When Should You Start Teaching Your Child To Read

A child is reading a purple book

So when is not “too early” but not “too late” at the same time?

Let’s look at conventional wisdom. More and more often you are told these days that you can start teaching your child reading at the age of 6 or even 7 years old. This approach suggests that we should not educate children before that but let them explore with free play activities instead. Yes, games and free play are a crucial part of learning but it’s not all of it!

Why early interactions are important? 

Early interactions, reading games, musicand movement activities do not just give a child the required knowledge. They also affect the way their brain will be “wired” and brain connections (synapses) will be made. That’s why it’s so important to read, sing, play and talk to your child as though these interactions brain connections are made.

Importance of synapses

A child is born with brain cells he/she will have for the rest of their life, but it’s not the cells but the synapses (brain connections) that are important. Because brain synapses allow babies to think, to move, to communicate, to thrive - they make their brain active!

It is stated, that during early childhood development years at least one million new synapses are made every second - it’s the fastest the brain will ever work! Children who are involved in more games and positive interactions during infancy and toddlerhood will have more brain connections, therefore, their brain will function better throughout their life.

Brain development of a child

Brain development is nonlinear. Linear development is a consecutive process that can be characterized as a straight line. Nonlinear development processes can be characterized as a chart with ups and downs. Therefore there are important learning periods when information, knowledge, and skills should be acquired.

It’s estimated that when a child is born, each neuron (a brain cell) has approximately 2,500 synapses, and between 2-3 years of age this number reaches its peak with about 15,000 synapses. For that reason, during these years brain development is thriving and a child’s brain is full of plasticity and flexibility. It is like fresh play dough! And if you don’t put knowledge, information, and skills in it by the age of 5 it will lose some of its brain plasticity. Do not forget that 90% of a child’s brain is already developed by the age of 5.

Consequently, ages 2.5 - 3 years old is very critical for your child’s physical, emotional and cognitive development. By the time children are 3 years old, their brain is twice as active as the brain of adults. Research suggests that most 3-year-olds are ready to start learning how to read at that age.

Therefore, based on all the facts, we suggest that you should start teaching a child reading between 2.5 to 3 years of age. Try using our reading program for kids, where we explain how to teach a child reading in just 14 steps.

Have you been wondering why my child can’t read yet? Even checking for signs of dyslexia

Baby is sitting on the mother's laps and looking at her

The language development of children is a complex process but there is a way of how to make early literacy easy and enjoyable through various visual learning strategies, literacy activities and vocabulary games.

At what age, a child should be able to read?

Children usually start reading at about 6-7 years old. With this reading program for kids, your child should be able to start reading basic sentences at 4-5 years of age or even earlier.

Citations:

  1. Berk L. E. (2013). Child Development (9th Edition). Illinois State University. Kendallville, IN: Pearson.
  2. Harlan J. D., Rivkin M. S. (2012). Science Experiences for the Early Childhood Years: An Integrated Affective Approach (10th Edition). Upper Sadly River, NJ: Pearson.