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: 54-60 Months

You may choose a different domain, go back, or click on a skill below for more information.

Understands that letters function to represent the sounds in spoken words

Situations for Observation of Skill

Make a grocery list for going shopping. (This could be done in the dramatic play area if desired with one to three children).

Elicitation Strategy

Provide paper and pencil and tell the child, “We need a grocery list so we can go shopping for food. What do you want to put on your list?” Encourage the child to listen to the sounds in the word she is writing down. The adult can say the word, emphasizing the sound of the missing letter(s). For example, the child writes ‘bana.’ The adult says, “Count how many syllables are in banana. Right, three! You wrote two syllables, ba-na-. Now you need the last one. Listen, ba-na-NA.” Don’t worry about invented spelling.

Behavior Observed

The child identifies letters she hears in simple words. She tries to sound out words she wants to write. She has more success with first sound and last sounds and has more difficulty with vowels. She may write letter-like symbols for letters she does not know.

Routines-based Intervention (Embedded Instruction)

Early childhood educators and parents can involve children in reading books, by asking them to help them figure out different words in the text. Use repetitive texts, so children begin to recognize the familiar words.

 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