Firstly one needs to define reading ability or reading skills. To be proficient in reading a learner must in short be able to recognize and analyze letter sounds and words. Further a learner must be able to link and read words together as sentences with comprehension and fluency (Hill & Launder, 2010:241).
Early literacy or emergent literacy refers to a period in a child’s life from birth until he/she can read and write conventionally. Emergent Literacy is based on the view that a child’s development of listening, speaking, reading and writing is interconnected (Morrow et al., 2011: 69; Justice et al., 2003:320).
Literacy development starts at birth and develop through exposure of language at home, school and in the community through real life experiences. The first words from a mother to her newborn through her caring, nursing and nurturing her child is the beginning of language and reading development. The self-made-up rhyming words, nursery rhymes, action rhymes, songs, narratives and stories a mother shares with her child, already forms part of the foundation skills of emergent literacy.
Greaney, K. & Arrow, A. 2012. Phonological-based assessment and teaching within a first year reading program in New Zealand. Australian Journal of Language and Literacy, 35 (1):9-32.
Hill, S. & Launder, N. 2010. Oral language and beginning to read. Australian Journal of Language & Literacy, 33 (3):240-254.
Justice, L. M., Chow, S., Capellini, C., Flanigan, K. & Colton, S. 2003. Emergent literacy intervention for vulnerable preschoolers: Relative effects of two approaches. American Journal of Speech-Language Pathology, 12:320–332.
Lonigan, C. J., Burgess, S. R. & Anthony, J. L. 2000. Development of emergent literacy and early reading skills in preschool children: Evidence from a latent-variable longitudinal study. Developmental Psychology, 36:596-613.
Neuman, S. B. & Dickinson, D. K. 2003. Emergent literacy: Development from prereaders to readers. In: G. J. Whitehurst., C. J. Lonigan (reds.). Handbook of Early Literacy Research. New York: The Guilford Press. 12-22.
Morrow, M. L., Tracey, D. H. & Del Nero, J. R. 2011. Best practices in early literacy preschool, kindergarten and first grade. In: L. M. Morrow & L. B. Gambrell (reds.). Best Practices in Literacy Instruction. New York: Guilford Press. 67-93.