There are several signs to look for to know that your child is ready to read. Does your child:
– try to sound out words
– write letters
– write letter combinations (ARBC or hsC24) and ask you what they “say” (Notice I put numbers in the examples as well. Children who are just beginning to develop reading skills may not discriminate between numbers and letters.)
– ask you what words say
– ask you to read a lot to him/her
– memorize short books and “read” those back to you
– “read” to her dolls or his younger siblings
If your child is doing several of these things, then you’re doing something right! It most likely means that you read a lot to your child and he/she sees reading as a valuable activity. This is terrific and I congratulate you on this!
Once your child begins to show these signs of reading, then you should read the essay “Early Reading Curriculum.” (Click on the title to hyperlink there.)
I have one big caution when considering when your child is ready to read: Do NOT let relatives, friends, other homeschoolers, church members, teachers who live in your neighborhood or anyone else tell you when to teach your child to read. If you try to force your child to read too soon, you’re going to squish his/her love of learning. I think this is one of the biggest problems we have today with education is that we force kids to do “schoolwork” too early, which takes away their natural desire to learn, THEN we turn around in a few years and ask why they hate to learn so much, are lazy, have no initiative, and get into trouble. It makes no sense. Guide your child, teach your child, help your child, push your child, encourage your child, but don’t carve away the natural desire that God instilled in us to seek knowledge. One way humans are unique is the fact that we seek knowledge. I believe one of the results of a secular, institutionalized school setting is that our society is wrenching the desire to learn out of kids instead of helping them develop a thirst for it.