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Teaching your child to read can be a fun and exciting process! One of the best ways to make sure it’s enjoyable, though, is to be sure he or she is ready to learn to read. Some children are ready at younger ages, and others need a little longer. The age at which a child learns to read isn’t nearly as important as waiting to be sure that child is ready to begin the process. If you try to start too early, it will be frustrating for both of you! If you wait until the time is right, it can be an enjoyable and rewarding experience for both of you!
Below you’ll find some tips to help you determine if your child is ready to learn to read. If he or she exhibits most of the signs on the list, it’s very possible that he/she is ready to get started!
If your child…
1. recognizes letters and understands that each letter has a sound
2. understands that the words on the page (not the pictures) are read to tell the story
3. can tell a story in her own words. For example, if she can retell a familiar fairy tale in her own words from memory.
4. can sit for a short period of time (about 10 to 15 minutes) and pay attention
5. enjoys listening to stories and/or having an adult or older sibling read out loud to him
6. can answer simple questions after listening to a story being read aloud
7. understands that books are read from front to back and left to right
8. can identify or tell rhyming words
9. pretends to read
10. asks, “What does that sign say?” or asks what particular sentences or words in a book say
…then he or she is probably ready to begin learning to read.
Just keep in mind that, if you begin teaching your child to read and determine that he or she just isn’t quite ready, it is perfectly fine to put it away for a few weeks or months and try again later. Some children simply need more time and maturity before learning to read. Some children (especially boys) just aren’t interested in learning to read at age 5 or even 6 or 7. If you try to force him to learn to read before he’s interested, it may cause great frustration for both of you! It’s probably not worth it! Just give him time to mature and develop an interest in learning to read for himself. I know some moms whose boys (or even girls) were 10 or 11 before learning to read. (When those children finally did learn to read, though, they all became proficient readers quickly! It was all about waiting until the time was right!) It’s ok. Try not to feel discouraged. He will learn when he’s ready!
Do you have tips for knowing how to tell if a child is ready to learn to read? If so, please share them with us in the comments!