Your School-Aged Child Begins to Read

According to the International Reading Association, literacy skills help your child in every academic area, as well as with most life skills.

By Zoë Kashner



Your School-Aged Child Begins to Read

By the End of Kindergarten, Your Child Will Be Expected To:

  1. Recognize and name all upper- and lowercase letters in the alphabet
  2. Read basic single-syllable words
  3. With prompting and support, identify the main topic in a text
  4. Retell familiar stories

By the End of First Grade, Your Child Will Be Expected To:

  1. Recognize the distinguishing parts of a sentence including capitalization and punctuation
  2. Pronounce unfamiliar but commonly spelled one-syllable words
  3. Read words with inflectional endings (-ing, -ly, -ed, -tion)
  4. Identify the main idea of a text

By the End of Second Grade, Your Child Will Be Expected To:

  1. Pronounce unfamiliar two-syllable words
  2. Recount stories and say what the lesson or moral is
  3. Identify the beginning, middle, and end of a story
  4. Identify the points of view of different characters

Don’t Be Concerned if These Skills Develop Erratically, Unless Your Child:

  1. Has trouble remembering new words
  2. Has trouble blending sounds together to say words
  3. Says reading is easier for their classmates
  4. 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 Comprehension
Alphabet Recognition
Milestones & Expectations
Age 5
Age 7
Age 6
Word Recognition
Alphabet Recognition
Reading Comprehension
Grammar and Mechanics
Early Reading
Prefixes and Suffixes
Reading for Pleasure