A Guide to Reading (1 – 5 years)

The following are some age-by-age activities to help your young child learn language and begin to make the connection between words and meaning.

Birth to 1 year

  • Play frequently with your baby. Talk, sing, recite rhymes and do finger plays. This helps your baby learn spoken language and builds a strong foundation for reading.
  • Give your baby board books or soft books to look at, chew on or bang on the table.
  • Look at picture books with your baby and name the objects that he sees. Say things like “See the baby!” or “Look at the puppy!”
  • Snuggle with your baby in your lap and read aloud to him. He may not understand the story, but he will love to hear the sound of your voice and the rhythm of the language.

1 to 3 years

  • Read to your child every day. Allow your child to pick which books he wants, even if he picks the same one time and time again!
  • Let your child “read” to you by naming objects in the book or making up a story.
  • Make regular trips to the library with your child. most children find it exciting to get a library card.
  • Continue to talk, sing, recite rhymes and play with your child.

3 to 5 years

  • By 3 to 5 years of age, most children are singing their ABC’s, knowing the letters of their names. Read alphabet books with your child and point out letters as you read.
  • Help your child recognize whole words as well as letters.
  • Point out common, everyday things like the letters on a stop sign or the logo on a favourite restaurant.
  • As you read together, ask your child to make up his own story about what is happening in the book. Keep reading as part of your child’s bedtime routine.
  • Some educational television shows, videos and computer programs can help your child learn to read.