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REadingADvantage, Inc.

Changing a generation - one child, one book at a time

Four Stages of Reading With Your Child


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Stage # What: Why: How:
Stage 1


Baby books with 1 or 2 words/page; 1 or 2 large colorful pictures/page; small and hardbound
Receptive Understanding of Nouns and Verbs Develops your child's ability to understand and use new vocabulary words.
  • Ignore the words.
  • Keep the language simple.
  • Name and label the characters, places, actions.
  • "Look! It's Mickey!"
  • "Car" - "Mickey is driving a car."
  • Parent point to the character, place, or thing.
  • Work up to having the child point to the character, place, or thing.
Stage 2


1 to 2 short sentences/page; colorful pictures on every page; often hardbound
Expanding Your Child's Language Develops your child's ability to put words together in a sentence. Your child is listening closely to what you say and is learning new words.
  • Read books at your child's language level.
  • Child points to something in a book and says (for example) "swing."
  • Parent takes the single word and responds with a complete sentence (for example) "The boy is on the swing. The swing is in the park."
  • Don't ask questions that have a simple "yes" or "no" answer.
  • Use "I, you, and it" statements. Examples: "You have a swing. I push you on the swing. Look at it swing high."
Stage 3


3 to 5 short sentences/page; colorful pictures on most pages
Reading Together and Talking about What You are Reading Develops your child's comprehension of the book and the language involved.
Develops your child's language skills that are so important in later life.
Develops your child's conversation skills.
Establishes that you and your child are conversation partners for life.
Your child will develop a love of books and be more successful with books when s/he starts school.
  • Read the books together and talk about the books.
  • (Example) When the story is about going to the beach, you tie the beach idea to a personal experience. You might ask, "Remember when we went to the beach? What happened when we went to the beach? Tell me about the beach."
  • Relate the stories to your child's life experiences and activities so the stories become more personal and less abstract.
Stage 4

First Grade and Beyond

Chapter Books; few pictures
Be Your Child's Learning Partner beginning Today and throughout their School Years Develops you and your child as reading partners, learning partners, and conversation partners.
Develops your child's language and academic skills.
  • Read with your child every day!
  • Help your child with his/her homework every day!

This chart is available for use, with appropriate credit given, if used for non-profit purposes. It is NOT to be used in conjunction with for-profit purposes without permission.

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REadingADvantage, Inc.
Changing a generation - one child, one book at a time.
1145 Second St., Suite A, #113
Brentwood, CA 94513
Phone: (925) 698-0098

Questions about Reading Advantage? Write to our director, Deborah Polk,
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All material © REadingADvantage, Inc.

Site started: May 8, 2014.
This page updated: February 28, 2015