Milestones In Early Childhood Reading
MILESTONES IN EARLY CHILDHOOD READING
Reading is an important aspect of child development. For your child to develop self-confidence when it comes to their literacy skills, they need to explore books on their own and begin to enjoy reading. Reading milestones serve as checkpoints that you can use to gauge where your child is positioned in the process of their reading development. Milestones are not strict, inflexible standards for when your child should be able to perform a task. Instead, as your child progresses through their education and grows a bit older, milestones may help you understand how to best support them through the process. The majority of reading benchmarks match a child's abilities to their age. Although milestones are a helpful tool, it's crucial to keep in mind that there is no perfect age for your child to achieve a certain ability, as every child is unique. Milestones are simply an indicator, not exact measurements. They can give you a target area of skills to hone in on with your child, and help guide their learning as well as your instruction. In short: Don’t stress about them too much, just be aware of them and be educated on them.
READING MILESTONES BY AGE
Each phase of early childhood has different behaviors corresponding to the appropriate developmental markers for their age group. You will see below some of the reading milestones and characteristics of each subsect of early childhood.
BABIES :The literary journey of infants begins when they start choosing to reach for books on their own. You may see them grabbing board books and soft-covered books to explore and read with you. In this early phase, they will begin to observe and feel the pictures in books as they look at them. They will also begin making sounds or cooing in response to a story (which is the cutest thing ever.) Over time, they will catch on to the concept of page-turning while reading, and they will begin to help you turn the pages.
TODDLERS:Toddlerhood is an exciting time when literacy knowledge is booming. You’ll see your toddler making observations frequently, and naming simple items as they see them, such as “car” and “ball.” They will also begin to repeat words they’ve memorized from their favorite books. This works to build their vocabulary, which ultimately has a positive impact on reading. Toddlers are also able to identify their favorite books just by looking at the book covers, and you’ll notice how they will bring you their preferred stories to read together. Toddlers also like to pretend to read by turning pages and making up their own words. They are building the ability to answer simple questions about the stories.
PRESCHOOLERS:Preschool-aged children are constantly learning new skills, especially within the literary realm. A preschooler can begin to notice and identify rhyming words (and likely have a lot of fun doing it.) They explore new, magical worlds through retelling and even acting out their favorite stories. Preschoolers are beginning to understand the mechanics of a book, such as reading left to right, from the top of the page to the bottom, the front cover versus the back cover, and how to handle a book correctly. These basic skills may seem like common sense or even insignificant to learn, but they are foundational to the process of reading that will be expanded from phase to phase. Preschool-aged children are also beginning to match letter sounds to their corresponding letters, building their understanding of phonics. They’re also beginning to identify simple familiar words or their name. Their knowledge of the alphabet is expanding rapidly throughout their preschool years, and they’ll be able to identify at least half of the letters.
KINDERGARTEN: Kindergarten is a busy age for reaching literacy milestones! They will learn so many skills including identifying rhyming words, predicting events in stories, matching letter sounds to the correct letters and writing some letters, numbers, and words unassisted. Kindergarteners will also begin to understand the meaning of many words. They will be able to put some letters and numbers in writing themselves. They will display reading comprehension through illustrations or dramatic play scenarios, and narrate tales they have heard read to them.
EARLY SCHOOL AGE: Children in the early school-aged years (first and second grade) have an increased and expansive identification of sight words. Their reading speed and comprehension are strengthened during these years. School-aged children have a further developed understanding of context clues. They will go back and re-read when they miss something or if something in the story or their reading doesn’t make sense. Early school-aged children frequently make connections to the real world and their own personal “world,” and this helps them more deeply relate to the stories they read.
It’s important for parents and educators to be informed on the reading milestones in early childhood so they can best support their children in the process. When children are supported in their educational journey, they’re able to reach their full potential and beyond. Make sure to utilize milestones as a gauge, but not a perfect set of rules. Every child is different, and they move at their own unique speed. As a parent or educator, the best thing you can do is support them in their journey. Read with them, ask them questions, and enjoy the journey together!