School Age



A Kindergarten age child typcially:

  • Begins to see him or herself as a reader.
  • Understands that words in print go from left to right and have meaning.
  • Can say letters and point to letters of the alphabet.
  • Knows all the consonant sounds and may know the vowel sounds.
  • Recognizes simple words like “the”, “and”, “it”, and “is”.
  • Starts to read signs, food packages, and other everyday items.
  • Likes being read to and has favorite books and stories.
  • Produces rhyming words.
  • Can write his or her own name.

As a 1st grader, your child typically:

  • Reads aloud slowly and deliberately (about 30 words per minute).
  • Begins to use strategies to figure out new words.
  • Recognizes words at a glance.
  • Has a 300-500 word reading vocabulary.
  • Begins to read silently.
  • Can count the number of syllables in a word.
  • Can blend or segment the letter sounds of most one-syllable words.

As a 2nd grader, your child typically:

  • Reads about 60 words per minute.
  • Reads both fiction and non-fiction written for his or her grade level.
  • Can sound out unknown words of one or two syllables.
  • Has improved comprehension.
  • Re-reads sentences when meaning is not clear.
  • Recalls facts and details from what he has read.
  • Poses possible answers to “how”, “why” and “what if” questions.

As a 3rd grader, your child typically:

  • Reads about 90 words per minute.
  • Reads aloud with fluency and comprehension when using grade level material.
  • Has a good repertoire of “word attack” skills and strategies to sound out unknown words (e.g. using picture clues, getting mouth ready to say beginning sound of unknown word).
  • Can summarize major points from fiction and non-fiction stories.
  • Can infer word meanings from roots, prefixes and suffixes.
  • Reads many kinds of children’s books.
  • Uses information from the story and personal knowledge to learn new words and understand stories.
  • Understands the themes or main ideas in what he or she reads.

As you read with your child:

You can assist your child in kindergarten with exercises that help develop skills in sound recognition, letter recognition, simple blending and simple rhyming.

In the first and second grades, there is additional focus on the three primary sub-areas of reading; accuracy, fluency and comprehension.

By third grade, most children are reading by themselves.

It is important to continue reading aloud in order to further develop essential skills with more challenging reading material. Plus it is a positive, rewarding experience. When you read aloud, you can read books at your child’s listening level, which is higher than his or her reading level. This gives you the opportunity to expand your child’s vocabulary. The wonderful, unique words found in children’s literature are often words we do not use in every day conversations. A large vocabulary will improve your child’s comprehension as he or she reads more sophisticated books.