Reading-skill development in Sounds of Language has the characteristic wholeness that infuses the total program.
Reading-skill activities are not fragmented, isolated, or separated. The reading-skill program in Sounds of Language is inherent in the method that we use in dealing with the language experiences inherent in the program. From the moment a child first tunes his ear to the sound of a sentence or a poem or a story, he is embarking on a continuous course of skill development that kindles awareness of language and how it works. As he becomes aware of language as man’s most practical tool, he actually is becoming aware of the ways that he can deal with language.
In other words, the child is developing linguistic skills both through insight and practice.
The chronological listing of reading skills that follows does not assume that the skills stand out in separateness or that they occur in any particular order. Who is to know, for example, which and how many of the reading skills are at play when a child is listening to you read aloud? Certainly he is engaging in the skill of tuning his ear to language at various times during the reading, but it is quite possible that he may tune you out and stop listening altogether at other times when he becomes preoccupied with a thread of meaning or with the structure of an enticing sentence or with the analysis of a beckoning word. In each of these cases, he would be developing and using reading skills in a sequence that has significance for him.
Moreover, as you become comfortable with this view of skill development and this way of working with children, you will find yourself able to sensitively observe skill development even when you and the children are not overtly engaged in skill building per se.
We, therefore, assume, in listing these reading skills and in annotating them in the pupil book that you will maintain linguistic and human wholeness as you implement the skill building activities, knowing that the bona fide continuity of skills is found in the composite interrelation and interactions of you, the children and the book.
The only continuity of skill development that is practical is the continuity a child himself selects out of the abundant possibilities that are offered on every page of this program.