4 Stages of Literacy Development

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Compare and contrast the 4 stages of literacy development and give examples of activities for each stage.

4 Stages of Literacy Development:

1. Beginning Literacy
2. Early Intermediate Literacy
3. Intermediate Literacy
4. Early Advanced Literacy

Beginning Literacy

Students demonstrate little or no receptive or productive English skills. Beginning to understand a few concrete details during unmodified instruction.

In the beginning stage, students may go through a silent period where they speak very little, if at all. We must acknowledge that they need time to build their vocabulary and confidence before they feel comfortable enough to speak in class. Frequent opportunities for these students to interact with their peers in a more social setting, such as on the playground, will help them build their vocabulary and confidence.

Activities for Beginning Literacy

Word cards
Personal dictionaries
Identify key words in stories
Listening to oral reading
Oral story retelling
Drawing as a means of written expression

Early Intermediate Literacy

Students continue to develop receptive and productive English skills. Able to identify and understand more concrete details during unmodified instruction.

During the second stage, students will begin to use one-word utterances and short phrases to communicate socially, express a need, or reply to a question. We need to again provide these students with frequent opportunities in the classroom to interact with each other and TALK to each other. We must be careful to encourage their language use and not correct them in front of their peers.

Activities for Early Intermediate Literacy

Vocabulary development
Predict/confirm events in a story
Labeling
Copying
Fill-in blanks
Complete the sentence

Intermediate Literacy

Students begin to tailor English language skills to meet communication and learning demands with increasing accuracy. They are able to identify and understand more concrete details and some major abstract concepts during unmodified instruction.

During the third stage, students are beginning to understand more abstract concepts and are beginning to use English to learn content.

Activities for Intermediate Literacy

Choral reading
Silent reading or structured readers or patterned stories
Student developed stories
Dictation
Arranging words into sentences or paragraphs

Early Advanced Literacy

Students begin to combine the elements of English language in complex, cognitively demanding situations and are able to use English as a means of learning in content areas.

During the fourth stage, students can use English to learn content and can use English in cognitively demanding situations.

Activities for Early Advanced Literacy

Word identification, categorization
Semantic organizers
Silent and oral reading
Structured book reports
Completing the story
Use dictionaries and other reference materials.

Compare and Contrast the Stages

The first two stages involve the development of social language (BICS).

The third and fourth stages incorporate the addition of academic language (CALPS).

It is important to note that content area learning does not come into play until the fourth stage. Prior to this stage, students are in the "learning to listen, speak, read and write stage". It is not until the fourth stage that students are able to "listen, speak, read and write to learn".

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