Many parents wonder how to know when their child is ready to start reading. Because all children are different, there is no good answer to this question. Each child develops at her own pace. Some children will know all their letters and sounds by 18 months old, while other children aren’t ready or interested until age three or four. That’s okay.
Remember, learning to read is a very complex process. ABC See, Hear Do: Learn to Read 55 Words starts at the very beginning of this process. Your child won’t be able to read a picture book after mastering this book. But she will gain very important pre-reading skills that build the foundation for reading.
Is your child ready to begin the process? Here are some signs to look for that indicate your child may be ready for pre-reading skills:
*Symbol recognition: Your child starts to recognize that symbols stand for something else. For example, when he sees the big yellow arches, he knows it means McDonalds. This skill carries over to recognizing that letters are symbols that mean something when they are put together.
*Letter recognition: Your child starts to notice letters in the world around her. She may notice the first letter of her name. Or she may notice that there are letters on the side of a building.
*Can sing the ABC song: This is probably the most common song sung with American preschool children. If your child can remember the letters in the song, he is probably ready to remember letter sounds as well.
*Can mimic: If your child is able to copy sounds you make and actions you do with your hands, then she is ready to use ABC See, Hear, Do! She might not be ready to blend sounds together, but she can start learning the sounds letters make at a very young age.
*Interest: This is the key– the most important sign of all. If your child is interested and engaged in learning letter sounds, then go for it! If not, you can still surround him with books and letters and games. Just be sure not to pressure him or push the idea until he is interested.
Still not sure whether your child is ready for pre-reading skills? Why not give it a try? You’ll know pretty quickly if she is interested or not. And if she just isn’t ready yet, try again every couple weeks. Children grow and change quickly, and disinterest today doesn’t mean they won’t be engaged next month.