Let’s Meet Chris

Now let’s imagine Chris. Chris is also five and is a bit more sheepish than Alex. Arriving at kindergarten, Chris has some concept of what reading is. When he picks up a book and sits next to Alex, he too looks at the bright pictures. But he doesn’t understand what Alex is doing when she traces her finger on that worm-like like letter and hisses like a snake “Essssssss.” When the class plays a game where they match pictures that start with the same sound, Chris is quickly confused. “Boy and Ball both start with the sound /b/,” Alex tells Chris. His teacher, walking around greeting the new students notices Alex and Chris and makes a mental note to revisit as soon as possible. The teacher does not know what pre-literacy skills each individual child brings to the classroom. Yet the teacher must create a curriculum that provides an enriched literacy environment to all children. They are not only tasked with fostering a desire to read in their students. They must also recognize those who struggle and try to “catch” them, before they fall.

  • Auditory
    related to hearing
    the inherited biological ‘recipe’ for appearance and other individual characteristics
    the ability to read and write
    cells located in the brain and throughout the body that are specialized to communicate messages
    the smallest unit of speech (a sound)
    Phoneme “play”
    manipulating sounds that make up words
    Phonological awareness
    the ability to identify and manipulate individual sounds in spoken language
    Primary visual cortex
    an area in the brain responsible for interpreting visual information
    neural cells at the back of the eye that are sensitive to light
    Skilled reader
    a reader who is able to focus on comprehension, rather than on sounding out words
    Visual word form area
    the area of the brain responsible for recognizing words during reading