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Reading Tips For Parents & Educators

Find expert reading strategies and useful tips to help introduce children to the wonderful world of reading on their own with I Can Read!

How to Identify the First Steps to Reading

Is your child ready to start reading on his or her own? Listening to them sound out their first words can be incredibly satisfying and exciting! But kids develop at all different rates, so knowing what signs to be on the lookout for can help make the learn-to-read experience a more enjoyable (and easier) one for you both.

Here are 5 signs that your child is getting ready to start reading on their own:

1. They know their ABCs

One of the first signs of pre-reading readiness is a child’s ability to recite the alphabet and recognize some, or all, of the letters when they see them in print. As they gear up to begin reading, they will also be able to match letters with their corresponding sounds and recognize a few words by sight.

2. They enjoy telling (and retelling) stories

A child’s imagination can be pretty impressive. When they begin recounting their days in more detail, making up stories on their own, and beginning to retell the stories you read in sequence, you’ll know they’re moving in the right direction!

3. They pretend to read books

Have you caught your toddler or preschooler sitting quietly, paging through their books or pretending to read aloud, often with startling accuracy? The ability to memorize, or recite, parts of books is a step towards reading readiness. Before they learn to read, children must also be able to know how a book is read. They should be able to identify the front and the back of the book and know which way is up and which way is upside down.

4. They can play simple word games

A child’s ability to play simple word games, such as naming words that begin with a certain letter or going around in a circle making rhymes are examples of skills that an emerging reader acquires. You can find a few suggestions for other simple word games here. 

5. They are interested!

Perhaps most importantly, when children are getting ready to read, they will have an interest in reading. They’ll be able to sit for 20 minutes or longer as you read aloud to them and enjoy holding the book themselves and turning the pages.

Sneaking reading and writing into your everyday life in an organic way can help your child build on their emerging skills. Do you have to run to the grocery store for something? Ask your child to grab a pen and paper and write down what you need to get. Sound out the word with them and have them write the letters as you go, to the best of their ability.

Learning to read can be fun. Playing games with your child, reading aloud with them frequently, and letting them go at their own pace are all effective ways to grow a lifelong reader.

If you are looking for tips to help encourage your emerging reader, check out our 100 Tips for Beginning Readers.