Home | How To | When should I start teaching my child to read

As parents and caregivers, we all dream of success for our children - and storytelling and reading provides one of the ways to help fulfill these dreams. Explore our reading and storytelling section for articles and ideas to encourage a love of reading in your child, and to help keep them hooked!

When should I start teaching my child to read

Do you ever wonder how old children should be when you start reading to them? Maybe you think you should wait until they are being taught how to read in Grade 1 before you start. But would you wait until a baby understands what you are saying before you talk to him or her? No, because that would make learning to talk difficult! Well then, you shouldn’t wait for a child to be taught to read before you read regularly to him or her.

When babies don’t yet understand many words, sharing books with pictures, rhymes and stories helps teach them vocabulary and language – and it gets their brains thinking! It’s also a wonderful way to relax and bond with your baby.

As babies grow, the more you read aloud and talk to them, the more words they hear and very soon you’ll hear them using the words themselves! They will also find out how the print has meaning and how we tell stories. But most importantly, when parents and caregivers read often to very young children, these youngsters grow up seeing reading as fun and worthwhile. So, they are more likely to choose to read in their free time activity when they are older. This is important because the more children read, the better they become at reading…and the more pleasure they get from it and so, they are more likely to read!

But is it too late to start to read to children when they are at preschool or school? And how old should they be when you stop? Well, like it is never too early to start, it is also never too late to start reading to children – even if they can already read. You can share books together that are too complicated for them to tackle on their own.

Taking time out from a busy day read to your children is an investment in their future no matter what their age. These pleasurable times not only show your children that you enjoy their company and care about them but they build lifelong memories too!

For story titles to enjoy with children of all ages, visit our recommended reads section.