When Should Kids Be Able to Read?

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Reading is one of the most important life skills that one can learn.

That’s the reason why after walking and talking, it is also one of the earliest ones that you should ideally unlock.

On average, a child learns how to walk and talk around a year old. The question is, when should kids be able to read?

More importantly, when is the right time to start a reading program like Children Learning Reading?

Baby Milestones

Each milestone is more interconnected with each other than you might previously think.

For instance, a baby usually starts to learn how to roll over by four months.

Rolling over then teaches the baby the control required to crawl, which will aid in sitting, standing, and eventually walking.

The same applies to reading.

There are several skills that the child needs to achieve to set the foundations required for reading.

Before we move on, we just want to give a quick disclaimer.

The ages mentioned in this article will refer to the approximate age of the average pace of a child’s growth and development.

Keep in mind that every child is unique. Some develop faster, while others, a bit slower.

A slower pace also doesn’t mean your child has a developmental disability. However, you can get him diagnosed if you’re worried he might be.

When Should Kids Be Able to Read?

So, when do kids start reading? We’ll answer that question in two parts.

First, we want to expand more on the milestones that come together and help a child read.

Aside from that, we will also provide you with a benchmark age when a child should already be reading fluently, according to the pace of traditional education.

When Does Reading Start?

It is important to understand that reading is not just an act of determining the meaning of the written text. It is a communication method.

Hence, all of the skills related to the art of communication are actually connected to reading.

Are you wondering when do kids learn to read? You might be surprised to learn that these skills start as early as the first few weeks of life.

This is the time when your baby will learn to recognize voices and use his voice to communicate (usually through crying).

In around two months, your child will start to recognize cues like colors, textures, and sounds.

These are critical stages when it comes to reading since they involve image awareness that is needed in letter recognition.

At three months, babies usually start to mimic sounds. He will continue doing so until around his first year when he starts saying simple words.

Sound mimicry is another important milestone. It teaches the baby the relationship between sounds, concrete objects, and thoughts.

All of these elements are essential in the reading process.

Toddlers usually have more grasp over these skills now, and you’ll see a spark of interest in books starting to develop.

This is a great time to invest in multiple board books for your little one to explore. Asked when do kids start reading, most parents consider this as the exact moment.

Then, they reach early preschool to kindergarten. These are the ages we typically start a more structured or formal reading training.

What Age Should a Child Read Fluently?

You cannot expect kindergartners to read fluently already.

They might be able to read short books and retell the main idea of the reading material.

However, it is only until they reach second- to third-grade when you can trust them to read books, even longer ones, independently.

A child’s vocabulary and comprehension will simply grow from there.

It will take much practice and experience, that’s for sure.

But if you foster a love for reading from the beginning, your child will be a proficient and voracious reader as he grows older.

when should kids be able to read tips

Reading Milestones

For easy reference, here’s a quick table of the reading milestones you can watch out for, organized by learning stages:

Learning StageReading Milestones
  • Interest in soft-covered books and board books are developed
  • Image and sound recognition start
  • Relationships between images, sounds, objects, and thoughts are beginning to develop
  • Image and sound recognition improve
  • Taste in certain books and subjects is developed
  • Pretend-reading starts by turning pages and making up stories
  • Formal reading instruction starts
  • Reading direction (left to right) is established
  • Phoneme and rhyme recognitions are improved
  • More familiarity with letter recognition and letter sounds
  • Sight word recognition through often-seen words (like company logos) will develop
  • Match letters and sounds confidently
  • Basic reading comprehension and story retelling skills start to develop
  • Plot prediction will also start
Young Grade-schoolers
  • Spell simple and high-frequency words
  • Sight word recognition will increase
  • Recognizing context clues will develop
  • Reading speed and fluency will significantly increase
Older Grade-schoolers
  • A basic foundation in reading should be developed by now
  • Reading for different purposes should be encouraged
  • Comparing different texts will start
  • Learn the basics of researching or getting answers to their questions from a variety of texts
  • Identify the difference between various reading materials
  • Start recognizing figurative speech
Middle to high schoolers
  • Advanced vocabulary and comprehension will develop
  • They should be able to locate and use read statements in research, primarily to support theories and established knowledge
  • Advanced recognition of figurative speech will also develop
  • Acquire a taste for more advanced reading materials and read them independently for the pleasure of it

Again, let us just remind you that each child progresses differently.

If you’re really concerned about his pacing, check out the tips we will share below.

How to Reach Reading Milestones Faster 

Now that you know when a child should start reading, you might want to give yours a helping hand for him to reach this milestone.

Here are some ways to help your child improve in reading faster:

1. Read

Set a good example and read.

It will make the act of reading significantly more interesting if you’re a reader yourself.

2. Establish a Reading Habit

Make an effort to schedule a regular reading routine with your children. You can start this as soon as you see an interest in books from them.

You will see that there are babies who start loving books. Don’t worry whether they can read or not. You can always read aloud.

Trade places with him once he unlocks the reading level required to read and finish short storybooks.

In this way, you will also be able to monitor his vocabulary and comprehension.

3. Choose Your Reading Materials

Get books on a variety of subjects, focusing more on topics your child loves.

Don’t be limited by just books, too. Comic books, magazines, and even digital texts are also excellent reading materials.

4. Make Reading Relevant

Let your children read out there.

Encourage them to read restaurant menus, find out movie schedules, or figure out warning signs.

Your child should understand how important reading is beyond just enjoying colorful books.

5. Stay Involved in Their Reading Journey

Reading shouldn’t be a skill your child only practices in school.

Make an effort to involve yourself in his reading instruction.

You’ve taught him most of his reading readiness skills anyway, so why not go all the way?

Children Learning Reading

children learning reading

Speaking of keeping yourself involved, do you want to take on the challenge of teaching your child to read?

Are you worried you might have the right equipment to do it correctly?

To put your worries aside, we believe that any parent can teach their child how to read, even without previous experience or a degree in education.

All you need is a strong reading program that comes with clear instructions on tried-and-tested teaching methods.

That’s what we love about Children Learning Reading. It’s is all that and more.

The designers of this program believe that the secret to reading lies in the mastery of phonemes (or the sound relationships shared by letters and letter combinations) rather than memorizing sight words.

After all, there are only 44 phonemes compared to the thousands of words in the English dictionary considered as “sight words.”

This program uses a practical yet uncomplicated approach to ensure your child can turn from zero to hero reader within 10 weeks.

When trying to figure out when do kids learn to read, the answer varies.

However, with reading programs like this one, your child has the chance to develop this skill in less than three months.


Ideally, you would want to start a child’s reading readiness as early as possible.

The question is, when should kids be able to read? Or, at what age should a child read fluently? Is there even an age to accomplish reading milestones?

Reading readiness skills start developing as early as the first month of a baby’s life, while formal training usually begins in kindergarten.

Hopefully, your child could read confidently by the time he reaches second- to third-grade.

There are numerous ways to help your child’s reading progress faster, but we found that the best way to do it is by showing him how much you love it yourself.

It will make the experience more encouraging and motivating.

We also recommend you explore various reading programs.

Children Learning Reading is our personal favorite, but countless others will undoubtedly meet your needs and preferences.

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