A Reading Checklist -- Helping Your Child Become a Reader

There are many ways that you can encourage your child to become a reader. Here are some questions that you can ask yourself to make sure that you are keeping on track:

For Babies (6 weeks to 1 year)

Childlike drawing of a mother holding a sleeping baby in her arms while she is also writing while seated at a table.
  • Do I provide a comfortable place for our story time? Is my child happy to be in this place?
  • Am I showing my child the pictures in the book? Am I changing the tone of my voice as I read to show emotion and excitement?
  • Am I paying attention to how my child responds? What does she especially like? Is she tired and ready to stop?

For Toddlers (1 to 3 years)

All of the questions above, plus:

  • Does my child enjoy the book we are reading?
  • Do I encourage my child to "pretend read," joining in where he has memorized a word or phrase?
  • When I ask questions, am I giving my child enough time to think and answer?
  • Do I tie ideas in the book to things that are familiar to my child? Do I notice if he does this on his own?
  • Do I let my child know how much I like his ideas and encourage him to tell me more?
  • Do I point out letters, such as the first letter of his name?

For Preschoolers (3 and 4 years)

All of the questions above, plus:

  • Do I find ways to help my child begin to identify sounds and letters and to make letter-sound matches?

For Kindergartners (5 years):

Remember: Children learn step by step in a process that takes time and patience. They vary a great deal in what holds their interest and in the rate at which they make progress.

All of the questions above, plus:

  • Do I find ways to help my child begin to identify some printed words?
  • Do I let my child retell favorite stories to show that she knows how the story develops and what's in it?

For Beginning First-Graders (6 years):

All of the questions above, plus:

  • Do I give my child the chance to read a story to me using the print, picture clues, his memory—or any combination of these ways that help him make sense of the story?

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Last Modified: 09/01/2003