About Emergent Readers

Emergent readers have a good understanding of the alphabet and early phonics that help them decode unknown words. They are developing comprehension skills and word-attack strategies, and are comfortable with a significant number of high-frequency words. Emergent readers are more flexible in their ability to handle varied placement of text on a page and understand most punctuation. They’re also able to recognize that reading has a variety of purposes and reading different kinds of books is enjoyable for distinct reasons. Readers at the Emergent level are able to understand a wider range of punctuation and can read dialogue, reflecting the meaning through their phrasing. They’re also able to recognize and understand inflectional endings, like s and ing, and the effect those endings have on root words.

The guided reading Emergent reader category includes Levels D-E. Readers at this level benefit from reading both fiction and nonfiction/informational books. Reading nonfiction helps young students develop background knowledge, which increases their comprehension ability by enabling them to make sense of new ideas. Additionally, informational texts have the potential to motivate students to read more by tapping into their personal interests. MaryRuth Books offers many fiction and nonfiction/informational leveled readers, suggested and used by Reading Recovery® and Guided Reading educators, when teaching Emergent readers.

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.