A Parent's Guide to Promoting Early Literacy
A Parent's Guide to Promoting Early Literacy

The moment your child is born he/she will start on their path to becoming a reader. This path will continue as they become life long readers. The path to reading and writing starts at home, long before your child will start school. The sounds of spoken language begin for your child the moment they hear you singing, talking, or laughing. Children begin to understand written language when you read stories to them, they look through a book themselves, or they watch you read the newspaper or book.

The following pages list accomplishments you can expect of your child by the end of kindergarten, grade 1, grade 2, and grade 3. This list is based on research in the fields of reading, early childhood education, and child development. Please remember that not all children develop and learn at the same pace or in the same way.

Your child may be more advanced or need more help than others in his/her age group. You are, of course, the best judge of your child’s abilities and needs. You should take the accomplishments as guidelines and not as hard-and-fast-rules. If you have concerns about your child’s reading development, talk to his/her teacher.

Building Blocks of Reading and Writing

  • Build spoken language by talking and listening
  • Understanding print and books
  • Understanding the sounds of spoken language and meaning (phonological awareness)
  • Learning letters of the alphabet
  • Reading with and for you or to themselves
  • Use of letter-sound relationships (phonics) and recognize words when they see them
  • Spell and write
  • Develop the ability to read quickly and naturally (fluency)
  • Learn new words to build their knowledge of word meanings (vocabulary)
  • Build their knowledge of the world
  • Understanding what they read (comprehension)

The Alphabet

  • Recognizes the shapes and names of all the letters in the alphabet (both uppercase and lowercase letters)
  • Writes many uppercase and lowercase letters on his/her own

Sounds In Spoken Language

  • Understands that spoken words are made up of separate sounds
  • Recognizes and makes rhymes
  • Identifies words that have the same beginning sound
  • Puts together, or blends, spoken sounds into simple words

Phonics and Word Recognition

  • Knows a number of letter-sound relationships
  • Understands that the order of letters in a written word represents the order of sounds in a spoken word
  • Recognizes some common words on sight, such as a, the, I, said, your, is, and are