Young emergent readers often regard print as a prop for retelling a memorized story (Clay, 1967). This early form of reading has been referred to as pretend-reading or emergent storybook reading (Sulzby, 1985). Although many emerging readers can match their spoken rendition of a memorized story to the pages of a book, they are often unable to match their retellings to the print on the page. Mason (1982) believes children begin reading by recognizing the entire context of print but not print itself. This may explain Clay's (1967) early findings that children match print with the page, usually a page that includes a picture, rather than matching spoken words with the print on the page. In a second stage, Mason (1982) finds that children can recognize individual words or fingerpoint to words in the context of a memorized book, but are unable to generalize their print recognition ability to another context outside the covers of the memorized book. This more advanced type of pretend-reading involves pointing to the words as the text is recited verbatim from memory, or fingerpoint-reading. Several researchers and practitioners assert that helping children make the transition from the pretend-reading stage to the fingerpoint-reading stage is a very effective way of moving children into reading (Clay, 1979; Mason, Kerr, Sinha and McCormick, 1990, Holdaway, 1979).
Reutzel, D. R. (1995). Fingerpoint-Reading and Beyond: Learning About Print Strategies (LAPS). Reading Horizons, 35 (4). Retrieved from http://scholarworks.wmich.edu/reading_horizons/vol35/iss4/4