The Best Time to Teach Formal Reading to Young Children

By Scott Thompson
Reading to kids teaches them to read.
Reading to kids teaches them to read.

The best time to start teaching your child how to read depends on your child. The most typical age for a child to start reading is 6 or 7, but some children can read as early as age 4. You don't need rush your child's reading development if she isn't ready, according to a web page on Concordia University's website.

Love of Reading

A child who learns to read earlier will not necessarily love reading more or read at a higher level than a child who learns to read a little bit later. If your child sees you reading books or magazines he will learn that reading is important to you and he will want to learn how to do it. If you read books to your child frequently, she likely will learn to love storytelling and will look forward to being able to read her own books. From the ages 4 to 7, your child should start to show the signs of being ready to learn to read.

Prereading Stages

Children progress toward reading readiness in recognizable stages, according to a publication published on the University of Notre Dame website. At around the age of 18 months, most kids can say between five and 20 words. By about 2 years of age, vocabulary expands to as much as 300 words including pronouns. Children at this age will often have a favorite book and will pretend to read it. At age 3, most kids can speak simple sentences and write some letters. At 4 or 5 years of age, kids start to tell their own stories and can remember portions of stories they have heard. By about 5 years, kids can usually recognize their own names in written form.

Reading Readiness

Your child will let you know when she is ready to learn to read. If your child can correctly identify the first sound in common words such as ball or dog, she knows how to recognize phonemes or individual sounds. If he can name the letters used to represent phonemes, such as the letter D for the first sound in dog, he has the phonic skills needed to connect written words with spoken sounds. These are signs that your child is getting ready to start learning to read, according to the Concordia University web page.

Reading Together

When your child seems ready to start to learn to read, you can start by reading books together and helping her sound out each word so she can see how words are put together. Take her to the library with you and let her pick out her own books. Kids are usually much more excited about reading books they picked out themselves. Whether your child starts to read at age 4 or age 7, making it a fun and exciting activity is the key to a lifelong love of books and reading.

About the Author

Scott Thompson has been writing professionally since 1990, beginning with the "Pequawket Valley News." He is the author of nine published books on topics such as history, martial arts, poetry and fantasy fiction. His work has also appeared in "Talebones" magazine and the "Strange Pleasures" anthology.