• Writes name from memory – all letters written correctly most of the time and in correct order.
  • Draws shapes and simple pictures – can draw more shapes from memory and create simple recognizable pictures, such as a person, house or sun.
  • Uses fingers to grasp a pencil – uses fingertips, more like adults, to grasp a pencil, rather than using his whole hand.
  • Shows clear left- or right-handedness – definitely prefers one hand for writing, drawing and eating.
  • Knows most letters and their sounds.
  • Reads several words and phrases – should be able to remember a growing “bank” of simple words that he sees frequently (the, he, she, this, it, a, an).
  • Sounds out simple words – sounds out and blends sounds for simple consonant and vowel combinations (cat, hat, bag, big, sun, nut).
  • Matches and names words with the same beginning or ending sound (ball/wall; bell/will).
  • Can name words that rhyme when asked – for example, if you ask for a word that rhymes with pig, your child might say dig, big, rig, or a silly word like tig.
  • Uses growing vocabulary and sentence structures – language is becoming more precise and grammar is more and more accurate, such as feet, not foots, or went, not goed.
  • Retells a sequence of recent events – can describe your trip to the zoo or beach or tell you what he did at school today.
  • Read longer stories and have discussions about the characters and events.
  • Encourage your child to write simple lists or notes. Ask him to help make a short grocery or party list, or write a simple thank-you note to a relative.
  • Show how you use reading and writing to accomplish tasks. Show your child how you read a recipe to know how to cook, look in the newspaper for sports scores, or look on the Internet for movie times.
  • Encourage “invented” spelling attempts. Ask your child to figure out the first letter of a word he wants to write. Over time, ask him to write any other letters he thinks may be in a word. Simple invented spelling examples are lo for yellow; tk for truck; wdr for water. The thinking process for invented spelling helps children understand phonics and build writing confidence.
  • Struggles with letter names and sounds.
  • Does not read several words – words that he has seen many times in print (it, the, boy, cat, dog, is).
  • Does not understand rhyming or words that have the same beginning sound – cannot tell you two words that rhyme or start with the same sound.
  • Dislikes reading and writing – complains about school and reading, and avoids reading at home.
  • Struggles with phonics – cannot sound out simple words, even with practice (cat, mat, big, sun).

More Fun Ideas