April 30, 2024

When do Kids Learn to Read?

When do Kids Learn to Read?

We're familiar with many renowned statements emphasizing the significance of reading. While the conceptual understanding is in place, as a parent, our heart brims with pride and joy when we see our children sit down with a book and flip its pages.

The reading experience has always been a part of every childhood. From the initial years when infants stare at colorful pages and are immersed in attractive pictures to the later years when children can become independent readers, the journey of reading for kids is fascinating.

Does it all happen automatically? Are there set ages and stages where kids read? When do kids learn to read? Can I, as a parent, do anything to help my kid’s reading? The answers are all available here.

Importance of Reading for Kids

The joys of the experience aside, there are numerous other benefits that reading can bring. You will notice how all of these become much more pronounced and important in children.

  • Vocabulary building: As children read more age-appropriate content, they start increasing the number of words they are familiar with, and find more effective ways of expressing themselves.
  • Academic performance: Now that your child can process, ideate and critically evaluate, they are more likely to be able to work with curriculum more successfully.
  • Better imagination: Every reader becomes a part of the story. Once involved in a unique landscape, era, or situation, children are capable of being more creative and imaginative.
  • Develop empathy: Every storyline has moments of reflection, understanding, and connection. The fact that there are conflicts, and twists in stories, combined with the multifarious characters that are present in every storyline helps children develop empathy. This helps them recognize emotions in themselves and others.
  • Increased concentration: Engaging narratives captivate children's attention for extended periods. This eventually helps them learn to focus and apply themselves for longer spells. The benefits of this can be seen in almost every facet of their daily activities.
  • More awareness: Reading helps children gain more awareness. This can be about life in general, the world around us, people and places or even values and morals.
  • Closer bonds: Reading for kids is something that parent and child engage in together, more so in the earlier years. This exclusive time allowed to both helps strengthen bonds and allows open conversation and discussion. Additionally, you will notice your child start to treasure the attention and love experienced during this time.
  • Heightened sociability: Stories and books help children learn how to deal with situations, communicate effectively and engage with different people. With a deeper understanding of the world, people, and emotions, children understand how to modify their behavior and interact with diverse people.

When Do Kids Start Reading?

Although we consider reading a skill, it is actually a journey in a child’s life. Children are priming themselves to read all the way from infancy until they finally become independent readers between the ages of 8 to 10. This is how a child typically progresses along this path. It is important to remember that kids’ reading speeds and abilities vary from one child to another. So, if you’re wondering at what age do kids learn to read, remember that it happens gradually and no two children are the same.

  • Up to Year 1: At this stage your child is just starting to befriend books, enjoying the experience of playing with the book like any other toy. You may find them consuming content by actually trying to chew on the book, but that’s absolutely normal. At this time, encouraging your child to bond with books is important. Pick colorful books, waterproof books and books with texture and sound to help them develop a stronger affinity with them. Reading for kids also helps them start to build familiarity with books and words.
  • 1-2 Years: As children graduate from cooing and babbling to making more intelligible sounds, it is time to introduce them to the wonder of vocabulary. Your child still won’t be able to read, but will keenly follow as you read to them. They are still most interested in the pictures and colors, so use these books to your advantage. Point at pictures and ask questions about what it is, or what it does. Encourage your child to turn the pages or run their finger along the words while you read them. Often, when you re-read books repetitively, your child may repeat the word or know what comes next. This is because they’ve memorized the script so well. Try it out as a fun exercise!
  • 3-4 Years: A preschooler has a lot better understanding of letters and words. They may be able to point out some simple letters in the text. They should be able to tell you what the parts of the book are as well. If the story is familiar to them, your child may also be able to explain the plot in their own simple way.
  • 5-6 Years: The doors of kindergarten bring a magical land of reading alive. As your child understands phonetic sounds and simple sight words, they will be able to identify random words on a page. Remember that your child still relies heavily on you to do the heavy lifting. Keep reading to and for them, so that your child is growing more familiar with the language and practice of reading. To make it more fun and meaningful, you can have a little quiz, or discussion, or act out the story once read.
  • 6-7 Years: Having made many leaps in their reading journey, your child’s reading skills now include reading simple words and blended sounds. They will start grappling with slightly more complicated ideas like the silent ‘e’, controlling vowels, and vowel teams. As part of the reading programs at school, your child may even bring home reading lists and suggested stories. Make sure you set aside some time to read with them and help bring relevance and relatability to their vocabulary by discussing the words and their meanings.
  • 8-10 Years: Reading now becomes more fluent for your elementary learner. By this time, most children can read age-appropriate content independently. Having built the ability to read on their own, your child may like to spend their time with a book alone. While this is an admirable stage to reach, encourage your child to spend some time reading with you so that you can work on difficult words and content.

How to Teach Kids to Read?

Learning how to read can take a lot of persistence and effort. While your child will find the necessary means and skills as they grow, several practices can help build reading skills and allow faster progress. You can:

  • Start Early: Remember that your baby is already familiar with your voice. It becomes easy for them to tune in and focus on what you are saying. Read to your infants, calling out names of objects and people. Point to them and discuss colors and shapes. This will help your baby understand concepts as well as language.
  • Mix it Up: Familiarity and repetition help cement ideas and learnings. Ensure you repeat books every so often so that your child has a grip on what is to come, and what words look and sound like. At the same time, bring some variety into the resources and books that you read. This not only keeps them more engaged but also helps them learn more. If possible, find books from around the world. This will help in teaching your child about different characters and cultures.
  • Be Consistent: Set up a reading routine so that you and your baby know that a certain time of day is blocked off for reading. This will help them even after they have become independent readers.
  • Be Patient: Some children who can read still prefer being read to and that’s alright. Your child may also want to choose very basic books although they can read much more complex content. Trust that they will grow and develop their reading skills nonetheless, and the experience will become more enjoyable for everyone.
  • Model It: The best habits are learned when children model their parents. If you are a reader, chances are that your baby will naturally pick up a book, having seen you do it yourself.

The Thoroughbred Reader

The question around ‘when do kids learn to read’ doesn’t matter as much as how much they enjoy the journey. Children learn at every given opportunity and you can create many more avenues for them. Raising superstar's Prodigy Surge is an incredible program that helps you find more intelligent, engaging ways to help your child learn to read and think like a Superstar. While you set the tone and pace for reading, your prodigy does the rest for you!

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