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👩‍🏫 In our articles, the term "pre-literacy/emergent literacy" often appears. What exactly is it?

"Pre-literacy" or "emergent literacy" refers to the foundational skills that children need before they learn to read and write. Here are some examples of these skills:

Knowing that the symbol "書" means "book" 📚

Knowing that the symbol "圖" means "picture" 🖼️

Knowing that the symbol "字" means "character" 🉐

Understanding that there are rules and patterns to books, pictures, and characters, such as recognizing that books have covers and pages that are read from top to bottom and left to right; understanding that pictures and symbols have meanings; and recognizing that written language has rules and patterns that govern how it is read, such as reading from left to right or top to bottom, using phonetic sounds to sound out words in English, etc.

Learning to recognize and decode written language involves understanding these patterns and rules, and also developing oral language skills. When children are able to connect the shapes, sounds, and meanings of words, they are better able to learn to read and write, rather than just memorizing words.

Ignoring the pre-literacy process can lead to frustration and difficulty for children when they are expected to read before they are developmentally ready. Forcing children to read before they are ready can create unnecessary pressure and anxiety, and may prevent them from enjoying reading in the future.


Spoonce, F.A. (1976). The Development of Reading. Hodder & Stoughton, London.

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