Reading Development

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As literate persons, we all know something about reading, writing, and literacy. In fact, our understanding of what literacy is varies widely. Jeanne Chall concluded in Learning to Read: the Great Debate (1983), that children get a better start in reading if they are taught phonics because they break the code that links what they hear with what they see in print. Harvard Professor Jeanne Chall has outlined the stages of reading development that begin at preschool age and continue until university age. The stages of reading development explains how students’ progress as readers. Chall’s proposed scheme for reading stages includes six stages with the purpose of understanding the path of reading development from pretend reading to advance reading. The basic philosophy is that children learn to read as a developmental process; also advocating for the use of both phonics and exposure to challenging literature as the best method of teaching young children to read. Her approach encompasses the development of decoding, comprehension, and critical evaluation. Chall considers that her proposed stages of reading development resemble Piaget’s stages of cognitive and language development (Chall 1996). Accordingly, the methodology used to implement the theory entails the following. Each reading stage has a definite structure and varies from the other stages in characteristic qualitative ways. Each stage follows a hierarchical progression. Chall believes that individuals progress through the reading stages by interacting with their environments and that this interaction affects the individual’s reading development as much as the progression of the distinct stages (Chall, 1996, p. 11). Chall’s six reading developmental stages that describe how children typically learn to read. According to Chall (1996), students proceed through predictable stages of learning to read to becoming a proficient reader. During the pre-reading stage up until about six years old, learners begin...
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