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Developmental Stages of Reading for Grades K-2Edit

Kindergarten Edit

The child is learning the direction of print in English, letters and sounds, other decoding skills, and that print contains meaning. She often memorizes chants and text.


  • are very short (8 pages)
  • have large print
  • have few or no words on a page
  • are regularly patterned (only 1 or 2 words change from page to page)
  • have pictures that provide cues for text
  • are highly interesting
  • are highly predictable
  • contain familiar objects or actions in content

First Grade Edit

The child is continuing to build decoding skills as well as a sight vocabulary with slightly more difficult text. She reads own writing with ease and confidence.


  • are patterned and short
  • have large print
  • have multiple lines per page
  • have pictures that provide rich cues for text
  • sometimes rhyme
  • are written in complete sentences
  • are highly interesting & entertaining
  • have simple concepts and high degree of predictability

Transitioning from First to Second Grade Edit

The child is learning strategies for decoding and understanding, building fluency and confidence. She relies less on pictures/patterns and more on text and context.


  • have more pages, as many as 48
  • still have large print
  • have fewer patterns in text
  • may have short chapters
  • have pictures throughout
  • are highly interesting & entertaining
  • have easy to follow structure in nonfiction text

Second Grade Edit

The child has decoding skills that enable him or her to read some material independently. Goals are fluency and confidence in reading both literature and nonfiction.


  • vary greatly with regard to vocabulary, size of print, number of pictures and content
  • have headings and are well-organized in nonfiction
  • Early 2nd Grade books have considerable text per page with larger print and pictures thoughout
  • Late 2nd Grade books have smaller print and sporadic pictures; fiction usually has chapters

See alsoEdit


Seattle Public School System document

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