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. That is, literacy development milestones are helpful to keep in mind, but may differ from one child to another. This guide will help you know if your child is on the right track to developing important skills like reading comprehension, recounting stories, and reading fluency.
Speak to your child's teacher if you have questions or concerns about the development of their reading skills.
Here’s what your child may be able to do by the end of kindergarten, first grade, and second grade.
Skills By the End of Kindergarten
- Recognize and name all upper- and lowercase letters in the alphabet
- Read basic single-syllable words
- Identify the main topic in a text with prompting and support
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
Skills By the End of First Grade
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)
Skills By the End of Second Grade
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 manageable and enjoyable for them. You can get tips for selecting just-right books in this reading guide for ages 6-7.
“Sometimes kids resist reading at home because the books are too hard,” says Marissa Fraser, an elementary school teacher in Danbury, Conn.
For instance, you may be eager to read the Harry Potter series with your seven-year-old, but the magical crystals and wizards in the Dragon Masters series may be a better place to start the family’s foray into fantasy.