Learn to read for 3 year olds

Is it Possible? ⋆ Advanced Moms

Can three year olds read?

There is plenty of evidence to prove that three year olds can read. However, this is not the norm. The usual age for a child to start reading is around the age of five.

And there’s nothing wrong with waiting for your child to be older before beginning with reading lessons.

Your child needs to be receptive to learning how to read before you start teaching them how. One way to see how receptive they are is by how they react when you point out words, signs, and labels on objects.

If your child seems very interested in the written word, then it’s time to teach them how, because early reading has numerous benefits.



Is it possible to teach a three year old how to read?



Many studies indicate that it’s possible to teach a three year old how to read.

There are two requirements for success.

The first requirement is the parent needs the child’s attention.

The second requirement is that the parent needs to work with the child regularly to teach them how to read.

It is possible, but it can be difficult for a parent to do this without outside help. You need patience and plenty of one-on-one time with your child.



How to introduce a three year old to reading

Asking how to introduce a three year old to reading is a question that may cause some skepticism. Because it’s believed by many that children this age have not acquired the necessary skills for learning how to read.

There are a few different ways you can approach teaching a three year old how to read. The first step in how you can do this is by focusing on the alphabet. Draw pictures of various objects and write acronyms representing the word alongside them.

For example, an apple would be “a-p-p-l-e.”

Once your child has become familiar with these words, they will be able to learn how to read them on their own.

It is also crucial for parents at this age not to force reading. Let them explore how they want to learn and how they find it enjoyable.

What books should a three year old be reading?

Books are a great way to help stimulate a child’s imagination and interest in reading.

It is vital to make sure that if you’re encouraging your three year old to read, they should be reading age-appropriate books.

If you can find books in the same genre as what your three year old is interested in, that will work wonders for both of you.

Alphabet books

One great thing about alphabet books is that they can be read by a three year old. Alphabet books can also help the three year old learn how to read the different letters from A to Z.

They can also teach how to recognize the letters in written text too.

Rhyming books

The rhyming books can help to reinforce how certain words sound and how they work together.

The books are also fun for three year olds because they are often about topics that they enjoy learning about, like animals or colors.

Picture Books

Picture books are a great way to help a three year old learn how to read. They can also have pictures that the child can identify with.

Whether they’re drawings or photographs, the picture books provide enough text without overwhelming your child.

Short-story board books

The storyboard books are similar to the picture books in how they can help a three year old learn how to read. The difference is that there will be fewer words per page, so it can be easier for a three year old to read.

A short storyboard book can also provide captivating images and unexpected endings.

How can I teach my three year old to read?

Read aloud with your three year old every day

Read aloud with your three year old every day and talk about what you read. Try to have a conversation with your young child.

Look at:

  • how they are listening
  • how long they can participate
  • how they respond
  • how their eyes move
  • how they react
  • how expressive they are while reading or being read to

Here are some of the benefits of reading aloud:

It exposes your child to new vocabulary. This will expand their vocabulary and make it easier for them when they enter school because they will learn how the reading and spelling of words much more easily.

Reading together with a parent is also an opportunity for bonding; storytime after bedtime fosters emotional closeness.

It can also teach how to read aloud and follow spoken words with sounding out letters or symbols on paper.

Reading together teaches children how to listen attentively, which is an essential skill for developing literacy skills.

Even if the child does not become literate in their early years, they should be exposed to books and how things work in the world of reading.

Reading together can help build a child’s self-esteem by helping them understand how important the written word is in their lives.


Phonics is the most effective method of teaching reading.

Phonics is how the letters and letter combinations are used to represent sound. When we read, we don’t see how the words sound when we read them- this can be confusing for younger readers. Phonics helps kids learn how to ‘sound out’ words by recognizing each letter sound and how they correspond with what you hear in words.

Teaching your child how to read using phonics is especially beneficial for beginner readers because it teaches them how the English language works “behind the scenes.”

Phonemic awareness

Phonemic awareness is how we understand how the sounds of language work. To read a word, you need to know how its sounds map to letters and letter combinations representing those sounds (phonics). 

Phonemic awareness teaches how to listen for and understand how words are put together.

This is helpful in reading and can also be beneficial when it comes to writing, spelling, listening, and speaking skills.

 The easiest way to introduce and start teaching your three year old how to read is with a phonics-based learning to read program that focuses primarily on phonemic awareness.

Introduce your little one to sight words

Sight words are the most frequent and common words used in English.

A sight word does not follow any particular phonics pattern, so they’re a bit more challenging to learn how to read than other types of words.

Teach your child popular nursery rhymes

Nursery rhymes are great because they’re short, fun to read, and have lots of repetition. Making it easier for kids to remember how the sound corresponds with letters or letter combinations (phonics).

Letter games

Letter games are a great way to introduce phonics and letter names in an entertaining manner that will stimulate their curiosity about letters, words, and how they work together.

Word Cards

Word cards are an essential tool for teaching a three year old how to read. They are used to teach your child:

  • how to recognize letters
  • how to sound out words
  • how different letters and combinations of letters make certain sounds, how to spell words.

Using word cards can improve a child’s reading speed by increasing their familiarity with more difficult words. 

Beginning readers who can identify words by sight but cannot yet sound out the word independently should begin with phonics flashcards that use only one letter. The child is then shown how each letter sounds when it’s at the beginning of a word and how it changes depending on where in the word it is.

I hope that this article has helped you with how to teach a three year old how to read. It’s not always easy, but it can be done and is so rewarding for both the child and parent.

The benefits will last them their whole life- as they grow, learn new words, write more sentences or start reading books on their own

Try Children Learning Reading Today

Best Way to Teach Reading to a 3-Year-Old Child

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Three-year-old children are usually pretty ready to start learning to read. They want to be just like the big kids and learn how to read the stories for themselves that are read to them.

This is part of their desire for independence and that can be a great learning motivator. The best way to teach reading to kids at this stage is to blend a few fun strategies that work for your child.

I’m going to share with you a few strategies you can use to engage your child in picking up reading skills naturally as you read and play together.

Select Appropriate Books

With kids of this age, you want to use storyboard books along with rhyming books and song books to help him understand how to read.

You want to pick books that he likes and read them together over and over until he’s familiar with the book. Many kids are able to retain words simply because they see them more often. That’s a big way for them to learn reading.

So if your child is bugging you to read a particular story to him for the umpteenth time, do it with enthusiasm.

You also want to make sure that you use plenty of reinforcement outside of books. Point out simple objects or pets in the home and spell them out for your child.

Kaden is 3.5 years old now. Recently he has started to ask me how to spell certain words. I’m not sure if he can assimilate what I’ve spelled for him. But for him to ask me to spell words for him indicates his interest in learning to spell words.

You can take a look at these best books for three-year-old boys and best books for three-year-old girls.

Learn Reading Through Puzzles and Games

At this age, kids also learn how to read through the use of puzzles and word games. Play word games that group together words that rhyme. These words should have the same endings.

You want to start with only three-letter words so that you can build a base of words that are easy for her to grasp. Using simple words, you can create picture cards and letter cards to help her associate the picture with the word, and also to help her understand how these simple words sound when read out loud and look like when spelled out.

For example, you can have two cards, with one being A and the other one T. Put the two together to form AT and make sure that you leave a space in front of the card A. Choose pictures of words that end in AT, such as cat, hat, bat. Place these pictures on the table above where you put the AT letter cards.

Then, using a wooden letter block with the first letter of the picture (for example, C for cat), point to the picture, say “cat” and then put the C block in front of the letter cards AT. This will help your child to learn how to understand simple words.

Use an Effective Phonics Programs

Besides books and word games, you can also use phonics programs. While some parents make their own phonics lessons, you can also find ready-made lessons online that fit your child’s age. What these programs can do with your help is to teach your child how to sound out the words that he reads.

Some words just by how often they’re used are called sight words. Because these words challenge the usual grammar rules, they’re harder for a 3-year-old to sound out, as it won’t come out right. You have to teach your child how to recognize their sounds when he sees common sight words.

You might want to look into Children Learning Reading program, which I’ve used to teach my son to read. I started him on the program when he was 2 years and 3 months old.

Below is a short video showing him reading a story at 3 years old.

What other methods have you found to be very effective in teaching your 3-year-old to read? Do share your tips and strategies with us here so more parents can benefit from your sharing!

How to teach a child to read: techniques from an experienced teacher

At what age should you start teaching a child to read

Speech therapist Naya Speranskaya believes that the optimal age at which you can gradually start learning to read is 5. 5 years.

“But still, the starting point for the first steps in this matter should be not a specific age, but the child himself. There are children who are ready to master the skill as early as 3-4 years old, and there are those who "mature" closer to grade 1. Once I worked with a boy who could not read at 6.5 years old. He knew letters, individual syllables, but he could not read. As soon as we began to study, it became clear that he was absolutely ready for reading, in two months he began to read perfectly in syllables, ”said Speranskaya. nine0005

How to teach a child to read quickly and correctly

The first thing you need to teach your baby is the ability to correlate letters and sounds. “In no case should a child be taught the names of letters, as in the alphabet: “em”, “be”, “ve”. Otherwise, training is doomed to failure. The preschooler will try to apply new knowledge in practice. Instead of reading [mom], he will read [me-a-me-a]. You are tormented by retraining, ”the speech therapist warned.

Therefore, it is important to immediately give the child not the names of the letters, but the sounds they represent. Not [be], but [b], not [em], but [m]. If the consonant is softened by a vowel, then this should be reflected in the pronunciation: [t '], [m'], [v '], etc. nine0005

To help your child remember the graphic symbols of letters, make a letter with him from plasticine, lay it out with buttons, draw with your finger on a saucer with flour or semolina. Color the letters with pencils, draw with water markers on the side of the bathroom.

“At first it will seem to the child that all the letters are similar to each other. These actions will help you learn to distinguish between them faster, ”said the speech therapist.

As soon as the baby remembers the letters and sounds, you can move on to memorizing syllables. nine0005



How to teach your child to join letters into syllables

“Connecting letters into syllables is like learning the multiplication table. You just need to remember these combinations of letters, ”the speech therapist explained.

Naya Speranskaya noted that most of the manuals offer to teach children to read exactly by syllables. When choosing, two nuances should be taken into account:

1. Books should have little text and a lot of pictures.

2. Words in them should not be divided into syllables using large spaces, hyphens, long vertical lines. nine0005

“All this creates visual difficulties in reading. It is difficult for a child to perceive such a word as something whole, it is difficult to “collect” it from different pieces. It is best if there are no extra spaces or other separating characters in the word, and syllables are highlighted with arcs directly below the word, ”the speech therapist explained.

According to Speranskaya, cubes with letters are also suitable for studying syllables - playing with them, the child will quickly remember the combinations.

Another way to gently help your child learn letters and syllables is to print them in large print on paper and hang them all over the apartment. nine0005

“Hang them on the fridge, on the board in the nursery, on the wall in the bathroom. When such leaflets are hung throughout the apartment, you can inadvertently return to them many times a day. Do you wash your hands? Read what is written next to the sink. Is the child waiting for you to give him lunch? Ask him to name which syllables are hanging on the refrigerator. Do a little, but as often as possible. Step by step, the child will learn the syllables, and then slowly begin to read,” the specialist said.

Speranskaya is sure that in this way the child will learn to read much faster than after daily classes, when parents seat the child at the table with the words: “Now we will study reading ...”

“If it is really difficult for you to give up such activities, then pay attention that the nervous system of preschoolers is not yet ripe for long and monotonous lessons. Children spend enormous efforts on the analysis of graphic symbols. Learning to read for them is like learning a very complex cipher. Therefore, it is necessary to observe clear timing in such classes. At 5.5 years old, children are able to hold attention for no more than 10 minutes, at 6.5 years old - 15 minutes. That's how long one lesson should last. And there should be no more than one such “lessons” a day, unless, of course, you want the child to lose motivation for learning even before school,” the speech therapist explained. nine0005

How to properly explain to a child how to divide words into syllables

When teaching a child to divide words into syllables, use a pencil. Mark syllables with a pencil using arcs.



“Take the word dinosaur. It can be divided into three syllables: "di", "but", "zavr". The child will read the first syllables without difficulty, but it will be difficult for him to master the third. The kid cannot look at three or four letters at once. Therefore, I propose to teach to read not entirely by syllables, but by the so-called syllables. This is when we learn to read combinations of consonants and vowels, and we read the consonants separately. For example, we will read the word "dinosaur" like this: "di" "but" "for" "in" "p" The last two letters are read separately from "for". If you immediately teach a child to read by syllables, he will quickly master complex words and move on to fluent reading, ”the speech therapist is sure. nine0005

In a text, syllables can be labeled in much the same way as syllables. Vowel + consonant with the help of an arc, and a separate consonant with the help of a dot.

Naya Speranskaya gave parents a recommendation to memorize syllables/syllable fusions for as long as possible, and move on to texts only when the child suggests it himself.

“If a preschooler is not eager to read, then there is no need to put pressure on him. Automate syllables. Take your time. Learning should take place gradually, from simple to complex. The reading technique develops over time, ”added Speranskaya. nine0005

Another important clarification from the speech therapist: when the child begins to read words and then sentences, parents need to clarify the meaning of what they read.

“The child reads the word “mom”, after that you ask the question: “what does it mean that you just read it”,” the speech therapist shared, “It is necessary that the child not only reads well, but also feels the meaning of what he read. Unfortunately, it is not uncommon to meet children who “spell” entire texts, but are not able to explain what they are about.” nine0005

Naya Speranskaya recommended the following manuals for home schooling:

1. A book to start learning to read - a set of Bezrukov O. A. Kalenkova O. N. "Lessons of Russian literacy", publishing house "Russian Rech"
2. Posters for teaching reading and letter of V. G. Dmitriev, publishing house "AST"
3. "Come on, letter, respond!" Kolesnikova E.V., workbook
4. Books from the series "We read ourselves" by the publishing house "Vakosha"

How to teach a child to read: important rules and effective methods

October 26, 2022 Likbez Education

Teaching a preschooler to read without losing interest in books is real. Lifehacker has selected the best ways for responsible parents.

How to understand that it is time to teach a child to read

There are several signs of psychological readiness.

  1. The child speaks fluently in sentences and understands the meaning of what is said.
  2. The child understands directions: left-right, up-down. For learning to read, it is important that the baby can follow the text from left to right and from top to bottom. nine0085
  3. The child distinguishes sounds (what speech therapists call developed phonemic hearing). Simply put, the baby will easily understand by ear where the house and the bow are, and where the tom and the hatch are.
  4. Your child pronounces all the sounds and has no speech problems.

Natalya Zharikova

Speech therapist teacher with 33 years of experience

A child with speech therapy problems does not hear and does not distinguish similar sounds. From here come errors with speech, and subsequently with reading, and even more often with writing. It is very difficult for a parent to identify violations on their own, so usually a teacher or a speech therapist can point this out to them. nine0005

How to teach your child to read

Be patient and follow these simple guidelines.

Set an example

In a family where there is a culture and tradition of reading, children themselves will reach for books. Read not because it is necessary and useful, but because it is a pleasure for you.

Read together and discuss

Read aloud to the child, and then look at the pictures together, encouraging interaction with the book: “Who is this drawn? Can you show me the cat's ears? And who is that standing next to her?” Older children can be asked more difficult questions: “Why did he do this? What do you think will happen next?" nine0005

Don't learn the letters as they are called in the alphabet

Instead, help your child remember the sound the letter makes. For example, you show the letter "m" and say: "This is the letter m (not em )". If a child memorizes the alphabetic names of letters ( em , es, ef and so on), it will be quite difficult for him to learn to read. Then, when he sees the word ra-ma in the book, he will try to pronounce er-a-um-ah .

Go from easy to hard

Once the child has memorized a few letters (from 2 to 5) and the sounds they represent, move on to syllables. Let the words consisting of repeating syllables be the first: ma-ma, pa-pa, uncle, nanny . In this case, it is not necessary to break the syllable into separate sounds. Do not say: "These are the letters m and a , and together they read ma ". Immediately learn that the syllable is pronounced like ma , otherwise the baby may start to read letter by letter. After mastering simple combinations, move on to more complex ones: ko‑t, zhu‑k, house .

Help to understand the meaning of what they read

Do this when the child begins to slowly but surely reproduce words and whole sentences in syllables. For example, the kid read: "Mom washed the frame." Stop and ask: “What did you just read about?”. If he finds it difficult to answer, let him read the sentence again. And you ask more specific questions: “Who washed the frame? What did mom wash?

Show that letters are everywhere

Play a game. Let the child find the letters that surround him on the street and at home. These are the names of stores, and memos on information stands, and advertising on billboards, and even traffic light messages: it happens that the inscription “Go” lights up on green, and “Wait so many seconds” on red. nine0005


And play again. Stack blocks with letters and syllables, make up words, ask your child to read you some kind of sign or inscription on the packaging in the store.

Natalya Zharikova

There are many exercises for memorizing letters. For example, circle the desired letter among a number of others, circle the correctly written among the incorrect ones, color or shade. You can also ask the child to tell what the letter looks like.

Use every opportunity to train

Whether you are waiting in line at the clinic or driving somewhere, take out a book with pictures and short stories to them and invite your child to read together.

Build on your success

Repeat familiar texts, look for familiar characters in new stories. Runaway Bunny is found both in "Teremka" and "Kolobok".

Do not force

This is perhaps the most important thing. Don't take away a child's childhood. Learning should not go through violence and tears. nine0005

What techniques to use to teach your child to read

Here are six popular, affordable and effective techniques. Choose one or try several and choose the one that interests your child the most.

1. ABCs and primers

Frame: This is all mine / YouTube

Traditional, but the longest way. The difference between these books is that the alphabet fixes each letter with a mnemonic picture: on the page with B a drum will be drawn, and next to Yu - Yula. The alphabet helps to remember letters and often interesting rhymes, but will not teach you how to read.

The primer consistently teaches the child to combine sounds into syllables, and syllables into words. This process is not easy and requires perseverance.

There are quite a lot of author's primers now. According to the books of Nadezhda Betenkova, Vseslav Goretsky, Dmitry Fonin, Natalya Pavlova, children can study both with their parents before school and in the first grade.

Parents agree that one of the most understandable methods for teaching preschoolers is Nadezhda Zhukova's primer. The author simply explains the most difficult thing for a child: how to turn letters into syllables, how to read ma-ma rather than start calling individual letters me-a-me-a .

2. Zaitsev's Cubes

Shot: Little Socrates / YouTube

If a child consistently learns letters and syllables while learning from an ABC book, then in 52 Zaitsev's Cubes he is given access to everything at once: a single letter or combinations of consonant and vowel, consonant and hard or soft sign.

The child effortlessly learns the differences between voiceless and voiced sounds, because the cubes with voiceless consonants are filled with wood, and the cubes with voiced consonants are filled with metal. nine0005

The cubes also differ in size. The large ones depict hard warehouses, the small ones - soft ones. The author of the technique explains this by the fact that when we pronounce to (hard warehouse), the mouth opens wide, or (soft warehouse) - lips in a half smile.

The set includes tables with warehouses that the parent sings (yes, he doesn’t speak, but sings).

The child quickly masters warehouse reading with the help of cubes. But there are also disadvantages: he may begin to swallow endings and face difficulties already at school when parsing a word by composition. nine0005


"Skladushki" and "Teremki" by Vyacheslav Voskobovich Shot: Games and Toys Club / YouTube

In "Skladushki" Vyacheslav Voskobovich reworked Zaitsev's idea: 21 cards show all the warehouses of the Russian language with nice thematic pictures. Included is a CD with songs, the texts of which go under each picture.

Folders are great for kids who like looking at pictures. Each of them is an occasion to discuss with the child where the kitten is, what the puppy is doing, where the beetle flew. nine0005

It is possible to teach a child with these cards from the age of three. At the same time, it should be noted that the author of the methodology himself does not consider it necessary to force early development.

Voskobovich's "Teremki" consist of 12 wooden cubes with consonants and 12 cardboard cubes with vowels. First, the child gets acquainted with the alphabet and tries with the help of parents to come up with words that begin with each of the letters.

Then it's time to study the syllables. In the tower with the letter M is embedded A - and the first syllable is ma . From several towers you can lay out words. Learning is based on play. So, when replacing the vowel , the house will turn into smoke .

You can start playing tower blocks from the age of two. At the same time, parents will not be left alone with the cubes: the kit includes a manual with a detailed description of the methodology and game options.

4. Chaplygin's dynamic cubes

Shot: Both a boy and a girl! Children's channel - We are twins / YouTube

Evgeny Chaplygin's manual includes 10 cubes and 10 moving blocks. Each dynamic block consists of a pair - a consonant and a vowel. The task of the child is to twist the cubes and find a pair.

At the initial stage, as with any other method of learning to read in warehouses, the child makes the simplest words from repeating syllables: ma-ma, pa-pa, ba-ba . The involved motor skills help to quickly remember the shape of the letters, and the search for already familiar syllables turns into an exciting game. The cubes are accompanied by a manual describing the methodology and words that can be composed. nine0005

The optimal age for classes is 4-5 years. You can start earlier, but only in the game format.

5. Doman's cards

Frame: My little star / YouTube

American doctor Glenn Doman suggests teaching children not individual letters or even syllables, but whole words. Parents name and show the child the words on the cards for 1-2 seconds. In this case, the baby is not required to repeat what he heard.

Classes start with 15 cards with the simplest concepts like female and male . Gradually, the number of words increases, those already learned leave the set, and the child begins to study phrases: for example, color + object, size + object.

How can one understand that a child has understood and memorized the visual image of a word, if the author of the methodology recommends starting classes from birth? Glenn Doman in "The Harmonious Development of the Child" strongly emphasizes that it is not necessary to arrange tests and checks for the child: kids do not like this and lose interest in classes. nine0005

It's better to remember 50 cards out of 100 than 10 out of 10.

Glenn Doman

But given that parents can't help but check, he advises the child to play the game if they are willing and ready. For example, you can put a few cards and ask to bring one or point to it.

Today, psychologists, neurophysiologists and pediatricians agree that the Doman method is aimed not at teaching reading, but at mechanical memorization of visual images of words. The child turns out to be an object of learning and is almost deprived of the opportunity to learn something on his own. nine0005

It is also worth adding: in order to proceed to the stage of reading according to Doman, parents need to prepare cards with all (!) words that are found in a particular book.

6. Montessori method

Photo: Kolpakova Daria / Shutterstock

Montessori reading comes from the opposite: first we write and only then we read. Letters are the same pictures, so you first need to learn how to draw them and only then engage in pronunciation and reading. Children begin by tracing and shading the letters, and through this, they memorize their outline. When several vowels and consonants have been studied, they move on to the first simple words. nine0005

Much attention is paid to the tactile component, so children can literally touch the alphabet cut out of rough or velvety paper.

The value of the method lies in learning through play. So, you can put a rough letter and a plate of semolina in front of the child and offer to first circle the sign with your finger, and then repeat this on the semolina.

The challenge for parents is purchasing or stocking up a significant amount of handouts. But you can try to make cards with your own hands from cardboard and sandpaper. nine0005

What's the result

On the Internet and on posters advertising "educators", you will be offered ultramodern methods of teaching your child to read at three, two or even from birth. But let's be realistic: a happy mother is needed a year, not developmental activities.

The authors of the methods as one insist that the most natural learning process for a child is through play, and not through classes in which the parent plays the role of a strict controller. Your main assistant in learning is the curiosity of the child himself.

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