Parenting is full of exciting moments and milestones. Your child’s first step. Their first word. Potty training. Writing their name. Learning to read.
But all of these things have one thing in common. They won’t happen until your child is ready. You can’t force it, you just have to be patient and support your child as they get ready to learn each new skill and reach each new milestone.
So, if you have a young child at home, how do you know when they are ready to learn to read? Here are 7 telltale signs that they are ready!
1. They WANT to Learn to Read.
Trying to teach your child something that they have zero interest in isn’t much fun- for them or you. And the biggest sign that your child’s ready to read is that they want to!
Are they begging you to teach them? Do they constantly ask you what this word or that word says? Do they pretend to read their favorite books?
This is the number one sign that your child is ready- and having that internal motivation will help them learn more quickly.
2. They know their ABCs
And, I don’t just mean the song.
The first step in learning to read is knowing all of the letter names and sounds. That means your child should be able to identify by name both the uppercase and lowercase letters and know the most common sound for each.
The Complete ABC Learning Bundle is PERFECT for helping your child learn the letters!
3. They have print awareness.
Basically, that just means your child is aware of what is happening when someone reads.
They know how to hold a book the correct way, turn the pages in the correct direction, and understand that a reader is reading the printed words on the page.
It’s also an understanding of how you read the pages from top to bottom and from left to right. Getting into the habit of running your finger under the words as you read aloud is a great way to help your child learn this.
4. They can identify beginning (and middle and ending) sounds.
Being able to study a word and decode the sounds within it is an important pre-reading skill. This means being able to single out which sounds they hear at the beginning of words.
Even better if your child can identify all the sounds they hear in simple words like dog, cat, or pig.
5. They can identify words that rhyme.
Rhyming is another important pre-reading skill and is one of the major phonological awareness skills your child should have.
This can be practiced through stories, songs, pictures, and more. They should have a basic understanding of words that rhyme (cat-bat-hat) and those that don’t (cat-dog).
6. They are developmentally and emotionally ready to read.
Reading requires a lot of different skills to be used all at once, and if your child isn’t ready, you aren’t setting them up for success. Your child needs emotional maturity, fine motor skills, and visual and auditory discrimination skills in order to learn to read.
Most kids are developmentally ready somewhere between the ages of 4 and 7 years old- and starting at 4 doesn’t mean they will be a better reader than one that starts at 7!
7. They show listening comprehension.
This means that they can listen to stories and understand what they are hearing. Learning to read is more than just reading words, but reading whole sentences and books that come together to create a story.
If your child can retell a familiar story in her own words, or can answer simple questions about a story, then she’s mastered this step.
Remember, every child develops at their own pace. Reading early doesn’t guarantee your child will be an advanced reader, and reading late doesn’t mean your child will always be behind. You can’t rush readiness!
Don’t worry or stress if your child isn’t ready yet, just give them plenty of learning opportunities and practice throughout the day. And don’t forget to read aloud to your child every day!