When children start with learning to read, they already have a passable big stock of words. They only have hardly an idea of the connection between spoken and written words. The process of learning to read consists of 3 phases:
Learning to distiguish the different shapesof characters. The child has to learn to work from the left side to the right side. This is very important to the meaning of the words, 'was' is a completely different word as 'saw'. It also has a big importance to the meaning of the sentences. The main things in this phase are the visual-spatial aspects.
In this phase it is about sound/sign-connections, the relationship between written characters and groups of characters at one side and at the other side the associated sounds. When a child is able to do this, it can read spelling.
The building up of knowledge of regularities in the written language is important (orthographic knowledge). By this, words can be recognized quick and effective. The knowledge in this can be augment by reading a lot.
Source: 'Natuur en Techniek' no. 2 1991 (changed)
Last update: May 16, 1999
Margriet Zuidhof en Erna Oudman