How do I know if my younger child is ready to read?

Children show reading readiness skills at many various ages.

Reading Readiness Signs for Young Children

I do not believe in pushing a child to learn to read at an early age—however some kids will show these signs on their own and I know many parents wonder what to look for and if their child is ready to read.

This is not an exclusive list, but in general these readiness signs should help you know whether it’s time to dive into learning to read with a younger child.  If your child shows these signs but is still resisting the actual process of learning to read, I believe s/he is not ready.  The desire also has to be there for a younger child.  Just continue to do pre-reading activities and games {many ideas are featured in my Tot School and Preschool posts}.

Pac Man did not show any signs any earlier than normal and learned to read in Kindergarten, as I expected him to.  Krash is showing readiness signs a bit earlier so we are plowing ahead, following his lead.  I have seen many children be ready while still 3 and many not learn until age 6…they all turned out OK {as long as no other special needs were present}.  Teaching Kindergarten {in an ESL school with a combined student body of high and low income families} gave me many opportunities to teach different types of children from various backgrounds.  Teaching reading was and still is one of my favorite things to do!


Some Reading Readiness signs…

  • Your child pretends to read books
  • Your child knows the sounds letters make {not just the names of the letters but the sounds they make {think: Leapfrog Letter Factory}
  • Your child notices environmental print—signs, TV show names, street signs, store names, cereal boxes, etc.
  • Your child knows where the words are on a page in a book
  • Your child knows that we read from left to right and can imitate this action as you read.
  • Your child can retell a story you read in his/her own words {showing the ability to comprehend and retell}
  • Your child holds book the proper way {not upside down or sideways}
  • Your child recognizes his/her own name and other familiar names or words {mom, dad, siblings, etc.}
  • Your child shows an interest in writing and pretends to write {or is already writing letters}
  • Your child understands rhyming words
  • Your child understands beginning sounds {ask-what sound do you hear at the beginning of the word “cat”?}
  • Your child is interested in learning to read!

As I said, this is not an exclusive list, and there is no magic formula.  You have to know your own child and time things right for your child. Use this list as a basis to explore.  There are many other blogs sites with similar information if you search reading readiness.

You can read more about learning to read here in my Behind the Scenes: How Do I Teach My Child to Read? post.