Is your child ready to read?


As a former first grade teacher, I’ve had the privilege of teaching many, many kids how to read.  Getting to see the hard work pay off when the skills all come together and a child “gets it”  is one of the best feelings in the world!  It is one of the main reasons I loved my job as a teacher.

One thing I looked forward to after becoming a mom is hopefully having the opportunity to teach my child how to read. Well, recently, that day has come! My four year old has been very interested in books from a young age and knew her letters and sounds by two. Most of that was her doing, not mine! She just is one of those kids that catches on quickly. So, it didn’t surprise me when a few weeks ago I really noticed she was showing signs that she was ready. As a certified teacher with lots of training and experience, I know what those signs are. I have a few friends that have been asking me how to know if their child is ready to read, so here are a few things to watch for to know if your child is ready.

1. Your child can recognize all uppercase and lowercase letters with ease and know the sounds for each letter. This is the basic skill every child needs before truly learning to read. A few things to help in this: practice saying the alphabet {instead of singing}, practice identifying letters, learn a song of the alphabet that includes the sound of each letter {I just looked up one on iTunes named Letter Sounds by Barbara Milne and it sounds like a good one!}, and practice letter sounds. We invested in a few different Leap Frog Fridge Phonics sets- start with the single letter/sound and then progress to the one with multiple letters. I really think that is how Chloe learned her letters and sounds so quickly! She played with that every day for a long time!

2.  Your child can write most letters {either upper or lowercase}. Reading and writing go hand-in-hand. I’m seeing it so clearly with Chloe, just like I did with my students in the classroom. A few things to help in this: practice, practice, practice! Start easy- with something like their name, and then move through all of the letters of the alphabet. Their handwriting doesn’t have to be anywhere near perfect, but the skill of writing their letters will only help with recognizing letters when reading. Again, I turned to the Leap Frog Scribble and Write Pad for extra reinforcement.

3. Your child can sound out easy, three letter words without help. Start practicing with a word family, which is words that end with the same letters {i.e. cat, rat, bat, sat}. If they can sound out all of the words in that family, move to another set of words. If they can easily sound out these words, even if it takes a few tries, then they are more than likely ready to read! A few things to help in this: use a dry erase board to work with word families. Start with bat, then erase the b and but a c, and have your child sound out the word again. Have your child slowly say the three sounds, then have them say them faster, then faster until they blend to make the word.

This is not a comprehensive list to determine whether or not your child is ready to read, but it’s a start! One thing to remember, every child is different. Most children learn to read at age five or six, so don’t worry when your four year old isn’t ready! It will only frustrate you and your child if you try to teach them to read before they are ready and before they have mastered the skills above. Just keep working on letters and sounds and, of course, read to them as often as you can! The pre-reading skills they develop just by hearing you read a book aloud are the most important, and you can never start that too early!

When you determine that your child is ready to read, you’ll need a few things to get started. I’ll talk about that in my next post, so stay tuned!


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