Kindergarten: Reading Milestones
By the end of kindergarten, most children can recognize and write upper and lower case letters. They also learn the sounds associated with most of the letters of the alphabet. Most kindergarteners can tell you that B says "b" and M says "m" and can incorporate letters and sounds into games they play like "The Name Game" and "I Spy." Children typically master consonant sounds before vowel sounds because it is harder to hear the small differences among some vowel sounds.
Most kindergarteners can read some words and simple books. Children in kindergarten recognize some words by sight or by looking at them and recognizing them as wholes. Kindergarteners' "sight words" often include their own names, the names of classmates, and words they use frequently in their writing, such as "Mom," "love, " and "the." They also learn words they see around them, such as "STOP" and "EXIT." Many can read "families" of words such as "cat," "bat," and "mat." By the end of the year, many kindergarteners are able to "read" familiar books by recognizing a few words, remembering what the story says, and looking at the picture.
Kindergarteners learn that writing goes from left to right. They learn that we read to the end of a line and return to the left to read another line. They learn where a printed word begins and ends and learn the difference between a word and a letter. Many can match spoken words to the words in books. They even begin to recognize and learn the purpose of common punctuation marks such as periods and question marks. Having a solid understanding of what print is and the way it works is necessary for learning to read.
Kindergarteners can understand more than just the plot of a story. They are able to extend their thinking and discuss why events happened and why characters acted as they did. They can also make reasonable predictions about what will happen next and relate the story events to events in their own lives. Being able to discuss stories they listen to now will help children make meaning later on when they are able to read independently.
Reprinted with the permission of PBS. © PBS 2003 - 2008, all rights reserved.
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