4 Signs Your Child Is Ready to Read

Like many things in life, it can be hard to predict when a child’s brain will be ready to make the millions of connections required to actually read a word on her own.


To illustrate how difficult making this prediction can be, I like to compare it to guessing when your child would walk.  For months you watched her pull herself up to a standing position and helped her take steps while she held on to your hands.  Then one day, maybe unexpectedly, she took her first step on her own.   {A moment I am sure you will never forget!} Signs ready to read Just like your child showed signs that she was almost ready to start walking, she will also give clues that she is ready to begin reading.  Teachers call these “pre-reading skills” and they include:

  1. Motivation
  2. Print Awareness
  3. Letter Recognition
  4. Phonological Awareness

What do those funny terms mean in real world language? And how can you teach them to your kids? Read on.

Pages 1  2  3  4  5


About Malia Hollowell

Malia is a National Board Certified elementary teacher turned stay at home mama to three young kids {4.5, 3 and 1}. She earned her Bachelor’s and Master’s in Education {go Stanford!} and spent seven years teaching in a classroom. Since starting Playdough to Plato in 2012, her ideas have been featured in Parenting Magazine, Pinterest's Top Educational Pins and Kiwi Crate.


  1. What a great post – we are missing out on learning letter names instead going straight for phonics/letter sounds. It’s already starting to show an affect – J is 33 months old and he’s starting to sound out letters in words that he can see.

    We also use Alphablocks (a Cbeebies cartoon for preschoolers) activities online and watch the programme during quiet times which I think supports the letter sound recognition and he enjoys as they are quite fun

    • Yay! I love watching children learn to read. I haven’t heard about Alphablocks before but will definitely check it out now. Thank you for the recommendation, Cerys.

  2. My son will turn three in July and he has recently started reading beginner books. It is so exciting for us (and a little bittersweet seeing him grow up so fast)! I especially agree with the motivation aspect–I try to pay attention to what he’s interested in and run with it. There have been some things that he’s picked up early, and other things he’s done later.

    Thanks for the helpful links!

  3. reading readiness is a bit different in the waldorf school curriculum, which is where my daughter attends school. i think waldorf poses some interesting points about when kids are ready to read. this is an interesting post about reading from the waldorf-oriented blog, parenting passageway: http://theparentingpassageway.com/2010/03/21/regarding-waldorf-and-the-early-reader/

  4. Very good list. I taught my girls the letter names and sound at the same time though. They are 4 and 5 and sounding out words pretty well!

  5. Martine Bracke says:

    Please could you update the link of the video for the Print awarness or send it to me thanks.


  6. GREAT post, Malia! I am sharing this on my Facebook page and will be sure to direct readers to it when they’re wondering if their kids are ready to read.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>