5-year-old girl has her back to the camera as she reads a book to her stuffed teddy bears on a blanket outside. At this age, your child may reach some early literacy milestones such as letter recognition and phonemic awareness.

Early Reading Milestones Your 5-Year-Old May Reach This Year

Kindergarten is an exciting time for children as they embark on their educational journey. One of the key areas of development during this stage is literacy. Early literacy skills lay the foundation for successful reading and writing, and it's essential to track the milestones your 5-year-old may reach this year. So what are some significant early reading milestones that your child may achieve this year? Read on!

  1. Letter Recognition - By the age of 5, most children have developed the ability to recognize and identify letters of the alphabet. They can associate letter names with their corresponding sounds, which is crucial for future reading success. You might notice your child pointing out letters in their environment or attempting to write their name. Encourage their curiosity and provide opportunities for letter exploration through books, games, and playful activities. You can practice letter recognition with this simple but powerful practice!
  2. Phonemic Awareness - Phonemic awareness refers to the ability to hear and manipulate individual sounds in spoken language. At the age of 5, children typically begin to demonstrate phonemic awareness skills. They can identify the initial sounds of words, blend sounds together, and segment words into individual sounds. Support their progress by engaging in rhyming games, sound recognition activities, and word play.
  3. Sight Word Recognition - Sight words are commonly used words that children need to recognize instantly, as they appear frequently in texts. By the age of 5, your child may start to memorize and recognize a growing list of sight words. These words often include high-frequency words like "the," "and," "is," and "it." Foster their sight word recognition by incorporating flashcards, word games, and reading materials that include sight words. If your child is having trouble with sight words, learn more about how you can support them here.
  4. Reading Readiness - Kindergarten is a crucial year for building reading readiness skills. Children may start to show an interest in books, holding them correctly and turning the pages one by one. They may also exhibit a growing understanding of story structure, following along with a narrative, and predicting what might happen next. Encourage their interest in reading by providing a rich selection of age-appropriate books and engaging them in discussions about the stories.
  5. Emergent Writing - Writing and reading go hand in hand, and at the age of 5, children often begin to experiment with emergent writing. They may use scribbles, drawings, or letter-like forms to convey messages. Encourage their writing endeavors by providing them with writing materials like crayons, markers, and paper. Encourage them to write their own stories, label their drawings, and engage in pretend play involving written materials. Learn more about kindergarten writing skills here.
  6. Comprehension Skills - While early reading focuses on decoding and recognizing words, comprehension is equally important. Your 5-year-old may start to develop basic comprehension skills, such as answering questions about a story, retelling a narrative in their own words, and making connections between the text and their own experiences. Encourage their comprehension skills by asking open-ended questions about the stories you read together and discussing their thoughts and feelings. The "Roll and Retell" method is a great game you can play to develop your little one's reading comprehension skills!


Kindergarten is an exciting year for your child's literacy development. By the age of 5, they may achieve significant reading milestones, including letter recognition, phonemic awareness, sight word recognition, reading readiness, emergent writing, and comprehension skills. You play a vital role in fostering their love for reading and supporting their literacy journey. By providing a nurturing environment, engaging in reading activities, and celebrating their achievements, you can lay a strong foundation for their lifelong literacy skills. Encourage their curiosity, celebrate their progress, and enjoy this important chapter in their educational growth.

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