Reading and Language Skills for Kids: Milestones and What Parents Can Do to Help

December 14, 2022

Watching your child grow and develop their reading and language skills is an exciting adventure, but with it comes important questions. How to track their progress, and what to expect? How can we, as parents, help them along the way?

Let’s begin at the beginning. Reading skills are like building blocks. Each skill builds upon the other. From awareness of sounds (also known as Phonological Awareness) and learning the alphabet to beginning to connect sounds and letters, recognizing words (vocabulary) and the different parts of words (grammatical markers). 

Phonological Awareness 

Phonological Awareness refers to a set of pre-reading skills that usually develop in the preschool years. 

Children become aware of how the sounds of our language work together to create the words we speak, write, and read. Phonological Awareness skills are also shown to support reading and spelling success.

Phonological Awareness milestones 

  • Rhyme: Ages 3-4
  • Syllable Segmentation: Ages 4-5
  • Syllable Blending: Ages 4-5
  • Same Begining Sounds: Ages 4-5 
  • Segment Words: Ages 5-6
  • Sounds Blending: Ages 5-6 
  • Manipulating Sounds: Ages 6-7 
  • Letter-Sound Correspondences: Ages 6-7

How can we (parents and caregivers) help to build these skills in our kids? 

Read together! Shared book reading promotes an interest in books and helps children become familiar with letter shapes and sounds. It exposes children to new language and vocabulary, and if you ask them questions about the story as you read together, it helps to build their narrative language and receptive language skills - all important parts of reading and comprehension. 

The best part? Reading together lets your kids practice their skills while you create lasting memories together.

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  1. Milankov V, Golubović S, Krstić T, Golubović Š. Phonological Awareness as the Foundation of Reading Acquisition in Students Reading in Transparent Orthography. Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2021 May 19;18(10):5440. doi: 10.3390/ijerph18105440. PMID: 34069642; PMCID: PMC8160734.

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