Helping Your 5-6 Year Old Child Learn To Read

Although many children have well-developed pre-reading skills by the time they start school, the teaching of literacy skills begins in earnest from day one of school.

Speaking and listening, reading and writing are all part of literacy and your child needs to develop all these skills so that they can learn, understand and communicate in an increasingly complex and challenging world.

While some children seemly learn to read overnight, with very little help, most children need plenty of encouragement and guidance before they are flying solo as independent readers.

With a reader coming home in the school bag each day, many parents feel ill-equipped to help their child on the exciting journey to independent reading, but there are many way you can help and encourage your child to become a reader.

Your child will want to read if:

  • There is a choice of things to read: If everything you own has been read a million times and now seems a little young for her, take a trip to the library or perhaps try swapping some much-loved books with a friend.
  • You offer her a variety of texts: Have your child read a recipe to you as you cook, or read the instructions for a board game you’re going to play together, or even the back of a DVD they want to watch. By doing this, they will begin to understand that by reading, they can make a lot happen in their world.
  • You’re not too ambitious: Reading at home with you should be about building confidence in reading – your child has worked hard at school all day mastering new literacy concepts so your time with them shouldn’t be about challenging them further unless they’re keen to move on.
  • You have regular reading times together: The end of the day is often a great time to read together, or a lazy Sunday morning in bed – you can either take turns reading aloud from the same book, or just lie side-by-side reading your own books quietly.


Make sure that you take some time to read for pleasure too. The best way to get your child enthused about reading is for you to model the behaviour you want to see in her. It can also be helpful if they see other family members enjoying reading too.

This article was written by Ella Walsh for Kidspot. Sources include Dept of Education and Training and S.A. Govt’s Parenting and Child Health

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