Help My Child to Read: What’s the Pre-alphabet Stage?

Help My Child to Read: What’s the Pre-alphabet Stage

In this emergent literacy stage, children identify words based on visual features and context.

stop sign photo

Photo Credit: second_mouse

This is also known as the visual cue phase.

Children have not yet discovered the alphabetic principle. They do not realize that every letter represents a speech sound.

In the pre-alphabet stage a young child recognizes words as icons. He may see the golden arches on a McDonald’s sign and say, “I see McDonald’s!”.

However, if given a book or magazine without such visual icons, he’s usually unable to decode the actual written words  (e.g.McDonald’s). Therefore, his ability to recognize a word is limited to the word’s visual features and its context.

Here’s the thing –  this is a VERY important step in learning to read.

Next time you’re in the car with your emerging reader, encourage him to “read” traffic signs and iconic store logos (e.g. Apple, Seven Eleven, Gap, Toys R Us…).

I recommend the book:

Hmmm…I wonder if this is one reason why so many company logos and brand images are so popular (e.g. Apple)? They can be recognized and identified by individuals who cannot yet read and they are memorable.

For more tips on how to help your child to read please read my Literacy posts and my Help My Child to Read Series.

Kimberly Scanlon, M.A. CCC-SLP is a speech language pathologist, an author and a mother. As the owner of Scanlon Speech Therapy, LLC, a unique boutique practice in Bergen County, Kimberly embraces individuality and treats the whole person. Her goal is to spread compassion, hope, and some speech, language and literacy tips one moment, one person at a time.  Her first book, My Toddler Talks: Strategies and Activities to Promote Your Child’s Language Development and her second book, Learning to Read is a Ball are available for purchase at online at Amazon and Barnes and Noble.

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