Research has shown time and time again that students must have exposure to repeated positive
literacy experiences in order to be successful. There are many things that factor into the reading
success of little ones, such as print awareness
. They all come to school with their unique
backgrounds and it is up to us to fill in their deficits. So let’s dive into some early predictors of
Knowledge of Letter Names
Letter Recognition is one of the biggest goals of kindergarten. It is also one of the predictors
of reading success in a student’s first year of school. When students enter school and they do
not have a frame of reference when it comes to letters, some of them can have a steep learning
curve ahead. In this case, accuracy is not always king. A student can be accurate in naming the
letters, but it is the ease with which they name the letters that we should be looking at.
When a student can name the letters of the alphabet with fluency, then they will have an easier
time learning all about the sounds that letters make because they already have a frame of
reference. If a student spends most of their time figuring out what each letter is, they will have
less time and effort available to use other strategies to decode print.
preschoolers, but what is it exactly? It is the ability to think about the sounds in a word, an
understanding that words are made up of syllables, sounds, and rhymes. They begin to recognize
that words are their own thing (asking what the word bright means), that words can sound the
same (pet and wet), and they also become aware of individual sounds and can manipulate them.
When a student is well-developed in phonological awareness, then they already have a head
start in knowing how sounds and letters work together in print. When they have this ability, then
they are able to begin using sound-letter knowledge effectively in reading and writing. One of the
strongest predictors of reading success in first grade and beyond is a student’s level of
phonological awareness at the end of kindergarten. If you have students who are struggling in
this area, then early intervention is key.
Oral language is the foundation of learning literacy and a predictor of reading success. School
provides a language-rich environment, one that is different from the language used at home. It
will range anywhere from informal (used at home) to the more formal communication (used at
school). The development of this oral language is an important part of any successful
kindergarten program. So what is oral language? Initially, you would think that it is just the
spoken word, but it is also listening and thinking, which is all combined together to give you
oral language. The more a student explores language in the classroom, they begin to better
understand how to use language for reading and writing.
Another purpose of oral language in the classroom is to learn new information. By the time
they have arrived at school, they have already learned to talk. Once they enter our classrooms,
they have to talk to learn, in order to be successful. They begin to use what they already know
about language to help them make sense of what is written on a page. At this point, they start
to make a connection between oral and written language, which is crucial for emergent readers.
If you find that you have some students who are struggling with learning to read, take a quick
minute to see if they could have a deficit in one of these areas. If they do, then research has shown
that these students need explicit instruction in these areas through early intervention. Don’t delay!