Many parents often wonder when the appropriate age is for their child to learn to read. Some parents tend to become worried if they hear another child is learning to read more quickly than their own child but comparing one child to another is never a good idea, nor does it benefit your child. Every child learns to read at a different pace, just like being potty trained, learning to speak concise words, etc. The majority of children will learn to read between kindergarten and second grade, but many learn sounds and some words by the time they are in preschool. It’s important for someone close to the child to help them learn to read whether it be a parent, older sibling, nanny, teacher, grandparent, just to name a few. Though it is beneficial to start reading to children at a young age, there is a big difference between reading to a child and teaching him or her to read. The child needs to learn how to “decode” words written on the page.
There are several important stages a child must go through until they can fully read on their own. In preschool, children are in the “pre-reading stage,” which means they pretend to learn to read because they understand that books have meaning and that the jumbled letters are words that are meant to be read. They should know how to repeat stories that have been read to them on a regular basis – rhyming books are best for this stage of learning to read. At Jolly Fun House Playschools, we believe a child would be behind if they can’t read when entering kindergarten, as many of our students read at the pre-kindergarten level. Our educators believe the children should at the very least know their sounds and letters and be able to do some blending of letters to enter kindergarten and be in accordance with the majority of children in their class and also be able to advance to the next level of reading.
When the child is in first grade, he or she has entered the decoding stage and should be able to “decode” words by sounding them out and associate meaning with them. The child is not able to read all words at this next stage but should know enough to read books made for first grade reading level without too much difficulty and also be able to understand what is being read.
Overtime, the child will find it easier to read more advanced words and can focus on enjoying the meaning of what he or she is reading more than struggling to sound out each word. Encourage your child as they advance in reading and never put him or her down if it is taking them a little longer to excel. Every child learns at a slightly different pace and children thrive on positivity – So stay positive and encouraging!