Reading Goals for Kindergartners

It is very helpful to understand what teachers are striving to achieve as they work with your child. Once you know where the teacher is headed, you will be able to reinforce the lessons and help your child grasp new concepts. Children in the earliest school years are often at very different achievement levels with regard to reading skills. You may look at this listing and think, “Charlie can do most of that already!” If so, Charlie will feel more comfortable in school and will be able to work on the next level of skills. If not, Charlie will benefit from your understanding of what he should be learning.

Alphabet goals.

  • Knows shapes and names of letters.
  • Writes many uppercase and lowercase letters on his own.
  • Sounds out letters.
  • Uses what he knows to sound out and write down words.
  • Can write down letters as they are said to him.

Word Recognition goals.

  • Knows the order of letters in a written word stands for the order of sounds in the spoken word.
  • Knows some common words on sight like a, the, I, you.
  • Can tell when words begin with the same sound.
  • Recognizes and makes rhymes.
  • Knows and uses words for colors, shapes, numbers, family members, home (kitchen, bathroom, bed, etc).
  • Writes his own first and last name and the first names of some friends and family.
  • Plays with words and uses new words in his own speech.

Book-related goals.

  • Knows the parts of a book.
  • Knows an author writes the words and an illustrator draws the pictures.
  • Knows the words usually convey the main message of a book, not the pictures.
  • Predicts what will happen in a story and can retell the story.
  • Knows the difference between “made up” stories and “real” nonfiction books.
  • Knows the difference between a story and a poem.

As you read through the Kindergartner goals, you may find your child has mastered some of these goals. Tailor your reading interaction to exercise those goals not yet mastered. But remember, you will have the best effect if you make reading a fun activity rather than a chore. Play alphabet and word games as part of your everyday living activities.

Model the love of reading in your own behavior. Choose books which interest the child. Do not make every reading session a quiz show for your child. Instead choose to read books which let you cuddle up together and enjoy a good story. Have your child turn the pages. Rather than forcing a conversation about the story, let it arise naturally. Make it OK for the child to drift off if they are sleepy. Don’t push too hard.

The earlier you start to read out loud to your child, the better. This is especially true if you are not a strong reader. Not only will you be helping your child learn to read, you will be practicing your own reading skills and strengthening them. You can also listen to books on tape or CD while you and your child follow along with the book.

If you have several children include all of them in the reading time. This is not a competition but a relaxing, fun time to enjoy a good story. With that mindset, every child will benefit from the experience and look forward to story hour.

When your child has mastered all of the goals mentioned here, advance to the reading goals for First Graders.

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