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Families and Literacy:

Reading Checkup for Beginning Readers (Grades K–2)

How are your children developing as readers, and what can you do to help? Use RIF's series of Reading Checkups to evaluate your children’s progress through six stages of reading development, from picture-pointing to independent reading.

Each checkup describes the knowledge and skills that most children demonstrate at a given stage and suggests how they can be nurtured. 

How to Use the Checkups 

Use the reading checkups the way a doctor uses a growth chart. Look for a steady pattern of growth with a few lulls and spurts. That's a healthy sign that your child is doing well in reading.

Age or grade ranges are listed for each checkup, but just as a guide. We recommend that even if your child is already in school, you begin with the Reading Checkup for Babies and Toddlers and work your way forward. That way you will better appreciate the steady growth your child has already made toward becoming an independent reader. 

How Parents Can Help 

Parents play a key role in their children's reading development at every stage. As you mark your child's progress, don't forget to check up on what you can be doing to actively promote your child's interest and skills. 

What Do the Checkups Mean? 

Notice where most of your check marks fall. If your answers are mostly A's, your child may still be making the transition from an earlier stage. If the answers are mostly B's, your child is in the middle of this stage. If you checked mostly C's, your child is probably stepping up to the next level. If you have any concerns about your child's reading progress, talk to your child's teacher or pediatrician. 

Checkup for Beginning Readers:

Beginners stumble over words they don't know, sounding them out or guessing from their use in the sentence. Children in this stage of reading development need to see progress and often learn best through repetition. After rereading a sentence or simple book, they recognize more of the words and read more smoothly. 

Does your child...

1. Try to sound out words? 

a. not yet b. sometimes c. often

2. Guess at a word from its use in the sentence?
a. not yet b. sometimes c. often

3. Use what they know about letter sounds to spell words?
a. not yet b. sometimes c. often

4. Seem eager to read independently?
a. not yet b. sometimes c. often 

Can your child...

1. Read and use punctuation, such as periods and question marks? 

a. not yet b. sometimes c. often

2. Recognize and read familiar words outside of books?
a. not yet b. sometimes c. often

3. Retell a story in specific detail?
a. not yet b. sometimes c. often

4. Reread a sentence or story with expression?
a. not yet b. sometimes c. often 

Not to worry! It's okay if your child...

1. Doesn't notice or correct all mistakes. 

2. Reads without expression. When your child can get past the words and focus on the meaning, expression will follow.

3. Makes logical spelling mistakes. Beginners spell words the way they hear them.

Source: Reading Checkup Guide: Helping Your Children Become Better Readers, developed for "Read Me a Story," a RIF/VISA brochure.

Reading Checkup for Beginning Readers (Grades K–2)