North Carolina Early Learning and Development Progressions: Birth to Five

Domain: NC Foundations for Early Learning: Language Development and Communication (LDC)

Subdomain: Foundations for Reading

Goal: Children develop phonological awareness.

Skill Progression: Develop phonological awareness

Age: 48-54 Months

Click here to go to all skills for ages 48-54 Months.

Identifies simple, high-frequency words

Situations for Observation of Skill

Observe the child trying to figure out words in simple sentences that include high-frequency small words.

Elicitation Strategy

Write some simple sentences on the board or a large piece of paper. For example, I love my Grandpa. I love my Mommy. I love my Daddy. I love my cat. Read the first sentence aloud, pointing to each word as it is read. Then ask the child to read the next sentences. Ask him how he knows what each says.

Behavior Observed

The child recognizes words like, “I,” “me,” “mom,” “dad” in print. He may be able to determine unknown words through memory or use of first letter sound, plus guessing. For example, once the first sentence is read, the child recognizes the word “I,” matches the “love my” to the first sentence, and recognizes “Mommy” and “Daddy. “ The child may figure out cat, if his name starts with a ‘c,’ like in Carl.

Routines-based Intervention (Embedded Instruction)

Expand word recognition by pointing out specific simple high-frequency words in books as they are read. Emphasize the first letter sounds in the words. When sharing books, early childhood educators and parents can read part of a sentence then pause and ask, “What do you think this next word is?” Pick words the child may know, or predict, to increase confidence and motivation to learn to read.

 North Carolina Department of Public Instruction, 2015

©2015 by the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction. This work is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License. To view a copy of this license, visit