It depends on the child and his/her intelligence and upbringing. Some read as early as age 3 or 4, and others may not read until age 6. Children learn to read the same way they learn to do most other things as they develop–in small, progressive steps. Children learn their ABCs in preschool (or sooner, if parents choose to teach them). They learn to spell their names, and even a few small words like cat and dog. In kindergarten and first grade, they really begin learning to read and write lots of new words and they can read simple sentences. Once children have mastered short and long vowels and consonant clusters, reading really takes off. First and second grade children can read sentences, paragraphs, and eventually short stories. Obviously, at this stage, they can comprehend the meaning of the stories, but they lack the capability to analyze or synthesize information.
The best way to get children to read is to read to them. It’s never too early. Reading to babies is extremely stimulating, and toddlers are very curious and will often point to pictures, inquire about words, etc. When children become familiar and comfortable with reading and handling books, they are more likely to feel inclined to read them.
A child on average can start reading some words by the age of 4. Although this varies depending on the gender as well.
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