Worried About Your Child's Reading?

If your child can't read by kindergarten, there's no need to despair. Some kids start a bit later but learn quickly.

Q: Some of the kids in my son's kindergarten class can read, but he isn't even close. Should I be worried that he's falling behind?

A: No. "While some children are able to read in kindergarten, many are not," notes Ruth Graves, former national president of Reading Is Fundamental, in Washington, DC.

If you're really concerned, talk to your son's teacher, adds Graves. But, in general, what's most important is exposure to the alphabet and various forms of print. Try these tactics to help your child get ready for words:

  • Read to him at least once a day.
  • Keep books and magazines around the house-and make sure your child sees you reading them.
  • Take regular trips to the library, and encourage your child to pick out some books on his own.
  • Give your child books as gifts.
  • Teach him to write his name.
  • Point out letters and words in his environment. (For example: "See that stop sign? It says S-T-O-P, stop.")

Most of all, be patient. "Some children learn to read quickly and then level off, while others take a bit longer but then soar," says Graves.

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