Ready to Read

Your child might learn this year or next. Don't sweat the timing -- just keep it fun at every stage.
child reading books

Lucy Schaeffer

Moms of kindergartners and first-graders, I'm going to warn you: Learning to read is the 5-year-old equivalent of potty training. Your kid might not get it right away; he could show no interest, or flat-out refuse. Then there are those well-meaning but highly annoying parents who will go on and on about their little bookworm-in-the-making. Don't let their bragging stress you out.

"It doesn't really matter very much whether your child learns to read at the beginning of kindergarten or the end of first grade," says Jan Burkins, Ed.D., coauthor of Preventing Misguided Reading and founder of, a reading website. "Among older readers, there is little distinction between those who learned early and those who took a little longer. By third grade, most late readers have caught up with early ones." Let your kid's teacher take care of the actual reading lessons, advises Dr. Burkins. And your role? Well, read all about it!

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