4 Signs Your Child is Ready to Learn to Read

By Jessica Streit

Think you might have an early reader on your hands? Maybe you’d like to start teaching your child to read but aren’t quite sure if he or she is ready?

Children can be ready for reading as early as 3 years old but some may not be ready until they are closer to 7. That’s a wide range that could leave some parents worried if their child isn’t ready to read as early as another. Here’s 4 signs that your child is probably ready to read.

Letter Recognition 

Letter recognition means your child is able to name all letters, both upper and lower case. If they are still struggling with a couple of them, or maybe confusing the lowercase “b” and “d,” it could still be time for reading. Some kids take awhile to let go of the confusion, but it should not stop them from moving forward.

If your child still needs to learn 5 or more letters, then focus on those before you proceed with teaching him to read.

Letter-Sound Relationship (Phonics) 

Does your child have an understanding that each letter makes a sound and can she match the letter with it’s sound? This first step to phonics is a must have for reading. A child must know that letters make sounds and what sounds they make.

If your child still struggles with a couple of the sounds, don’t stress too much. As you begin teaching him how to read, the sounds will come quicker. However, don’t push for reading if your child only knows a handful of sounds. Focus on those for awhile before introducing anything further.

Word Recognition 

Is your child able to recognize common words throughout their day? Does he know that STOP is stop? Is she able to read her own name? If your child is recognizes words as you drive around town, there’s a good chance she is ready to proceed with reading instruction.


Does your child enjoy reading time with you? Is he or she asking you what words say? Does he want to know how to read? If your child appears to be motivated to read and actually enjoys doing it with you, then that’s a sure sign that it’s time to introduce the next step in learning how to read.

If your child recognizes letters, can name their sounds, knows how to read their own name and is asking you how to read then I would say it is time to introduce a few easy-to-read books into their life. I love starting out with Bob Books. I have used them in my classroom and while teaching my own children to read.

If your child is still working on the above skills there’s no need to worry. Keep reading to him as much as possible. Point out words during your day and ask him to find you specific letters. Play games that encourage letter recognition like Alphabet Bingo or one of the great products from LeapFrog. It won’t be long until he or she is ready to read on their own!

Jessica Streit is an educator, freelance writer and single mom of 2 boys. Her writing can be found on a variety of topics including personal finance, education and parenting. She blogs about overcoming debt and living a royal life on a budget at The Debt Princess.