Your 5 1/2-year-old: When reading starts

Your 5 1/2-year-old: When reading starts

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Your 5-year-old now

Reading is a skill that kids pick up at a surprisingly wide range of ages. Some precocious readers practically teach themselves at 4. Some kids don't put all the steps together until well into first or even second grade. Generally around age 5 is when most children start to put the pieces together and make the transition from pre-reading to actual reading.

It's too early to worry if your child is only beginning to learn to read or still has little interest or aptitude. Keep practice fun and low pressure. Some tips:

  • As you read aloud to your child, move your finger underneath the words so she can follow along.
  • Point to the relevant pictures as you read, too.
  • Choose simple beginner books to read aloud, such as the Dr. Seuss Beginner Books series or others with a limited vocabulary of simple words.
  • As your child learns to recognize a few "sight words" ("a," "the," "and"), pause as you read so that she can supply them.
  • Help her sound out other simple words syllable by syllable — "C-aaa-T".
  • Have lots of patience and don't rush her.

Your life now

If you haven't already, consider joining a local museum, planetarium, arts center, zoo, aquarium, or other family-friendly facility. These places make a great destination for family outings on weekends. Your child will love taking "field trips" to discover new things there. Many institutions host special events for members, day camps during school holidays, and birthday parties.

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