reading checklist

Is your child on the right road to reading?

The following reading checklists can help you determine if your child is on the correct path to reading.  

It is important to use your own observations as well as teacher observations to determine if your child has met the following reading benchmarks. In addition to observational data, your teacher should be able to provide you more formal assessment data to help you measure your child's performance.

by the end of kindergarten your child should

  • Know that spoken words come apart 
  • Know that letters represent sounds
  • Be able to easily identify beginning sounds in words
  • Be able to easily name the letters of the alphabet
  • Be able write the letters of the alphabet
  • Be able to match letters and sounds
  • Be able to read basic consonant-vowel-consonant words  
  • Be able to recognize some high frequency words
  • Know about conventions of print; reading from left to right, top of the page to the bottom
  • Have a growing vocabulary
  • Enjoy reading

by the end of first grade your child should

  • Be able to segment beginning, middle and ending sounds in words
  • Use decoding strategies to fluently read grade level material (at least 40 words read correctly per minute)
  • Read aloud using appropriate expression for varying styles of text (e.g., poetry, dialogue, fiction etc.)
  • Understand grade level vocabulary words
  • Demonstrate good comprehension of grade level reading material (e.g., make predictions, retell main idea, identify supporting details)

steps to success

Get your child on the road to reading! According to National Early Literacy Panel chair Timothy Shanahan, Ph.D., here's what parents can focus on to help their child establish the early literacy skills listed on our reading checklists.

  • Print Concepts: When you read to your child, you show them that you read words (not pictures), where you begin on a page, what direction you go in, whether print is right side up, and that you turn the pages of a book one at a time.
  • Alphabet Knowledge: Help your child first learn to name letters, then learn the sounds that each letter represents.
  • Phonological Awareness: Preschoolers also need to hear and remember the separations between words in a sentence and hear the individual sounds within words; such as the "d" sound in "dog." Rhyming books and songs encourage phonological awareness.
  • Oral Language: Talk to your child about what you're reading, asking basic questions about characters and plot. Name and talk about the pictures they see. You can also extend your child's language skills by repeating and paraphrasing what they say to you, "Yes, that is a little duck!"
  • Writing: Encourage any drawing or scribbling. If your child is too young to start practicing letters (many are ready by age 4), let them see you write their name or a story that they tell you.

Steps To Success adapted from Moran, Lisa, "The Early Literacy Crisis." Parenting March 2010. 111 Print.