The Development of Reading and Writing Skills – The Continuum

In this article, we share with you an infographic that was created within LUKILOKI professional development (PD) in-service training. In this infographic, the development of reading and writing skills in the Finnish context are illustrated as a continuum from the early pre-literacy skills to decoding and spelling skills and, further, towards the pragmatic use of the written language.

Although many of the subskills of reading and writing are practiced throughout the school path, many of these skills develop hierarchically: The pre-literacy skills form the basis for learning the written language. After learning accuracy in reading and spelling, these skills become more fluent as a result of practice. Further, proficiency in reading comprehension and productive writing builds on top of the skills that have been learned earlier.

The skills of spoken and written language develop reciprocally. In addition to the skills that develop hierarchically, the skills of multiliteracy, language awareness and multilinguistic competence begin to develop from the early childhood. Together these skills provide skills for lifelong literacy learning so that the learner is able to understand and interpret the texts and convey his or her message to others as well.

In instruction, it is important to pay attention to the individual variation in the rate of learning and the mastery of different skill areas. The teachers’ task is to identify individual phases of learning paths and support development based on the individual needs of the learner regardless of the grade or age level.

Illustration: Terese Bast