Menu

Literacy Milestones: Age 5

By: Andrea DeBruin-Parecki, Kathryn Perkinson, Lance Ferderer
Identifying a reading problem is a challenge without a sense for what typical literacy development looks like. Find out what language accomplishments are typical for most children at age five.

Most children learn to read by age 7. Learning to read is built on a foundation of language skills that children start learning at birth – a process that is both complicated and amazing. Most children develop certain skills as they move through the early stages of learning language.

The following list of such accomplishments is based on current research in the field, where studies continue and there is still much to learn. As you look over the list, keep in mind that children vary a great deal in how they develop and learn.

If you have questions or concerns about your child's progress, talk with your child's doctor, teacher, or a speech and language therapist. For children with any kind of disability or learning problem, the sooner they can get the special help they need, the easier it will be for them to learn.

At age 5, most kindergartners become able to:

  • Sound like they are reading when pretending to read
  • Enjoy being read to and retell simple stories
  • Use descriptive language to explain or to ask questions
  • Recognize letters and letter-sound matches
  • Show familiarity with rhyming and beginning sounds
  • Understand that print is read left-to-right and top-to-bottom
  • Begin to match spoken words with written ones
  • Begin to write letters of the alphabet and some words they use and hear often
  • Begin to write stories with some readable parts

References

References

Click the "References" link above to hide these references.

AMERICA READS CHALLENGE: Read*Write*Now Partners Group (1997). Checkpoints for progress in reading and writing for families and communities. U.S. Department of Education, Washington, DC.

Barr, R., Kamil, M.L., Mosenthal, P.B., and Pearson, P.D. (Eds.) (1991). Handbook of reading research: Volume II. New York, Longman.

Burns, M. Susan, Griffin, Peg, Snow, C.E. (Eds.) (1999). Starting out right: Guide to promoting children's reading success. National Academy Press, Washington, DC.

Clay, M.M. (1979). The early detection of reading difficulties (3rd Edition). Heinneman, Auckland, New Zealand.

Hannon, Peter (1995). Literacy, home, and school: Research and practice in teaching literacy with parents. Falmer Press, London, England.

Hiebert, E.H., and Raphael, T.E. (1998). Early literacy instruction. Harcourt Brace College Publishers, Fort Worth, TX.

International Reading Association (IRA) and National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) (1998). Learning to read and write: Developmentally appropriate practices for young children--A joint position statement of the IRA and NAEYC. Washington, DC.

National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) (1996). Technology and young children ages 3 through 8--An NAEYC position statement. Washington, DC.

National Center for Education Statistics (1999). The National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP)1998 reading report card. U.S. Department of Education, Washington, DC.

Snow, C.E., Burns, M. Susan, Griffin, Peg (Eds.) (1998). Preventing reading difficulties in young children. National Academy Press, Washington, DC.

Teale, W.H., and Sulzby, E. (Eds.) (1986). Emergent literacy: writing and reading. Ablex, Norwood, NJ.

Excerpted from: DeBruin-Parecki, A. with Perkinson, K. & Ferderer, L. (January, 2000). Helping Your Child Become A Reader. U.S. Department of Education.

Reprints

You are welcome to print copies for non-commercial use, or a limited number for educational purposes, as long as credit is given to Reading Rockets and the author(s). For commercial use, please contact the author or publisher listed.

Comments

My child is 6yrs old and does fine in spelling 18 words from her test and dectation sentences in class, but still struggling to read a full complete sentence, what can I do to help her?

Add comment

Plain text

  • No HTML tags allowed.
  • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.
By submitting this form, you accept the Mollom privacy policy.
Sign up for our free newsletters about reading
Advertisement
Reading Blogs
Maria Salvadore
Maria Salvadore
April 7, 2014
March 27, 2014
"The things I want to know are in books. My best friend is the man who'll get me a book I [haven't] read." — Abraham Lincoln