Skip to content

Your Bag

There is nothing in your cart. Start shopping to fill it up!

Article: When Do Kids Learn to Read? How to Boost Skills

When do kids learn to read, Montessori bookshelf

When Do Kids Learn to Read? How to Boost Skills

At Piccalio, our enthusiasm for baby gear drives us to independently curate our favorite products. If you make a purchase through the links on our site, Piccalio may earn a commission.


As their toddler’s scribbles turn into something that resembles letters, many parents wonder when their kid will learn to read. 

Reading opens the door to learning, fun, and independence for children. Yet, learning to read is often a sensitive topic for parents and children alike. While it comes easily to many children, it can be a struggle for others.

When parents understand the mechanics behind how children learn to read, it can make the process easier for everyone. Read on to discover when kids learn to read and how you can support your child’s reading skills. We'll also cover engaging literacy activities. 

When Do Kids Learn to Read?

Kids usually learn to read between the ages of 5 and 7. As is true with many developmental milestones, each child learns to read at their own pace. Some children may even start reading as young as three or four years old.

Yet, other children might not master reading until they’re in first grade. In short, there is a range of abilities when children start learning reading skills and this is normal. If you’re concerned, it’s a good idea to speak with your child’s pediatrician or teacher. 

when do kids learn to read, children learning reading, montessori bookshelf

How Kids Learn to Read

Should you drill your child with alphabet flashcards? Or perhaps you need to buy kindergarten workbooks for your little one.

These tools can be helpful if your child’s interested in these activities. That said, memorizing the alphabet isn’t essential. In fact, one of the best ways to teach kids to read is by reading to them.

Before children learn to read, they need to be familiar with lots of literacy skills. For example, children need to know to read text from left to right. Children can learn this skill simply by reading books together! You can help by pointing your finger at each word as you read it. 

Another early skill is phonemic awareness. Simply, this means that words are made of sounds.

You can work on this skill by noticing letter sounds. Or, turn it into a game. You might say "Mmmonkey...what else starts with mmmm?" Then, offer some examples and encourage your child to think of their own.

Learning to read is a slow process that takes place over several years. Believe it or not, many children learn to write before they read. The Montessori method often takes this approach with little ones.

Why? Because writing involves “encoding.” That means that children say a word they want to write like “cat.” Then, the child recalls the letters that represent each sound and write out the word.

However, when reading, children have to “decode.” In other words, they have to see each letter and remember the sound it makes before sounding the word out. Encoding is often easier than decoding.

Encouraging Your Young Reader: The Best Montessori Bookshelf for Your Reading Area

Making reading fun and engaging is one thing parents can do to help their children develop a love of reading. Creating a Montessori reading area is a great way to start! Start with a simple wooden bookshelf and a comfortable seating area.

The best Montessori bookshelf options display the front of picture books. This makes books more attractive, as children can get a better view of the illustrations.  

How to Set Up Your Montessori Bookshelf

When setting up Montessori shelves, remember that less is more. Young children can get overwhelmed by too many choices. So, when setting up your Montessori bookshelf, include only a small number of books. You can then rotate the books every so often so that your child can enjoy new stories. 

The Montessori method also encourages parents to choose books with realistic illustrations and photos. Young children often enjoy these topics and illustrations. Plus, it helps children build a stronger sense of reality.  

3 Literacy Activities to Try with Your Child

when do kids learn to read, children learning reading

Once you’ve set up your Montessori bookshelf, it’s time to practice reading skills! Here are a few literacy activities to try with your child. 

1. Organizing Books on the Kids Bookshelves by Topic 

Set out four to six books that are clearly about two themes. For example, several of the books might be about farm animals while others are about trains. Then, invite your child to sort the books into two categories and organize them on the bookshelf based on the topic.

Invite your child to talk about the books. For example, look at the covers of the books and say “I wonder what this book is about...”. As your child gets better at this activity, include more books and a greater number of categories. 

2. Making Predictions

Reading instruction goes way beyond phonics. Kids also need to know how to read to learn. Making predictions helps children engage with text and boost reading comprehension.

Part-way through reading a book, stop and ask your child what they think will happen next. You can also ask your child how they think a character feels or how they would feel if they were a certain character. Some other good prediction questions are:

  • How else might this story have ended?
  • If there were another book with these characters, what would happen?
  • If you were the main character, what would you do differently?

3. Retelling Stories

Take your child's favorite book and invite them to “read” to you. Simply turn the pages together as your child retells what they remember of the book or story. This activity helps children build their vocabularies, analyze pictures, and practice story sequencing. Plus, it boosts reading comprehension.

These activities are great for helping kids start learning to read. Remember, with time and patience, children learn to read on their unique timelines.

One of the best ways parents teach reading is with activities such as the above. Which one will you try first?

Posted in: 3 - 6 years, elementary age, Montessori

Leave a comment

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.

All comments are moderated before being published.

Read more

best bottle sterilizer, best baby bottle sterilizer
0 - 3 Months 3 - 6 months 6 - 9 months

The Top 7 Best Baby Bottle Sterilizers Parents Love

Your precious newborn's immune and digestive systems are delicate. A baby bottle sterilizer eliminates bacteria and viruses, keeping your baby safe. Equally important, the best baby bottle steriliz...

birthday gift ideas for 1 year olds, unique gifts for one year old baby girl
12 - 18 months 9 - 12 months

Unique Gifts for a One Year Old Baby Girl (3 Key Tips)

Unique birthday gift ideas for 1 year olds can seem impossible to find. This is especially true if you’re shopping for a little girl who has everything. However, with our tips, you can still find o...

best baby wagon, Best Baby Beach Wagon
0 - 3 Months 12 - 18 months 18 Months - 3 Years

Top Best Baby Wagon for Exploring the World

Seeing a red Radio Flyer wagon brings a sense of nostalgia. Perfect for hauling books and toddlers home from the library, it was a nice, if bumpy and hard ride. Today, the best baby wagons have com...

Easy toddler meals, recipes for toddlers, toddler meal ideas
12 - 18 months 18 Months - 3 Years In the kitchen

5 Easy Recipes for Toddlers (Ideal for Picky Eaters!)

If you’re looking for a recipe for toddlers, we’ve got you covered! Spending time in the kitchen with your little one will be a pleasure with these easy toddler meals. They're even healthy for your...

best baby bathtub, bathtub for baby
0 - 3 Months 3 - 6 months 6 - 9 months

Top 7 Best Baby Bathtubs of 2024 for a Happy Bathtime

Bathing a newborn can be stressful. As a mom of three, I know that having a great baby bathtub can make or break bathtime. Sometimes, your baby loves the bath, but other times, they scream, slipper...

tummy time, infant tummy time, when to start with tummy time
0 - 3 Months 3 - 6 months 6 - 9 months

7 Tummy Time Activities to Try on Your Play Mat

Essential for your growing baby, tummy time helps your infant develop their muscles. Yet, helping your baby build their neck, arm, and abdominal muscles isn't always easy. Some babies protest belly...