Should I Be Concerned?

The goal of Get Ready to Read! is to ensure that all young children become successful early readers. It is important to remember that children take different paths while learning to read. They develop early reading skills at different rates and through different kinds of experiences. For some children, learning to read may seem effortless. Other children may struggle with the same kinds of learning that appears to come naturally to other children their age. It is the responsibility of parents, early childhood professionals and health care providers to observe children carefully and to share information with each other. Sharing information about children's skills and about possible concerns will avoid later frustration if a child shows signs of struggle. It is equally important to seek the help of a qualified early reading professional if there are concerns about a child's development.

We know that the year before kindergarten is a time when children typically show real growth in early literacy development. When looking at a child's score on the Get Ready to Read! screening tool, you should take into account how close the child is to entering kindergarten. Also, be aware of what types of literacy experience he or she has had at home and in other child care settings. If the child is a year away from starting kindergarten and will spend the next year in a literacy-rich early childhood program, a low score on the screening tool shows that he or she is beginning to make progress towards learning to read and write. On the other hand, if the child is just weeks away from kindergarten, a low score may indicate that he or she needs extra help and attention.

The chart below can give you a few ideas about what to do next.

If the child at age 4: I should be concerned that: What I should do is:
Doesn't know the parts of a book or how to use a book
  • The child needs more interactive experiences with books.
  • When you read to the child, talk about the different part of the book (words, pictures, cover, pages, back, and title).
  • Allow the child to hold the book and turn the pages while you read.
  • Let the child explore books on her own.
  • Try our free Print Get Ready to Read! Skill-Building Activities. Choose beginning level cards.
Doesn't recognize any letters of the alphabet
  • Vision and hearing are okay.
  • The child needs more experiences that will help him or her learn the letters of the alphabet.
  • Have vision and hearing checked by child's healthcare provider every year.
  • Help the child learn the letters that are in his or her name.
  • Try our free Print Get Ready to Read! Skill-Building Activities.
  • Look at signs, cereal boxes, etc. Point out letters of the alphabet to the child as you go through your day.
Doesn't know the sounds of the letters of the alphabet.
  • Vision and hearing are okay.
  • The child needs specific, targeted experiences that will help him or her learn letter sounds.
  • There is no need for concern if the child knows only a few letter sounds at age 4.
  • Have vision and hearing checked by child's health care provider every year.
  • Help the child learn the sound at the beginning of his or her name.
Doesn't like to be read to or has difficulty sitting still and paying attention during reading activities.
  • Vision and hearing are okay
  • Choice of book is interesting to child.
  • Subject and vocabulary is age-appropriate
  • Child may be showing the first signs of early reading difficulties
  • Have vision and hearing checked by child's health care provider every year.
  • At reading time, allow child to choose from several books
  • Visit the library
  • Trade books with a friend
  • Share your concerns with child's teacher, care provider or health care professional

This activity is provided by the National Center for Learning Disabilities, Inc. Get Ready to Read!, a program of the National Center for Learning Disabilities, Inc, aims for all preschool children to have the skills they need to learn to read when they enter school. For more information go to Get Ready to Ready!


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