocabulary, and Spelling Instruction, by Donald R. Bear,
Marcia Invernizzi, Shane Templeton, & Francine Johnston.