About Emergent Readers

Emergent readers are just learning what books are and how they work, and are starting to understand that the purpose of writing is to convey a message or meaning. For emergent readers, both the pictures and text of a book work together to create meaning. This is a point at which young readers learn to use the sources of information (meaning, structure, and visual) found in text.

Learning directionality is critical at this stage, as it’s important to understand simply how to move across a page when reading and writing. Whether emergent readers are reading aloud to themselves or are being read aloud to, they should be able to demonstrate one-to-one matching of voice to printed text.

Students reading at this level are developing comprehension strategies and word-attack skills. They are more comfortable reading books with several lines of text on a page and less dependent on controlled, repetitive vocabulary.

emergent readersCharacteristics and Behaviors of Emergent Readers

  • One-to-one matching
  • Directionality of print
    • Return sweep to the left of the next line
    • Left page before right page
    • Left to right across a line
    • Top of the page to the bottom
    • Left to right across a word
  • Knowing a small core of high-frequency words that can be read fluently
  • Self-monitoring or checking themselves using high-frequency words
  • Rereading by returning to the beginning of the sentence
  • Checking a prediction at point of difficulty with the picture (cross-checking)
  • Rereading at point of difficulty
  • Using beginning sounds to articulate an unknown word

Shop Emergent Reading Texts at MaryRuth Books

Texts from MaryRuth Books are fun, relatable stories for children aimed at helping them practice and grow their skills as developing readers. We offer books at every guided reading level, so shop MaryRuth Books online to find the perfect texts for your emergent reader!


Fountas, Irene C. and Pinnell, Gay Su. Guided Reading- Good First Teaching for All Children. Heinemann, 1996.