Reading is the key to unlocking a world of knowledge and opportunities. The earlier we start teaching kids to read, the more likely they are to succeed in school and later life. But what is the best age children learn to read? How old should your child be before you introduce them to reading?
Regardless of when you introduce your child to reading, it’s important that they have access to books and spend as much time with them as possible. The age your child can learn to read has a lot to do with their readiness as a learner. But there are some general rules when it comes to introducing your child to reading. Whether your child is 4 or 10, here are some tips on the best age to learn to read.
Make reading part of your child’s everyday routine
Reading should be a regular part of your child’s life. This will help your child understand that reading is a normal and natural part of everyday life. Naturally, children will be curious about the world around them. And the best way to satisfy that curiosity is through books.
When children’s curiosity is met with books, they learn to associate reading with fun and reward. In turn, they’re more likely to improve their reading and develop a lifelong love of reading. Reading should be a part of your child’s daily routine. Sit down with them and read a book before bedtime, before naptime, and any other time you can. There are also books and reading apps you can buy to go along with different age groups.
Best Age Children Learn to Read
Here is a chart on the best age children learn to read. This table will help you understand what reading skills you should be focusing on with your little one.
|Child Age||Reading Skill to Learn|
|6 to 12 Months Old||Introduce sounds and basic words|
|1-2 Years Old||Match Sounds with Letters/Words|
|2-3 Years Old||Recognizing letters & simple words|
|3-5 Years Old||Reading simple sentences & short books|
|5-6 Years Old||Reading on their own, picking favorite books|
|7-8 Years Old||Handling complex books & unfamiliar words|
|9-13 Years Old||Reading The Classics & harder books|
1) 6 to 12 months Old
Around 6 to 12 months, you can begin introducing your baby to the concept of reading by adding basic words and sounds to their vocabulary. This is a good time to start reading to your infant, because their language skills are just emerging. Babies are naturally drawn to black and white patterns, and bold, colorful pictures. This is a great time to add some classic children’s books to your home library like Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See?, Pat the Bunny, and others.
Black and White flashcards are also useful for this as well.
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You can also try reading books that have bold and colorful pictures. If you see your baby is interested in the book you’re reading to them, try using their hands to make sounds with the words. You can also try to get them excited by tapping the page with their hands or feet to interact with the book.
2) 1-2 Years Old
Around this age, your child’s language development will have progressed enough for them to learn the phonetic sounds that represent letters and words. At this stage, it’s a great time to start reading with your toddler. To start, you can try reading books that have a single, short sentence per page. Look for books with large, colourful pictures and few or no words.
When you read to your toddler, try to mimic the sound of the words in the book. If you’re reading a book with one word per page, try to say the word in a way that rhymes with the word in the book. You can also try to get your child excited by making animal noises along with the words in the book.
3) 2-3 Years Old
Around 2 or 3 years old, your child will likely develop a love of reading. Most toddlers will enjoy reading books with a few words per page. As they begin to understand the connection between the letters on the page and the sounds they make, they’ll enjoy reading books with more words per page. Most toddlers will enjoy books with bold and colourful pictures, as well as rhyming books.
When reading to your child, you can do more than just read the words on the page. You can add silly voices to the characters and make other sounds from the story. If a cow moos in the book, for instance, try to make the same kind of noise with your voice. This will help your child understand that reading isn’t just about the words on the page, but also about the sounds those words make. Plus, it will help them become more engaged in the story.
4) 3-5 Years Old
During these years, your child will be transitioning from learning to read to actually reading. During this time, you can encourage them to read as often as possible with books they can easily read. Most 3- and 4-year-olds will be ready to read simple books with a few sentences per page. They may find reading more enjoyable with a friend.
Reading with another child can help them feel more comfortable with reading. It can also help them improve their reading skills. You can try to get your child excited about reading by letting them choose the type of books they want to read. You can also try to make reading more fun by making it into a game.
5) 5-6 Years Old
Around the age of 5 or 6, your child may be ready to read on their own. If you’ve been helping them read, it’s important to start to transition them away from your assistance. But don’t make reading into a competitive sport. Instead, try to encourage your child to read for their own pleasure.
You may want to encourage them to read their favourite book over and over again. This will help them retain what they’ve learned and make reading more enjoyable. You can also help your child make reading a more enjoyable experience by choosing books with topics they’re interested in.
6) 7-8 Years Old
During this time, your child will likely transition from reading easy books to reading longer and more complex books. They may also be ready to learn to read words they don’t know. If they’ve had access to books and spent lots of time reading, they’ll likely be ready.
You can help your child learn to read words they don’t know by breaking down the word into parts. For instance, if your child encounters a word like “bicycle,” you can start by breaking it down into “bi” and “cy” and then telling them to sound out “bicycle” as “bi” plus “cy” equals “bicycle”. You can also try to get them excited about reading and books by making reading into a competition.
7) 9-13 Years Old
During these years, your child may be ready to read harder books and classics. If your child has been reading since they were a young child, they’re likely ready to start reading books that are more complex and advanced.
Make sure your child has access to books that are appropriate for their age and reading level. You can also try to make reading more fun by reading with your child. This will help them enjoy reading more and help them progress faster with their reading skills.
Which stage is Your Child At?
At the end of the day, the best age to start reading with your child is when they’re ready. The best way to find out is to try reading with them and see how they respond. If they’re interested in what you have to say, then you should start reading to them as soon as possible.
You can read with your child as often as you’d like, as long as they’re enjoying it. The earlier you start reading to your child, the more likely they are to become lifelong readers. Reading will help your child become more engaged with the world around them. It can also help improve their critical thinking skills and comprehension.
Checkout our other posts on book lists, like The Best Books for Kindergarteners.