Important Reading Milestones to Look Forward to From Ages 6 to 7

Here's what to expect, plus the tips that will help you raise an avid reader during these formative years.
By Zoë Kashner and Megan Zander
Jul 13, 2019



Important Reading Milestones to Look Forward to From Ages 6 to 7

Jul 13, 2019

Reading is one of the most important skills children learn in early elementary school, but every child learns how to do it in their own way and at their own pace. Some kids love to talk about what they’re reading in school and can’t wait to test their new skills when it’s time for a bedtime story. Others are more tight-lipped about what they’re reading in school or reluctant to practice reading at home. 

This guide will help you know if your child is on the right track, and give you helpful ideas for boosting those reading skills. To start, here’s what to expect during these ages! 

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

  • write simple stories using pictures and words

  • read their own writing back to you (even if they have some misspellings) 

  • write a letter for every sound they hear in a word

  • place spaces between words when writing

  • use upper and lower case correctly when writing (these Write and Wipe books will help with that!)

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) 

By the end of second grade, your child will be learning how to (but not have mastery of)...

  • 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

  • learning to summarize stories with important facts only, as opposed to retelling the whole story 

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

If your child is struggling to read at home but you haven’t been informed of an issue at school, check to see if the books they’re reading with you are at the correct reading level. “Sometimes kids resist reading at home because the books are too hard,” says Marissa Fraser, an elementary school teacher in Danbury, Conn. Dad may be eager to read the Harry Potter series with your six-year-old, but perhaps the magical crystals and wizards in the Dragon Masters series are a better place to start the family’s foray into fantasy. 

If an older sibling is reading a series they’re interested in but not ready for, see if there’s an easier option for your new reader to start with. Some characters, like Pete the Cat, have phonics sets for beginner readers to try before diving into the actual Pete the Cat books. (For more on what to expect during these years, read our full guides for kindergarten, first grade, and second grade!) 

Books Just Right for Your Early Reader

Make Reading Social and Relaxed

The best thing you can do to raise an avid reader? Promote reading as a joyful hobby, rather than a chore. As tempting as it may be to set a timer to make sure your child reads for a certain amount of time each day, that type of strategy may actually be hindering their progress and love of reading. “Forcing reading in that way doesn’t help,” says Fraser. “It’s best to foster the joy by giving them opportunities to read in various ways.” That might involve giving them less academic books and more texts just to read “for fun,” like comic books and graphic novels

You can make reading more fun and laidback for your child by turning it into a family activity. Read over a video call with Grandma, sit down for story time with a friendly neighbor, or read the family dog a chapter or two from the Puppy Pirate books together. (The best part about reading to pets — they still lick you even if you mispronounce a word or two!)

Encouraging kids to make books a part of their social life can also turn them into lifelong readers. Give your child and their best friend the Ivy and Bean Secret Treasure Box or Captain Underpants #1-5 Full Color Pack so they can talk about how their friendship is just like that of the BFFs in the books. 


Great Reads for Kids to Share With Family and Friends

Find Books That Celebrate Their Interests

Kids are more likely to read what they’re into, so don’t be afraid to experiment with different genres to nail down what they love at this moment in time. Got a kid who loves to laugh and goof off? Check out this collection of books with silly storylines that’s sure to give them the giggles. Or if your child is obsessed with stuffed animals, pair a book with a plush they can read with, like this Narwhal and Jelly pack.

Remember — their favorite read right now doesn’t have to be an award-winning classic. It doesn’t matter if they’d rather read about Pikachu in Pokemon: Aloha Reader #5 over anything else. They’ll still be reading, and in our book, that’s the most important thing of all.

Books for Everything They Love

Guides to Reading
Age 7
Age 6