Every parent at some point worries if their child is reading at the level he or she should. The below list provides a general milestone about each stage of reading and writing a child should be – from toddler to 13 years of age. However, bear in mind that every child develops at a different pace in different stages.

Early reading is influenced by lots of external factors including the exposure the child has to a reading environment and guidance among many other things. If you have any concerns, please contact your child’s educator, reading specialist, or doctor. They should be able to assess a child’s growth and point out any concern in a much accurate manner.

Up to Age 1:

A baby looking at a cloth book
A baby looking at a Cloth Book
  • learns to understand few words
  • likes to see the big bright clear pictures
  • responds to language, music, sound
  • can point to a picture when asked to
  • like the experience of touch and feel books
  • watches and tries to imitate simple words as you speak
  • tries to turn the pages with adult help

//Tip: Check recommended list of Board books, touch and feel books, Cloth books for babies here.

Also Read: When to Start Reading to Baby

Age 1 to 2 years:

  • can speak simple words
  • points to the direction of the object when asked
  • sits attentively for fewer more minutes when told stories or shown pictures
  • able to name favorite pictures or books
  • likes repetition of the same words and favorite stories
  • able to turn pages
  • gets you his or her favorite book to read aloud
  • can participate in small pretend game
  • can recite 2-3 lines of nursery rhymes

Also Read: Turn Your Baby from Book Eater to Book Reader

Age 2 to 3 years:

A toddler reading first 100 words book
A toddler reading first 100 words book
  • can recite multiple nursery rhymes more accurately
  • can recite few lines from a story from memory and correct you when told wrong
  • sits for a longer time in the read-aloud session
  • starts enjoying stories with more characters
  • can sing the alphabet song with little help
  • starts to differentiate between writings and drawing
  • learns to scribble
  • can recognize few alphabets visually

Also Read: How to Make Bedtime Story for a Child

Age 3 – Early preschool:

  • can recognize most of the Capital letters of the alphabet
  • starts holding the pen with a stronger grip and learns to write Capital letters
  • can be taught the spelling of their names
  • understand that words are read left to right
  • can match some letters to sound
  • can recognize known prints and logos
  • can retell small complete stories
  • learns to hold a book and tries to see pictures and familiar alphabets

Also Read: 7 Reasons to Read Aloud to your Kid

Age 4 – Late preschool:

  • learns letter names and sounds
  • writes own names
  • develops awareness of syllables
  • finds rhyming words
  • understand bigger storyline
  • can retell stories independently
  • learns to read and write numbers

//Tip: Check recommended books for this age group here.

Age 5 – Kindergarten:

  • can identify beginning ending and middle sound in spoken 3 letter words ‘cat’
  • can make up rhyming words like rat, cat, hat
  • can read simple words
  • understands the meaning of some words
  • understands the concept of sentence and words
  • tries to reason the sequence of events in stories
  • starts to ask questions during storytelling – how, why, what
  • can retell bigger stories
  • uses stories during pretend play

Also Read: How to Develop Reading Habit in Children

Age 6 and 7 – First and 2nd grade:

  • can read simple sentences 
  • tries to figure out the meanings of unfamiliar words using pictures and contexts
  • understands punctuation, capitalization
  • learns spelling rules
  • can read aloud more confidently and correct themselves when made mistakes
  • can draw a storyline in pictures
  • by the beginning of 2nd grade, a child can structure and write simple sentences independently

//Tip: Check recommended books for this age group here.

Ages 8 and 9 years:

A tween reading a book
A girl engrossed in a book
  • learns to read in mind without making sound
  • can read aloud with correct emphasis on settings and expressions
  • understands humor while reading, Starts reading for enjoyment
  • can correctly spell many complex words and write sentences independently
  • understands and uses new words, phrases, a figure of speech
  • can retell bigger stories with much confidence and appropriate expressions
  • starts reading chapter books
  • expands their vocabulary by more and more reading
  • tries to make meaningful and sequential stories

Ages 10 to 13:

A boy doing school homework
A boy doing school work
  • can read voraciously on different topics and expanding vocabulary
  • understands stories and inner meaning with much depth
  • develops individual thinking and interpretation process
  • leans to understand how to use evidence to support an argument
  • understands different types of literature – like biographies, fiction, poetry, satire
  • learns to extract specific information in a comprehensive manner
  • some children develop a style of writing, para-phrasing
  • becomes more self-aware about the preference and topics of individual choice and can select book accordingly