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At What Age Should I Start Teaching Reading To My Child
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At What Age Should I Start Teaching Reading to My Child

As a parent or caregiver, the idea may surface, "At what age should I start teaching reading to my child?" All the more so, you may be asking yourself this question, because there is a lot of emphasis being placed on educating young children nowadays. Thus, to be sure this is a great question, so let's talk about it.

Talking with Your Baby

From the womb, your baby can hear you. Voices may be muffled, but your baby is already picking up sounds and once born your baby continues to hear words--words of love, words bouncing back and forth in conversation, even words that come from music, movies, and television.

Thus, regularly talking to and with your baby actually sets the stage for reading; even as an infant, steps are gradually and naturally being paved.

Reading Books to Your Baby

In addition to regularly talking, reading books from infancy on further prepares for future independent reading. Again, books introduce your little one to further sounds and concepts. Not to mention, children generally love to be read to. In fact, by the time children reach the age of two and even earlier, you may find them flipping through books themselves, looking at pictures, trying to mimic reading.

Reading books to your baby helps set the stage for children to generally enjoy reading.

Teaching the Alphabet to Your Baby

At the age of two or three, or sooner if so inclined, you can begin learning the Alphabet--singing it, learning what the letters look like, and then learning the sounds of the letters. This task may take some time to be sure, even spanning over a year or longer.

Gradually teaching the alphabet (i.e. letters and sounds) introduces the first stages of phonics to your little one.

Teaching Whole Words to Your Baby

Yet, even before your child is two or three you can begin learning whole words. This can be done using flash cards, stickers, and even by using curriculum created for this purpose, for teaching young children to read. Whole words allow your baby to experience sounds, vocabulary, and phonics as well.

Whole words introduce reading by allowing your child to see words at a young age, even as early as three months.

Teaching Your Child with a Phonics Curriculum

At the age of four or five, if your child is not yet reading independently through whole word learning, a formal reading curriculum could be started if so desired.

A phonics program can further prepare your child for kindergarten or homeschooling, making the transition to independent reading that much easier.


In sum, at what age should I start teaching reading to my child?

  • Talking can begin from the womb and continues after the baby is born
  • Reading books from infancy on is helpful
  • At age 2 or 3, gradually learning the letters and sounds of the alphabet is useful
  • Whole word learning can begin at a young age if so desired
  • At age 4 or 5, a formal reading curriculum can also be begun

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