3 to 5 Years of Age

Read Aloud With Your Child

Reading aloud is one of the best ways to help your child learn to read. The more excited you act when you read a book, the more your child will enjoy it.

Listen to Your Child Read Aloud

Once your child starts reading, have him or her read out loud. Take turns reading.

If your child asks for help with a word, give it right away. But let your child sound out words if he or she wants to.

Know when your child has had enough. Stop if your child is tired or frustrated.

Most of all, give lots of praise! You are your child's first, and most important, teacher!

The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) is grateful for the Reach Out and Read program's help with this handout. Reach Out and Read works with children's doctors to make promoting literacy and giving out books part of children's basic health care. This program is endorsed by the AAP. To learn more about Reach Out and Read, go to www.reachoutandread.org.

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Parenting Tips

Start Reading to Your Child Early

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How to Help Your Child Learn to Read

A baby can enjoy books by 6 months of age! Here are things you can do with your child at different ages to help your child learn to love words and books.

Birth to Age 1

  • Play with your baby often. Talk, sing, and say rhymes. This helps your baby learn to talk.

  • Talk with your baby, making eye contact. Give your baby time to answer in baby talk.

  • Give your baby sturdy board books to look at. It's OK for a baby to chew on a book.

  • Look at picture books with your baby and name things. Say “See the baby!” or “Look at the puppy!”

  • Babies like board books with pictures of babies and everyday objects like balls and blocks.

  • Snuggle with your baby on your lap and read aloud. Your baby may not understand the story, but will love the sound of your voice and being close to you.

  • Don't let your child watch TV until age 2 or older.

1 to 3 Years of Age

  • Read to your child every day. Let your child pick the book, even if it's the same one again and again!

  • Younger toddlers (1 to 2 years of age) like board books with pictures of children doing everyday things (like eating and playing). They also like “goodnight” books and books with rhymes. Books should only have a few words on each page.

  • Older toddlers (2 to 3 years of age) like board books and books with paper pages. They love books with rhymes and words that are repeated. Books about families, friends, animals, and trucks are also good.

  • Let your child “read” to you by naming things in the book or making up a story.

  • Take your child to the library. Celebrate your child getting a library card!

  • Keep talking, singing, saying rhymes, and playing with your child.

  • Don't let your child watch TV until age 2 or older.

Reading Tips

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