Learning to read is a marathon, not a sprint and it is best to start this major part of your child’s education off on the best foot. Knowing whether or not your child is ready to start their reading journey can help make it smoother and less frustrating for everyone.
Before your child learns how to read words they need to be able to recognise all the letters of the alphabet by name and the sound that they make. From learning letters you can progress to blended sounds and simple, short vowel words. They should also have phonological awareness, basically being able to hear the sounds that make up words, for example knowing that ‘dog’ is one syllable and rhymes with ‘log’.
Children also need to have print awareness, recognising that there are words on the pages as well as getting the hang of reading left to right and turning pages. Simply getting into the habit of following words with your finger when you read with or to your child will help to build this skill.
Finally, but perhaps most importantly, they need to be motivated to start learning. Children will only put in the effort required to learn reading if they are interested so try motivating them using books about their favourite hobby or character. Once your child is excited and prepared to start learning to read there’ll be nothing stopping them!