At What Age Should Your Child Be Able To Read?

Are you wondering if your child is “on time” when it comes to reading? According to the U.S. Department of Education, here are the language milestones your child should reach at each age:


  • Imitate some of the sounds and rhythms adults use when they speak
  • Begin to associate frequent words with their meanings
  • Recognize some books by their covers
  • Pretend to read books and handle them correctly
  • Produce some scribbles that resemble writing


  • Attempt to read and write
  • Recognize common signs and labels
  • Enjoy listening to stories
  • Be able to write some letters


  • Retell simple stories
  • Use descriptive language
  • Connect letters to sounds
  • Begin to write common words and phrases


  • Read and tell stories
  • Develop some reading strategies
  • Read and write on their own
  • Read a few things aloud
  • Decode unfamiliar words
  • Increase sight word knowledge
  • Use some punctuation

Of course these are all guidelines. Some children learn very early and others learn later. Children that learn to read very young don’t necessarily go on to be stronger readers then their peers, and children that learn later don’t necessarily go on to be weak readers. However, if your child is older and still isn’t reading you should probably dig deeper.

Delayed reading can be a sign of dyslexia and other learning disabilities that make language tasks more difficult. If you count on your child picking reading up eventually, she could easily get behind in other school subjects that increasingly depend on reading.

Click here to learn some strategies that can help children that are struggling or beginning to read ›


About Angela Stevens

Angela is the Marketing Manager at Reading Horizons. She has been with the company since September 2009 and through her time with the company has gained a passion for literacy. When she is not promoting literacy she enjoys reading, boating, playing cards, and trying anything new that presents itself.

This entry was posted in Dyslexia, Phonics, Struggling Readers, Teaching Child To Read and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

5 Responses

  1. Leslie says:

    This is really useful information. It seems that so many kids are on different reading levels, which has made me wonder where a child’s reading ability should be at a certain age. Thanks for the information!

  2. David says:

    My daughter is 4 and seems resistant to reading. She has all the pieces (knows her alphabet and letter sounds) but when we ask her to read a word, even a very simple one, she gets frustrated and says she can’t. I’m afraid we might be pushing her too hard. She seems to do better with her grandmother. This article does set me at ease a little, as it suggests she is on schedule. I would, however, like for an article about learning to read to know the difference between “then” and “than”.

  3. Emma says:

    My daughter is four and a half and about to enter primary school this month. She’s been reading books since she was three and now reads young girls novels having read all the children kindergarten books such as Biff and Chip ect. However she refuses to write. Her maths is good add and subtract and now even starting multiplications. My fear is simple, will she be singled out at her primary school.

    • Josh Josh says:

      Emma, it sounds like your daughter is doing great! Keep it up and help her to maintain her love for reading. Her writing will come with time, but you’ll want to make sure she has a good understanding of the core reading skills of phonics and decoding. Young children can often fool us into thinking they understand the framework of English because their ability to memorize words and their meanings is great. Most children can memorize up to a 4th to 6th grade reading level without having word attack skills. Once they reach this point, if proper decoding and phonics skills haven’t been established, they will see a plateau in their reading level. Be aware of this, but mostly keep her passion for reading strong, which it sounds like you’ve done a great job so far.

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