When Do Children Learn To Read?

If you are wondering about this question, then you are most likely getting your child ready for school or preschool. Reading is an important milestone in a child’s life. It builds healthy foundations for learning, and encourages readiness to start school. You want to give your child the best start possible, and learning to read is most often at the top of the list. Learn what age kids learn to read, examples of readiness for reading, some issues you might notice, and what you can do to help them.

When Do Kids Learn To Read?

Kids begin to read on average around 6 or 7 years old. There have been kids who read as young as 4 to 5 years old, but this is not common. Once all kids reach first grade, they all tend to be on the same reading level.

It is good for kids to go into school with basic reading abilities, and if your child attends Kindergarten, beginning reading is one focus of curriculum. One thing it is good for children around the age of 5 to know is some word recognition. Teachers are highly trained to spot issues with reading, and helping kids catch up.

Signs of Reading Readiness

Reading readiness can show up anywhere from the age of 2 to 5. Each child approaches readiness to read at their own pace. Some signs your child is ready to start reading include:

  • They follow print with their finger while you read out loud.
  • They can recite print from things like; food names, road signs, stores.
  • Can explain what is going on in a story you are reading them (comprehension).
  • Your child knows which way a book should be held (with words upright).
  • Lastly, they show you they want to learn to read.

Reading readiness tends to be a little earlier for children who attend preschool with a curriculum, or are homeschooled by a parent prior to entering first grade.

What Are Some Common Issues With Learning to Read?

There may be signs of difficulty that show up as early as preschool that may make you ask a teacher or doctor, “when do kids learn to read?” These difficulties may show up as:

Trouble identifying letters or sounds

 If your child is in later preschool or kindergarten, there may be an issue if they cannot recognize letters and the sounds they make. In Kindergarten, they may have trouble pronouncing words. They may also have a lower word recognition list than other kids their age.

Cannot recall stories or instructions

Reading trouble may show up in grade school or junior high with the inability to recall things they have read. They may also not be able to remember instructions given to them, cannot recall the facts of a story, and may have problems doing math problems.

Reading far below grade expectations

Your child may be reading considerably lower than their grade level. Early reading and word recognition can begin in the later preschool and kindergarten years. A kindergartner is expected to know at least 20 sight words, and a first grader should know at least 100 sight words. If your child is reading any less that these amounts, there may be an issue. 

For older kids not keeping up

If you are noticing issues with reading in an older child that has already started school, talk to your child’s teacher and/or pediatrician. They may need to evaluation your child for certain conditions that can block the ability to learn reading.

What Can Parents Do to Help with the Process?

When do kids learn to read? If you have a young child that has not yet entered school, here are some tips to encourage reading skills to get them ready:

  1. 1. Read to Your Child

From birth, it is very helpful to read to your child every day. This helps them develop a routine, listening skills, and promotes bonding between you and your child. 

  1. 2. Discuss What You’re Reading

After you close the book, talk to your child about what you just read. Ask easy questions about the book and encourage them to answer. See if they can tell you part of the story.

  1. 3. Play With Books

Take out a book and show it to your child. Have them hold the book right side up. Teach them how to turn pages. Explain the different parts like; cover, page, words, front, back.

  1. 4. Teach Reading in Daily Life

Talk to your child about things you are doing around the house, and what you are using. Say things like; “mommy is washing dishes, see the (brand name) dish soap?” Point out the brand names on their food, stop signs while driving, and the name of the grocery store (point to the sign as you arrive).

5. Sing Rhyming Songs

Another great way to promote reading readiness is with rhymes. Rhyming songs help kids with word sounds and associations. Stories in books that rhyme can speed learning to read as your child learns to recite the book from memory, and then is able to match up the words. 

  1. 6. Use Flashcards

 You can buy a set of picture flashcards or you can make them at home. Show your child pictures of easy things like: a picture of an apple with a large A and the name, a picture of a car with a large C and the name, or animals they are familiar with, or foods they eat.

  1. 7. Letter For Each Day

Have a set of flashcards and assign one picture/letter for each day of the week. When your child wakes up you can talk about the flashcard over breakfast. Throughout the day, show them the card and tell you what it is. Rotate letters each day, or use one for a few days if they need more time.

Hope the article answers your question of when do kids learn to read and ways to encourage reading readiness in your child.