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Is Your Child Ready to Read? 6 Signs and Checklist

Is My Child Ready to Begin Reading?

Look for These 6 Signs!

Learning to read as such an exciting time in children’s lives! There is nothing more exciting as a parent than to see that lightbulb go on in a child’s head when he or she blends the first word! While reading is an exciting time, it’s important that we understand the developmental milestones that indicate that children may be ready for beginning blending and early decoding skills. Here are 6 signs to look for before you dive in! Don’t forget to grab the free Reading Readiness Checklist for a detailed guide as to if your child may be ready to read!

1: Print Awareness

It is important that children have an understanding of how print works when beginning to learn to read. This includes an understanding that letters make up words, and words create sentences and stories. In addition to an understanding of letters and words, children also need to understand the basic concepts of a book. Where do we begin reading on a page? How do we move our finger under the words? Where is a period? General knowledge of print has shown to have positive impacts on reading in the future.

2. Phonological Awareness

Phonological awareness is the understanding that words and sentences contain units

of sounds. Three important phonological awareness skills that aid in reading including recognizing and generating rhymes, syllabication, and sound association. Children that are able to auditory play with and manipulate sounds are well-equipped to tackle words in print when decoding. When children begin decoding (sounding out) and encoding (writing sounds), it is very helpful to understand rhyming words and syllabication. Having a strong auditory sense of these skills helps children “crack the code" and recognize patterns in words. The English language is extremely complex, so building the foundation NOW really makes a great difference in the future! Download the 10 Day Phonological Challenge to continue building these skills.

3. Phonemic Awareness

Phonemic awareness is a subset of phonological awareness, and the most important skill that children need to master under the phonological awareness umbrella! Phonemic awareness is the ability to blend and segment the smallest unit of sounds within words auditorily.

The science of reading has proven that phonemic awareness is one of the five main components of literacy. Children that can break individual sounds apart and blend individual sounds together auditorily have a strong foundation for reading readiness. An example of phonemic awareness would be segmenting the sounds in the word cat: /c//a//t/.

4. Knowledge of Most Uppercase and Lowercase Letters

While recognizing letters by name is technically not necessary when learning to read, letter naming is an important early literacy foundation skill and a strong predictor of later reading success. Recognizing many letters (particularly lowercase letters), can be especially helpful when encoding (writing segmented sounds) comes into play in the classroom. While not all educators agree, I believe that knowing both letter names and sounds is beneficial and an important reading readiness indicator and a valuable part of early literacy. Check out the Building Alphabetic Knowledge Kit to enhance this skill!

5. Knowledge of Many Letter Sounds

It’s no surprise that children need to know letter sounds in order to begin blending! The single most important factor that comes into play when assessing reading readiness is letter sound knowledge. Children must be able to name the sound associated with a letter symbol in order to decode words. Children can begin blending sounds together to read words when they are able to recognize one vowel sound, and a few consonant sounds! However, I believe that it is important that children are able to name at least ten consonant sounds before beginning to blend and decode. When building letter sound knowledge, it is important that you are clipping letter sounds. We say /b/, not /buh/! Adding those extra sounds can create issues when decoding and encoding down the road!

6. Desire to Read!

The final component of reading readiness is the desire to learn to read! Children that show a strong interest in books and print may be ready to dive into reading. Signs of this include:

  • Children “pretend reading” the same book again and again.

  • Children asking, “What does that say?” when being read to or seeing print in the environment.

  • Children continually looking at books and asking to be read to.

Children that are engaged and interested in reading will be willing and eager to work with you!


Reading Readiness Checklist

If you are interested in learning more about reading readiness, download my free Reading Readiness Checklist. Once complete, email a copy of the assessment results to for a detailed list of resources and suggested activities to build necessary skills or begin your reading journey!


Teach Your Child to Read Group Coaching

If your child is ready to read, JOIN MY SIX WEEK SMALL GROUP COACHING! Dive into the science behind learning to read and join me as I teach you how to teach your child to read!

Teach Your Child to Read Small Group Coaching begins in MAY!


Would you like to learn more about the six components of early literacy? Grab my free guide!


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Who is Moving Little Minds?

Moving Little Minds provides early literacy consulting, training, materials, and services. Our goal is to educate teachers and parents about the importance of early literacy through engaging, research-based practices, trainings, and materials.

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