At What Age Should My Child be Reading?


I made a new mommy friend today: Sha, the mother of Eli, my youngest’s classmate in junior nursery. One of the first questions she asked was, “Are you enrolling your daughter in after-school classes for reading?” Such a perfect opening for my favourite topic, reading!

Sha says Eli doesn’t take their home reading lessons seriously. I told her that 3-year-olds aren’t really expected to read… My eldest didn’t read completely fluently until age 6.  But at 8, she had already read the complete Harry Potter series.  Because even as she was taught to read words, she was made to comprehend stories.The goal of all reading is comprehension.  So by the time she could read, she completely understood what she was reading.

At The Learning Library, parents are comforted when we tell them that children are developmentally primed to begin reading 3-letter words at age 5, and not earlier.  If your child learns to read early, good for you!  But each child has his or her own pace for learning how to decode words.  What you certainly can work on at any age is comprehension: keep reading to your child short, simple stories that they can understand. Choose stories you enjoy as well, so that you and your child will both have fun. Ask simple questions afterwards that teach them to understand what they read.  Comprehension takes practice, so read to your child often.  It’s the best bonding activity there is.

I’m going to share with Sha and Eli my youngest’s favourite read-alouds:  Goodnight Moon, Clifford the Big Red Dog, Mr.Gumpy’s Outing, The Wind Blew, Joseph had A Little Overcoat, The Little Red Hen, Regina’s Big Mistake, The Dot, the Maisy books, the Dora series, and anything by Eric Carle.  With these books, reading together is fun!

This article was written by reading enthusiast Vanessa Bicomong

What *Really* Makes Kids Good Readers

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“Children are made readers on the laps of their parents.”  – Emilie Buchwald

Caroline Snow and her associates at Harvard University did a long-term study on home factors affecting literacy. Here are the factors that encourage childhood reading, ranked in order of their effect:

L 1. Home “literacy” environment: books, newspapers, attitudes

2. Mother’s educational expectations of the child

3. Mother’s own education

4. Parent-child interaction

The father’s expectations and background apparently had little effect on reading, according to the study, but they were important in promoting the child’s development of writing skills.

Other researchers have found that fathers are better at actually helping their children read because they are less patient. When a child comes across an unfamiliar word, fathers are more likely to tell the child the word or tell her to skip it entirely. Dad’s approach keeps the story moving along.

— From “Raising a Reader,” by Paul Kropp