When Do Kids Learn To Read? A Helpful Guide For Parents

Written by: The Story of Sprout



Time to read 9 min


Have you recently come across a story where your kid’s age-fellow started reading words earlier than your little one? Indeed this has left you worried that your child is falling behind. Absolutely not! 

Remember that each child is different from others and has different mental abilities. Some kids start reading earlier, while others may take more time to develop this skill. 
So stop comparing your child with others; monitor their abilities according to the reading benchmarks by age. It will help you know when do children learn to read and what milestones your child should reach at each specific age group. 

When Do Kids Learn to Read?

Does the burning question “when do kids learn to read” bothers you frequently?  Not just you but all parents eagerly await to see their child reading and conquering the world of literacy, even with one word at a time. But here’s the secret: you can’t expect all the kids to develop reading skills at the same age or within the same timeline. Therefore, the path to reading can sometimes feel mysterious. 

But fear not; we can help you understand the general reading timeline that will empower you to support your child’s literacy development. Plus, you’ll stop comparing their progress with their peers. 

By the end, you’ll know all the milestones and the thrilling stages your child should conquer. Additionally, we’ll share some super enjoyable activities to help your child learn how to read. So let’s dive into our detailed guide that is all about; when do most kids learn to read.

The question of when do kids learn to read can have a lot of different answers. That’s because the exact timeline varies from child to child. So we have shared some age groups and the reading milestones that will give you a better idea if your child is on track for success. 

This way, you can gauge your child’s progress, plus you’ll know what to expect at what age. 

Do you want us to share these milestones in detail? Here we go! 

When Do Kids Learn To Read? A Helpful Guide For Parents

Milestones and Targets for Every Age Group to Know When Do Kids Learn to Read 

1. Babies Up to 1 Year

Babies are remarkable learners. But this doesn’t mean you can expect them to read words by their first birthday. From birth to around three months, they start recognizing sounds and voices. Not just recognition, but they also respond to these sounds with cooing and gurgling. 

On hitting six months, babies try to touch the pictures and turn the vibrant pages with the assistance of a caregiver. Stepping into the seventh to twelfth month helps them recognize that words in the books are associated with the story they are listening to. Plus, when asked, they start pointing to the pictures and show excitement when a familiar book is presented. This way, babies under one year lay the foundation for future reading skills. 


To promote language development and engagement of your baby in pre-reading activities, here are some valuable suggestions you must follow. All these activities will help you know how to teach your child to read. So let’s move towards them:

  • Introducing nursery rhymes with repetitive patterns will enhance your baby’s phonemic awareness. And this awareness is highly crucial for developing reading skills.
  • Introduce your baby to colorful board books that have vibrant pictures and different texts to touch. 
  • Point at different animals, characters, or objects in the book and name them while reading. 
  • Make connections between images in books and real-life objects. Doing this will boost the vocabulary, and your baby will understand the relationship between visuals and words. 
  • Make reading a daily ritual in your baby’s routine.

2. Toddlers 1 to 2 Years Old

Toddlers aged 1 or 2 years show rapid reading development and reach some exciting milestones. They leave the cooing language behind and start responding with babbles, baby chatter, and unique expressions to your narrations. 

When they cross the 17th month, they expand their vocabulary and start using small words like ‘mom’ and ‘dad.’ But it doesn’t stop here! You’ll be more than happy to see your child naming the familiar items in books like cat, ball, and dog. So can we answer the age of 1 to 2 years to When do kids learn to read? Hell Yes!

Additionally, toddlers at this age start recognizing the sounds with enthusiasm and participate in answering the questions. How? When you make a silly “moo” sound with the picture of a cow in the book, your little munchkin takes it as something funny. They grasp the word quickly and reply with their cute “moo” sound with excitement. 

By the age of 2 years, toddlers often recognize and say about 150 to 300 words. And two-word combinations become their favorite ones, e.g., “more food,” “hello, mommy,” and “come here.” If your toddler can do all this, stop questioning; when do kids learn to read? Instead, you should appreciate the little mind for everything he has grasped till now!  


So do you now know when should kids start reading? If yes, move a little forward and explore how to teach kids to read. In this regard, here are some super practical tips to give you inspiring results. These include:

  • Offer them books with a sentence or two per page. 
  • Give them books about their favorite things like stars, pets, and cars.
  • Use puppets or props while reading. 
  • Raise or lower your voice to make the story attention-grabbing. 
  • Transform reading at age 2 into fun by using relevant voices for animals and characters.
  • Replace the character’s name with your child’s name in the story. 
  • Ask questions from what they have read and help them in answering.

3. Preschoolers of 3 to 4 Years

Yay! Your little one is a preschooler now, so it’s the beginning of making a solid foundation for elementary years. Now you’ll ultimately get to know when do kids learn to read. 

At around 3, one of the significant milestones they reach is the letter recognition of both uppercase and lowercase. Plus, they learn about concepts like top-to-bottom sequencing and left-to-right progression. 

This age enhances curiosity about the written language, so they start pointing to the words and letters in the surrounding. Besides print awareness and letter recognition, they may begin writing by making scribbles and marks resembling writing. 

That’s all? No! You should also get ready to listen to the story that they read in the classrooms. But they will retell these stories in their way with a touch of cuteness and excitement. And we bet it won’t be a bad deal! 

What else do you expect from the little hands and the twinkling eyes aged just 4? 


Follow the activities below, and your child will develop reading skills effectively. These activities include:

  • Before reading a new book, take a picture walk. For this, flip through the pages and discuss the illustrations first. 
  • Arranging read-aloud sessions would be a plus for your preschoolers.
  • Introduce hands-on activities like alphabet blocks and magnetic letters, and ask your child to identify letters. 
  • Play word hunt games with the preschoolers.

4. Kindergarteners Up to 5 and 6 Years

When do kids learn to read? Probably in kindergarten? The 5th and 6th year hit differently on your kids and effectively levels up their letter recognition power. They can now recognize all 26 letters of the alphabet family. Not just the recognition, but you can also expect them to name and write them. So is it clear when do kids learn to write?

Furthermore, at the age of 5 to 6, they become little stronger readers when they know the power of the unique sound behind each letter. Thus, it’s the beginning of practicing essential pre-reading skills like phonics and phonemic awareness. 

Kindergarten helps the young explorers become masters of the wondrous “W” questions, including what, who, when, where, why, and which. And conquering about 30 high-frequency “sight words” makes them ready to embark on the path of more defined reading skills. So when you think about what grade do kids learn to read, kindergarten can be one of the best answers. 


Are you worried if your kindergartner lacks the above-discussed abilities and hasn’t reached these milestones? Follow the activities given below or suggest these to your child’s teachers and see the magic yourself!

  • Create a word wall displaying frequently used words in the classroom. Doing this will enhance their spelling and vocabulary skills. 
  • Arrange story sequencing games by drawing pictures showing key events of the story. Mix these pictures and ask the kindergartner to arrange them in the correct order. 
  • Pair your child with any other age fellow and ask them to take turns reading. 
  • Take your child to walk around the school or home and ask them to identify things and words they read in their books. 

5. Children of First and Second Grades Up to 7 Years

Research revealed that the average age for learning to read is 6 to 7 years which is the first or the second grade. In the early elementary years, there is diverse advancement in reading skills. Children grasp the basic spelling rules and master the game of silent words and vowels. At the outset of the first grade, they can fluently read simple sentences and short paragraphs. 

The second grade works best in soaring their reading skills with 5X more fluency. Now reading lengthy and little complex texts is no longer challenging for them. Whether it’s about recognizing the story structure, reading independently, or significantly improving vocabulary to express themselves more precisely, grades 1 and 2 help your child cover all. So there’s nothing wrong in saying that it’s the average reading age for children. 


After exploring when do kids learn to read, here are some exciting reading activities that can support reading development in young elementary students:

  • Let students act out the stories they have read.
  • Allow them to write about their favorite part or character of the story. 
  • Give students a listing of words and ask them to find them in the book. 
  • Gift them books of their choice.

6. Older Elementary Up to 10 Years Old

In older elementary schools, children hold a large vocabulary bank and a vast expansion in their reading skills. Smoothness and high fluency become prominent parts of reading abilities. So they can now read complex paragraphs without any difficulty. And that’s what fosters a love for reading in them. 

What’s more, they get a fantastic addition of employing word analysis strategies. It includes breaking down the words into suffixes, prefixes, and root words. Thus they infer the meanings of new words. 

On becoming ten years old, they show interest in different genres, including fantasy, adventure, non-fiction, and science fiction, and broaden their exposure to various writing styles. So we can now say that your child isn’t learning to read but has become a reader. Hooray! 


To give your children a helping hand in learning how to read, you can apply the following tricks: 

  • Organize different book clubs where students can choose books of interest and read independently. 
  • Continue to read aloud and let your child summarize the story in their own words.
  • Surround your child with books and print materials that ignite their interest and encourage reading.
  • Arrange a comfortable reading space for your child. 

So we’re sure that “When do kids learn to read?” is no longer a topic that sparks curiosity in parents. The valuable insights above will help you support your children’s reading abilities.


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Hey, you all stressed parents! Say goodbye to the endless debates about how and when do kids learn to read. And let your child dive into the exciting world of Sprout

It’s a captivating tale that discloses the secrets of life and sparks a love for reading. Not just a fairytale; it's a portal to a sparkling realm of knowledge, wisdom, goodness, truth, morality, and the sheer joy of storytelling. That’s how a read to this book helps your children in:

  • Developing a robust ethical foundation
  • Empowering them to create positive change in them
  • Contributing to a more empathetic society

So don't miss out on this life-changing journey—gift your child the magic of Sprout today and let their reading adventure ignite!