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School Age(5-6 years old)

At This Age

School-age children recognize and make rhyming words. She/he knows single sounds and combinations of sounds. Your child understands that books have characters, an order of events, and story plots. She/he writes recognizable letters and begins to write her/his own name and a few words.

older man reading to a childSchool-age children can read signs of favorite places to eat or shop, and familiar signs such as "Stop" or "Men" (on a bathroom door). Your child can tell the number of syllables in a word, "My name has two parts, Jor-dan" (while clapping for each part). Your child will begin to read a book alone or with an adult, and reads some of the words she/he knows and has learned from past reading experiences. School-age children often act out familiar stories such as "The Three Bears" by telling about each of the character's actions and what happened in the beginning, middle, and end of the story.

Reading Together

Read poetry and rhyming books to your child on a regular basis. Together with your child, enjoy chants, songs, and finger plays involving rhyming and sound substitutions. Encourage your child to tell the story by saying, "What happened in the beginning of the story? What happened next? And what happened at the end of the story?"

Provide positive feedback to your child when she/he reads signs, labels (e.g., a can of soup), and tries to read unfamiliar words in a book by saying, "You are learning to read." When your child asks "What is this word?" tell your child the word or say, "Let's sound it out. My turn first and then we can do it together." Make ABC books (both upper and lower case) that have pages with letters written on them. Let your child draw a picture that starts with the letter and try to write a word that starts with the letter.

Authors to Enjoy

Kevin HenkesWatch Kevin Henkes talk about writing and illustrating books at TeachingBooks.net.

Photo credit: Michelle Corpora

The Big Picture

Just as young plants begin to grow leaves and flowers as they get taller, your child's learning potential will blossom at school. You are still your child's most important teacher, and she/he needs to hear stories and encouragement from you. The routine of reading together every day protects your child from stress and helps her/him grow into a strong, independent reader.