Emergent Literacy: Definition, Theories & Characteristics

An error occurred trying to load this video.

Try refreshing the page, or contact customer support.

Coming up next: Strategies for Developing Students' Learning & Reading Habits

You're on a roll. Keep up the good work!

Take Quiz Watch Next Lesson
 Replay
Your next lesson will play in 10 seconds
  • 0:01 What is Literacy?
  • 0:46 Characteristics
  • 2:12 Theories
  • 4:30 Lesson Summary
Add to Add to Add to

Want to watch this again later?

Log in or sign up to add this lesson to a Custom Course.

Login or Sign up

Timeline
Autoplay
Autoplay
Speed

Recommended Lessons and Courses for You

Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Angela Janovsky

Angela has taught middle and high school English, Business English and Speech for nine years. She has a bachelor's degree in psychology and has earned her teaching license.

Literacy actually begins at a much earlier age than most expect. This video lesson describes a child's beginnings in the world of reading, which is called emergent literacy.

What is Literacy?

There are many skills that are necessary to function in today's world. One such key skill in our society is literacy, which can be thought of as the ability to read and write. Think about it; how far could you get in life without being able to read? You would not even be able to find correct street signs as you walk down the street!

Emergent literacy is the idea that learning literacy actually begins at a very early age, long before official lessons in school. This term is used to describe the knowledge a child has of reading and writing before reaching the age where those skills are taught. Emergent literacy argues that right after birth, children are already in the process of becoming literate.

Characteristics

The key factors that support emergent literacy include how some children come into their school years already familiar with the reading and writing process. These children do not know how to combine letters to make words, but they do know some important things about literacy. For example, most children learn from the modeling of parents reading to them at bedtime. Usually, children easily notice their mom or dad read their bedtime stories from left to right. Later on, when learning to read in school, the child already knows to start at the left of the page.

Secondly, emergent literacy involves learning basic phonemic awareness. Phonemes are units of sound. For instance, 'fr' is a phoneme. It is the first unit of sound in words like 'friend', 'frame', and 'freeze'.

To unlock this lesson you must be a Study.com Member.
Create your account

Register to view this lesson

Are you a student or a teacher?

Unlock Your Education

See for yourself why 30 million people use Study.com

Become a Study.com member and start learning now.
Become a Member  Back
What teachers are saying about Study.com
Try it risk-free for 30 days

Earning College Credit

Did you know… We have over 160 college courses that prepare you to earn credit by exam that is accepted by over 1,500 colleges and universities. You can test out of the first two years of college and save thousands off your degree. Anyone can earn credit-by-exam regardless of age or education level.

To learn more, visit our Earning Credit Page

Transferring credit to the school of your choice

Not sure what college you want to attend yet? Study.com has thousands of articles about every imaginable degree, area of study and career path that can help you find the school that's right for you.

Create an account to start this course today
Try it risk-free for 30 days!
Create An Account
Support