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Typical Pre-Reading Skills Development

3-4 Years

  • Spontaneously Produces Rhyme: The child sings and chants rhyming words without awareness of what rhyme is.
    • Ex: Child is pretending to read a book and says “pig wig jig”

4-5 Years

  • Ability to Identify Rhyme: The child identifies that some words have the same ending sounds or sound the same at the end.
    •  Ex: Pig, wig. “Do pig and wig rhyme?”
  • Ability to Segment Syllables: The child identifies the number of syllables in a word by tapping, clapping, or in some way indicating that he or she hears the number of syllables in a word.
    • Ex: Let’s clap out the word hamburger. ham-bur-ger OR how many beats (or parts) do you hear in baseball?
  • Ability to Blend Syllables: Given a word that has been segmented into syllables, the child states the word created by blending the syllables together.
    •  What word am I saying? Ham-bur-ger OR what does the word ma-ca-ro-ni say? 

5+ Years

  • Ability to Generate Rhyme: The child says words that rhyme when asked.
    •  Ex: Tell me a word that rhymes with pig OR tell me as many words as you can that rhyme with dad.
  • Ability to Delete Syllables: The child deletes a syllable from a word and states what remains.
    •  Ex: Lightbulb. “Say lightbulb without bulb.” 

6 Years

  • Ability to Blend Phonemes: Given the sounds in a word that has been segmented, the child blends the sounds to form the word.
    • Ex: Listen /s/ /I/ /k/ “What word did I say? That’s right, sick.”
  • Ability to Segment Phonemes: Given a word, the child segments the phonemes in the word.
    • Ex: What are the words you hear in ship? That’s right /sh/ /i/ /p/ OR does mom start with /m/?

6-7 Years

  • Ability to Judge Whether Words Rhyme: The child compares a group of words and chooses the one that rhymes OR the child chooses one that does not rhyme with the other.
    • Ex: Pig, wig, cup, jig – which doesn’t rhyme? OR pig, wig cup – which words rhyme?
  • Ability to Caregorize Rhyme: The child forms classes of words that go together because they rhyme. This is a precursor to understanding word families.
    •  Ex: Group these words together so that the words in the groups rhyme. “Ready, listen: bat, head, bed, sat, cat, led.”

7 Years

  • Ability to Delete Phonemes:  The child deletes a phoneme from a word and says the new word or a nonsense word.
    • Ex: Say dog without the /g/ OR say dog without the first sound OR duck /uk/. “What sound did I leave out?”

7+ Years

  • Abilty to Manipulate Phonemes: The child is able to manipulate the phonemes in words by substituting, changing, or transposing phonemes.
    • Ex: Say muck. Now say muck with a /d/ instead of an /m/ OR duck, muck. “What sound did I change?”
  • Ability to Manipulate Syllables: The child manipulates syllables in words to form new words or nonsense words.
    •  Ex: Say hamburger. Now say hamburger with “gum” at the end instead of “ger.”