Assessing Your Child’s Early Reading Potential

Think your child may be getting ready to start reading? A child who gets a head start on reading has a greater chance of excelling in school, as well as a greater probability of finishing college, versus children who learn to read at a later age. There are a number of ways to assess your child’s readiness and their early reading potential.

Does He or She Pretend to Read?

One of the first things a child will do when they have reached an age where they’re ready to begin reading is to pretend to read their picture books. This is especially true if you spend a lot of time reading together.

Often children who are ready to begin developing early reading skills will sit and follow along with the words in a book with their finger, reciting the “story” out loud. Obviously, unless it’s a story they are intimately familiar with, the words won’t match what is actually written. But this is a great indicator that they are ready to learn their letters and start putting words together.

Recognition of Letters

Another great way to tell that your child is ready to start developing his early reading skills is by how often he recognizes letters of the alphabet without any prompting from you.

As children begin to grasp the concept of letters and words, they will often begin pointing out letters they recognize in their everyday life – on their cereal boxes, on signs on the street and in shop windows, and anywhere else they see them. When your child reaches this stage, it’s a good idea to start helping them to sound out the letters they see phonetically. This will further help to develop their early reading skills.

Other Signs of Early Reading Comprehension

Other signs that your child is beginning to develop his early reading skills include recognition of how a book works. Does your child understand when a book is upside-down that it should be turned over to be read?

Does he seem to recognize that pages are turned from front to back, and that when a book is closed the story is over? If the answers to these questions are “yes” then it is a good probability that your child is beginning to develop early reading skills, which can be easily built upon.

Another great way to assess whether or not your child’s early reading skills are developing is to pay attention to whether or not he’s showing an interest in pretending to write. Many children often play at writing the letters in their names long before their fingers can actually form the letters properly.

Another thing to take into account when assessing your child’s early reading potential is his attention span. A child who can’t sit through an entire reading of their favorite storybook is probably not yet ready to begin reading.

However, if your child repeatedly asks you to “read it again” when you finish a favorite story, that is also a good indicator that they’re ready to begin learning to read on their own.

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