At this stage the child: pretends to be a reader; holds books the right way; turns pages at appropriate times; can discuss what is happening and relate it to their own experiences; knows that the reader is focusing on the print and that it is conveying the message; makes inferences on both what is read and the pictures; enjoys stories being re-read and chimes in regularly; likes to turn the pages and knows when to and will make attempts to re-read the story from memory and picture cues.
Using the Context of the Story:
The child can determine meaning from context by saying things like: 'I like dogs too' and will bring their own experience as it relates to what is being read. Relating their experiences to strories, television shows, or even ads becomes a popular behavior when the child uses context to make sense.
Although the child isn't yet reading, they recognize their own name, brands (McDonald's 'M', Stop Signs etc.) Recognizes the sounds of letters and makes references like, 'that ones starts the same as my name, or snakes start with the same letter that Stop Signs do.
Reading and Print Attitudes:
The child starts to demonstrate an interest in printing and will pretend to print or write. They will ask more questions like 'What does that say?' They like to chime in when familiar stories are being read. They like to take part in daily reading and never want to miss their bed time story or story time. They show a greater interest in books and will enjoy looking at them more frequently even though it may seem that they're looking mainly at the pictures.
When a child displays the attitudes described above, they are most likely at the stage where they are ready to learn how to read. The child will benefit from many alphabet activities, exploring with the sounds that letter make and reading early stage books. These children will also benefit from making books like 'A is for Apple and Ate. B is for black bugs. C is for Cinderella and Candy.
The idea behind this type of book is that the children are encouraged to use the sounds that letters make (long and short sounds, 'r' controlled sounds - a as in car, and hard and soft sounds as in Cindy and Candy. When children are encouraged to make these books, they can read them on their own as they have made the pictures to help them.
Pattern books are another great early writing and reading activity. Again, children draw the pictures and use patterns like: Blue is for the Sky. Blue is for the Bluejay. Blue is for blueberries. Or I like books: I like to run. I like to jump. I like to play.
Lots of praise at this stage will encourage the young reader to develop confidence and will move foward in their ability to read.