Section 1: Knowledge of Emergent Literacy and Reading

Learning to read is a complex process. Unlike speech, literacy is not a naturally developed skill. Although giving children access to books will enhance their reading development, a print-rich environment by itself does not sufficiently prepare the majority of children to learn to read. Teaching children to read requires a carefully planned sequence of explicit instruction. Sufficient practice is also required for proficiency in reading.

The National Reading Panel Report published in 2000 identified five areas of reading instruction: phonemic awareness, phonics, fluency, vocabulary, and text comprehension. As noted on the preceding page, Florida's Benchmarks for Excellent Student Thinking (BEST) Standards for English Language Arts were adopted on February 12, 2020, with a three-year implementation timeline planned. In the early grades, these newly adopted standards will emphasize explicit, systematic phonics instruction as the foundation of literacy. The BEST Standards for ELA stress that decoding and fluency are essential to creating proficient readers.

The contents in this section will help you meet the following objectives.

  • Identify the developmental stages of reading.
  • Identify elements of emergent literacy.
  • Learn what research says about effective reading instruction.
  • Identify strategies for teaching phonemic awareness, phonics, and fluency.
  • Identify essential comprehension skills.
  • Identify strategies for vocabulary development.
  • Identify critical thinking skills in reading.
  • Identify the text structures of informational and literary text.

The following link provides a brief introduction to phonics and decoding.

The link below explains the importance of phonics instruction and how phonemic awareness supports effective phonics instruction.