Your School-Aged Child Begins to Read
By the End of Kindergarten, Your Child Will Be Expected to:
- Recognize and name all upper- and lowercase letters in the alphabet
- Read basic single-syllable words
- With prompting and support, identify the main topic in a text
- Retell familiar stories
By the End of First Grade, Your Child Will Be Expected to:
- Recognize the distinguishing parts of a sentence including capitalization and punctuation
- Pronounce unfamiliar but commonly spelled one-syllable words
- Read words with inflectional endings (-ing, -ly, -ed, -tion)
- Identify the main idea of a text
By the End of Second Grade, Your Child Will Be Expected to:
- Pronounce unfamiliar two-syllable words
- Recount stories and say what the lesson or moral is
- Identify the beginning, middle, and end of a story
- Identify the points of view of different characters
Don’t Be Concerned if These Skills Develop Erratically, Unless Your Child:
- Has trouble remembering new words
- Has trouble blending sounds together to say words
- Says reading is easier for their classmates
- Avoids reading silently or aloud
Reading at School
Decades of research support the fact that parental involvement in a child’s school learning will promote that child’s success. If you have access to the material your child is reading at school, make time to read it yourself. You can show how important reading for school is by participating in it with your child. By staying on top of your child’s school reading, you can avoid the perennial non-conversation: “How was school?” “Fine.”
Instead, ask about the book Frog and Toad, “Are Frog and Toad good friends? How do they show that?” and “Do you have a friend who you’d like to have adventures with like Frog and Toad? How is that person a good friend?”
Reading at Home
What part of reading development can you help with most at home? Reading volume. A 1998 study published by the American Psychological Association links reading volume directly with both advancing a student’s reading skills and with that child’s future academic success.
The key to increasing your child’s reading volume is motivation. Choose books that match your child’s interest. Or, explore reading with other media your child loves. Is she a fan of princesses? There is a world of online fairy tales for her to explore. Kids who love superheroes can enjoy easy-reader comic books. Don’t be too picky about what your child reads at this age. Captain Underpants may be more meaningful than Little House on the Prairie — and that’s fine!
Finally, celebrate the fact that you still have a great deal of influence over what your child reads. In a survey commissioned by Scholastic, 81% of kids ages 5-8 say that their mom is a source of information for good books.
Reading Activities for Ages 6-7
At 6-7, many children are interested in chapter books that are a bit more challenging than they can handle on their own. Let your child pick a book she would love to read and take turns reading paragraphs or pages to each other. If your child gets tired of reading, you can always read aloud as she follows along. You’ll enjoy talking about the characters and plot of the story that you are experiencing together.
Shopping with kids can feel like a chore. But if your child feels like he is contributing to a team effort, you may be surprised by his change in attitude. Ask your child to help you create a shopping list. Then, at the store, ask him to cross off each item as it is put in the cart.
As your child’s writing skills increase, consider keeping a double diary with her. You can write her a special note every day or every week, and she can write a note to you as well.
Make reading rewarding by asking for your child’s ideas and opinions about his books. You can even help your child create a video “book talk” about a favorite book. Just turn on the camera, and ask him to say the title and author and to describe the story. Then, ask him to explain what he did and didn’t like about the book. When he doesn’t know what to say, ask him a question like, “What was your favorite part?” or “What could the characters do if the story kept going?” Grandparents, aunts, and uncles will treasure this video keepsake.
Online Literacy for Ages 6-7
Many of the same technology options that preschoolers love are just as appropriate for children up to third grade. However, as children begin to develop basic reading skills, additional options open to them.
As soon as your child is old enough to write, he is also old enough to peck out letters on a keyboard. These activities will both amuse your child and also educate him on how to use a word processing program:
- Ask him to type his name and other words or phrases he enjoys. He can write “thank you” and “get well” notes, and illustrate them with family photos. Play with text font and size. Practice copying and pasting.
- Name and save documents together, and create and name files to put them in.
- Identify the different parts of the computer and the terms for point-and-click commands on commonly used programs.
- Open an email account for your child. Have her email grandparents, friends, or other people who are close to her, and help her open the emails that come to her.
You should be supervising your child whenever she is online. A child this young should not spend even a few minutes alone in front of an open Internet connection.
Digital Literacy Fun
To build your child’s reading skills, try these entertaining games, apps, and activities:
- Scholastic's kids' website is dedicated to books, reading, authors, and games.
- Scholastic's Book and Games Apps are based on popular characters and series that kids love. You might want to try The Magic School Bus: Dinosaurs or The Magic School Bus: On the Ocean Floor.
- Scribble Press (and the Scribble Press app on iTunes) is a multimedia creativity platform for creating, sharing and publishing stories.
- The well-regarded Starfall website has many activities for first and second graders, and your child might enjoy its short, very simple stories that emphasize different letter-sound combinations.
- PBS Kids Between the Lions provides vocabulary activities, games, and stories with some additional scaffolding (vocabulary words, for example) and captions that highlight each word as it is read.
- WordGirl, the companion website to the PBS Kids television show, offers entertaining games with vocabulary development. Kids will barely realize they are learning, they’ll be having so much fun!
- Zoodles is a “kid safe” zone which links to many popular games. You can download it, and it help contain your child’s web experience to safe sites only.
Recommended Books for Ages 6-7
Try sharing funny books (kids this age love a good laugh!) or classics that are perfect if your child is just beginning to sound out letters and words.