Reading Milestones for Children Age 1 to 7: A Small Guide for Parents

“Today a reader, tomorrow a leader.”- Margaret Fuller

Reading opens the door to the universe and beyond; the younger you learn to read, the more doors it can open for you. We gain incredible knowledge and insights into so many different worlds at so many different levels through reading.

Do you know learning to read begins at an early age? As children grow, they go through various stages of learning to read, and there are certain reading milestones they hit at similar points. However, learning how to read can vary from child to child because each child is different and will develop the skill at their own pace.

This article is a general outline of reading milestones for children on the road to reading success. Since parents know their children better than anyone else, you play a leading role in helping your child develop reading habits and achieve these reading milestones.

Reading Milestones for Children Age 1 to 7

  1. Toddler (1-3 years)

At this age, the child can:

  • Pretend to read books
  • Finish sentences in the books they know well
  • Give answers to questions like “Where is the tiger in the book?”, “What sound a tiger makes?”
  • Scribble on pages
  • Identify and point out objects
  • Recite words from their favorite book
  • Figure out which book is their favorite and request it to be read often
  • Know the names of the books and identify them by the book’s cover
  • Turn the pages of the board books

How can you help your child achieve these milestones?

Expose your children of ages between one and three years to books and traditional nursery rhymes. This will help your child experience an explosion of new words and help them learn to read using phonics.

Make sure you ask your child questions that encourage them to respond and learn new words. For example, ‘Would you like a banana or an apple?’

  1. Preschooler (3-4 years)

At this age, the child can:

  • Hold the book and turn its pages the correct way
  • Sing songs and poems by prompting clues
  • Make symbols that represent letters
  • Recognize the letters in their name
  • Write their names
  • Differentiate that writing is different from drawing
  • Recognize familiar signs and labels
  • Identify rhyming words
  • Name some (15 to 18) of the letters of the alphabet and try to match them with sounds
  • Use familiar letters to try writing words
  • Develop awareness of syllables
  • Learn that print is read from left to right, top to bottom
  • Retell stories
  • Explore books independently
  • Imitate the action of reading a book aloud

How can you help your child achieve these milestones?

At this age, give your child access to different types of books: fiction, non-fiction, poetry and more, books from their favorite TV shows, classic and contemporary picture books, etc. When you provide greater exposure to books, your child will grow up to make more independent reading choices.

When reading a story, if your child doesn’t sit still, try reading a punchy poem to keep their enthusiasm and attention intact.

As you read with/to your child, you’ll begin to notice that your child is learning the conventions of reading, such as reading from left to right, turning the pages, understanding the purpose of words and pictures and, eventually beginning to recognize letters and sounds of the words on the page.

  1. Kindergarten (5 years)

At this age, the child can:

  • Match some spoken and written words
  • Identify the beginning, middle, and ending sounds in spoken words like cat or dog
  • Match words they hear to the words they see on the page
  • Say new words by changing the beginning sound, like changing cat to rat or sat
  • Recognize some words by sight without having to sound them out
  • Sound out simple words
  • Retell a story using pictures or words and also predict what happens next in a story
  • Recognize some familiar words in print
  • Write some letters, words, and numbers
  • Understand concrete definitions of some words
  • Match some spoken and written words
  • Produce words that rhyme
  • Ask and answer – who, where, what, when, why, and how questions about a story

How can you help your child achieve these milestones?

Play language games like I Spy. Such games are great to prepare your child for reading. If your child doesn’t know how the letters sound, you can spy things of certain colors, or a certain noises. Later, you can upgrade this game by spying for things that begin with a letter (use phonic sound).

Storytelling is another important activity you can consider for developing a love of reading in your child. Try these activities for storytelling:

  • Ask your child to come up with an imaginary character and make the character the star of the story you create.
  • Write a story featuring your family members in a notebook, and ask your child to illustrate it.
  • Take a well-known story and reinvent the ending.
  1. Younger grade-schoolers (ages 6–7 years)

At this age, the child can:

  • Learn the spelling rules
  • Improve their reading fluency and speed
  • Organize details and write in a logical sequence (beginning, middle, and end)
  • Recognize more number of words by sight
  • Self-correct a mistake when reading aloud
  • Go back to re-read a word or sentence that doesn’t make sense
  • Connect their personal experiences, world events and other books they have read to what they are reading now
  • Read familiar stories
  • Decode or sound out unfamiliar words with the help of pictures and context clues
  • Show comprehension of a story through drawings
  • Write using common punctuation and capitalization

How can you help your child achieve these milestones?

Help your child understand the different ways we use reading. For example, when you go shopping, write a simple grocery list with a little drawing next to each item in the list. This will help your child read the list and help you shop. If you are using a train or a bus to travel, show your child the tickets and the travel timetable.

Be a role model. When your child sees you reading, they will try to imitate you. So, consider introducing a 15-minute slot where you and your child sit down with a book.

Developing good reading habits from a young age helps your child enhance their creative thinking skills too. So, make sure that you are aware of these reading milestones and provide your child with appropriate materials and resources to help them achieve their reading milestones by age. You can also take the help of online classes that are designed to help children achieve their reading milestones.

Scroll to Top
Connect with Ira