Assessing Your Child’s Early Reading Potential


Is your child getting ready to start reading? Children who get a head start with reading statistically have a greater chance of excelling in school and finishing tertiary education, than children who learn to read at a later age. There are a number of ways you can assess your child’s readiness to start reading, and their early reading potential.

Does He or She Pretend to Read?

One of the first things a child will do when they are ready to learn is to pretend to read their picture books. This is especially true if you spend a lot of time reading together.


Often children who are developing early skills will follow along with the words in a book with their fingers, reciting the “story” out loud.  Obviously, unless it’s a story with which they are intimately familiar, the words won’t match what is actually written, but this is a great indicator that they are ready to learn their letters and start putting simple words together.

Recognition of Letters

Another great way to tell that your child is ready to learn these skills is by how often he recognizes letters of the alphabet without any prompting from you.


As children start understanding the concept of letters and words, they may point out letters they recognize in their everyday life – on their cereal boxes, on signs on the street and in shop windows, and anywhere else they see them. When your child reaches this stage, it’s a good idea to start helping them to sound out the letters they see phonetically. This will further help to develop their early reading skills.

Other Signs of Early Reading Comprehension

Other signs that your child is beginning to develop these skills include recognition of how a book works. Does your child understand when a book is upside-down that it should be turned over to be read?

Does he seem to recognize that pages are turned from front to back, and that when a book is closed the story is over? If the answers to these questions are “yes” then there is a very good chance your child is more than ready to build upon what he already knows.

Another great way to assess whether or not your child is ready, is to pay attention to whether or not he’s showing an interest in pretending to write. Many children often play at writing the letters in their names long before their fingers can actually form the letters properly.

Another thing to take into account when assessing your child’s early reading potential is his attention span. A child who can’t sit through an entire reading of their favorite storybook is probably not yet ready.

However, if your child repeatedly asks you to “read it again” when you finish a favorite story, that is a great indicator that they are more than ready to start improving their reading skills.

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