Reading Readiness: It Is Different For Every Child?

Reading readiness is defined as the point at which a child is truly ready to learn how to read. While learning oral language comes naturally to humans, learning to read does not. We must be taught how to read.

Keep in mind that every child is different. Reading readiness varies greatly from one person to the next, and one teaching method may not work for every child. What worked for Johnny may not work for Steve, and what works for Steve may not work for Amy.

There is no set age at which all children are ready, either. Do not worry if your child seems to be a bit of a late bloomer. Just support him as much as you can and try to nurture his reading readiness.

How Do I Know If My Child Is Ready To Read?

Of course, since the stages of reading readiness can progress at such different rates among individuals, there are no rules written in stone. However, there are some standard questions you can keep in mind when you are watching your child for signs of readiness:

  • Does he know what letters look like?
  • Can she detect a pattern within a story? Try this. Tell her, "My favorite color is pink. My favorite fruit is an apple. My favorite drink is apple juice." If she responds, "My favorite show is Spongebob," then she understood there was a pattern, but if she responds, "The dog is silly," then she was unable to notice the pattern.
  • Does he speak in complete sentences?
  • Does she seem interested in being able to read? For example, does she point to road signs and ask you what they say?
  • Can he discern between pictures and printed words?
  • Does she have the ability to pick up a book and open it the right way on her own?
  • Does he have a clear memory? For example, can he later remember what he saw yesterday? How about last week?

How Can I Help My Child To Reach Reading Readiness?

You can begin helping your child to learn to read as early as you would like. When your child is just an infant, talk and sing to him as often as possible. Make sure you encourage his vocal noises as he tries to learn how to talk. Also make sure your baby has a lot of board books and cloth books. Allowing your infant to try to "read" his books by himself can help encourage important motor skills associated with the physical aspects of reading, like flipping through the pages and focusing on the images on each page.

Once your child has grown into a toddler, the possibilities for encouraging reading readiness are endless. It is absolutely crucial that you read to your child as often as you can keep her attention, and make it fun for her! Use silly voices for different characters. Get her involved in the story by asking her questions, like inquiring if she can point out certain pictures on the page.

Make reading into a fun game, and your children will absolutely love it. Here are just a few entertaining ideas that will teach your children to have a lifelong love of learning and knowledge:

  • Put 3 or 4 toys that begin with the same letter on the floor. Add another toy—but this time it should be one that doesn't begin with that letter. Ask your child to name each toy, as well as pick out the one that doesn't belong.
  • Draw charts with pictures of items that begin with each letter of the alphabet, and have your children help you. Encourage your children to help you gather items for a scrapbook with images of objects that begin with all the letters. Make it into a long treasure hunt, and allow your children to feel a sense of accomplishment as they begin to pick out the right items.
  • Introduce your children to the world of poetry by reading books with nursery rhymes. Explain to them how each line rhymes with the next. Once they begin to understand the concept, start saying a word to your child and asking him to come up with a rhyming word.

By playing fun and educational games like these, you can help your child achieve reading readiness at the youngest age possible. This means that you can give your child the greatest gift she will ever receive: she will learn to enjoy learning itself, and she will embark upon the journey of life with an unquenchable thirst for knowledge.


Michael Levy has published more than 250 articles and books on learning and memory. Recently, he developed Reading Buddy 2.0 to teach children to learn to read English using a remarkably easy and effective syllabics method. Would you like a free copy of this innovative computer program to teach your child to read using this modern method? Claim your free copy of Reading Buddy 2.0.

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