The best way to reach young readers, especially struggling students, is to understand what emergent literacy is as well as the cognitive science behind it. Once children start picking up language skills, they also develop abilities that will help them learn to read later on. The process of early childhood literacy starts in infancy, though some researchers believe it may begin before babies are born.
“We have evidence,” says Dr. Nell Duke, early education professor at the University of Michigan, “that even when children are in utero… there is a positive memory or association to that particular set of sounds” when their mothers read to them while they’re in the womb. These fundamental abilities that lead to reading later on are called pre-reading skills.