How Do Children Read Before Being Able To Read? Tools For Research

This research focuses on initial literacy. We conceive reading as a complex cognitive process that involves many skills; it does not only include the capacity of decoding letters but also the ability of selecting, understanding and interpreting a text critically and taking into consideration pragmatic factors. Our study is based on literature about reading acquisition in early childhood and Frith's description (1985) of the steps that the child follows when they learn to read: the logographic, the alphabetic and the grammatical phase. We realized that there are lots of abilities required before children enter the first phase (the logographic, in which they already show interest for letters). In order to study this previous learning process, we have been observing and recording two-year old children interacting with books and we have designed a specific methodology to analyze the evidences of this early literacy. Our main hypothesis is that children acquire lot of relevant competences related to reading (and writing) before they really start decoding letters, words and sentences. We will describe these skills grouping them in three categories: mechanical skills, symbolic skills and narrative skills ​
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