Transitional Stage

Page history last edited by PBworks 16 years, 7 months ago

Jeanice Lewis






Stage in Development

Characteristics of Transitional Stage

Possible Sequence of Instruction




Stage in Development


Transitional readers and spellers move into the within word pattern spelling stage where single letter-sound units are consolidated into patterns or larger chunks and other spelling regularities are internalized (Bear, Invernizzi, Templeton, Johnston, 2004). In this stage, students begin to make meaning of the English Orthography through patterns (Bear, Invernizzi, Templeton, Johnston, 2004).


Characterists of Transitional Stage


Transitional readers can be found in grades 1 through 4; these students read and write with increasing Fluency and expression compared with the disfluent reading of beginning readers (Bear, Invernizzi, Templeton, Johnston, 2004). Students at this stage begin to approach reading 100 words per minute (Bear, 1992; Bear & Cathey, 1989).


Readers and writers in the transitional stage of literacy development are just getting off the ground, and they are flying low with very modest fluency in easy chapter books. They write several paragraphs and begin writing multifaceted pieces, such as stories that are continuing adventures, plays, or informational books on one topic (Bear, Tempelton; 1998). Students in this stage experiment with how they can spell long vowel patterns; students rely on inventive spelling (Bear, Tempelton; 1998). Children also experiment with complex vowel digraph patterns as in sound, bought, and crawl, and they learn to spell most consonant blends and digraphs conventionally.


1. "There are many more vowel sounds than there are

letters to represent them. Each designated vowel,

and y, is pressed into service to represent more

more than one sound. Listen to the sound of a

in these words: hat, car, war, saw, father, play.

To spell the variety of sounds, vowels are often

paired; or a second vowel or consonant is used to

mark or signal a particular sound. The silent -e in

ride, the y in play, and the w in snow are examples

of silent vowel markers"(Bear, Invernizzi, Templeton, Johnston, 2004).

2. "Not only are there more vowel sounds than vowels, many

of those sounds are spelled a number of different of different ways.

Some of these long-vowel patterns are

more frequent or common than others"(Bear, Invernizzi, Templeton, Johnston, 2004).

3. "In addition to short and long vowels, there are many more

vowel sounds, all of which are spelled with a variety of

patterns. These include r-influenced vowels (car, sir,

earn), diphthongs(brown, cloud, boil, toy), and other

ambiguous vowels that are neither long nor short (caught,

chalk, good, straw, thought). These vowel patterns involve

either a second vowel or the vowel is influenced by a letter

that has some vowel-like qualities"(Bear, Invernizzi, Templeton, Johnston, 2004).




Students in the within word pattern or transitional stage use but confuse vowel patterns, for example; students no longer spell boat as BOT, but as BOTE, BOWT, or even BOAT as they experiment with possible patterns for the long -o sound(Bear, Invernizzi, Templeton, Johnston, 2004).




Possible Sequence (Vowel Patterns)


Long vowels (and some vowels that are neither long nor short)

face, paid, feet, like, boot


R-controlled Vowels

car, fare, fear, girl


Complex Consonant Clusters

shr, thr, squ, gn, kn


Diphthongs and Other Vowels

boy, boil, float, hawk


Complex Consonants and Vowel Patterns

hard/soft c(cent, cut), hard/soft g, (gym,goat)







Most transitional readers are found in second, third and beginning fourth grade classrooms, but 25% of the adult population in the United States is stunted at this point of literacy proficiency (Bear, Invernizzi, Templeton, Johnston, 2004). Many students who progress no further than the transitional stage revert to beginning behaviors as their knowledge atrophies (Bear, Invernizzi, Templeton, Johnston, 2004). Lots of experience in reading and writing is crucial durin this stage; reading for 25 to 30 minutes each day in instructional and independent level materials has to occur to propel them to the next stage (Bear, Invernizzi, Templeton, Johnston, 2004). Adults as well as young children can benefit in this stage from word study activities.








Bear, D.R., Templeton, S. (1998). Explorations in developmental spelling: Foundations for learning and teaching phonics, spelling, and vocabulary The Reading Teacher 52 (3),222-242.


Bear, D. R., Invernizzi, M., Templeton, S., & Johnston, F. (2004). Words their way: Word study for phonics, vocabulary, and spelling instruction (3rd ed.). Upper Saddler River, NJ: Pearson Prentice Hall.


Hudson, R., Lane, H., & Pullen, P. (2005). Reading fluency assessment and instruction:What, why, and how?The Reading Teacher. 58(8), pp.702-715.


External Links


Literacy More information about literacy

Questions Teachers Ask About Spellling Information about the stages of spelling

Within Word Pattern Stage of Spelling Development Spelling Development Chart

Literacy Transistion for Language Learners Information about the transitional stage with language learners

http://www.fcrr.org This site gives information about reading research that is implemented in the state of Florida





Commentary by Sara Sewell


Jeanice, I think adding a sequence of study to your page was a great idea. It is a quick overview for a teacher to use as a starting point for instruction. I saw a few things that could improve you page. First, you should make sure to add quotation marks around the quotes from boxes 1, 2, and 3, since they are direct quotes from the text. In box 2 there are some repeated words to delete. "Not only are there more vowel sounds than vowels, many of those sounds are spelled a number of differnt of different ways." I also saw a reference on your list that is not cited anywhere in the text. Hudson, R., Lane, H., & Pullen, P. (2005). Reading fluency assessment and instruction:What, why, and how?The Reading Teacher. 58(8), pp.702-715. Lastly, you may want to add the information found on page 15 of ''Words Their Way'' that lets the teacher know this stage may take longer than others because of the complexity of the English Orthographic system. I hope these suggestions help.

Commentary by Amanda Hatten

Hi there! I am really impressed with your layout. The only thing I would like to see added would be a little blurb about each of your external links, what you thought was significant about each or how you would use the information from each link. Also, perhaps add info about who came up with spelling stages and how they influence instruction. :)

Commentary by Stacee Jennings

Jeanice, you did an excellent job boiling down the research of the transitional stage. There is only one suggestion I have in addition to the comments above. In the first paragraph, you can link to Paul Stewart's page on Orthography by capitalizing the "O." This would give the reader a more detailed explanation. Great job!

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