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How to Teach a 3 Year Old to Read

Literacy development starts very early on in life, and helps to build the foundation with which children learn to read and write. It is a well known fact, supported by strong scientific evidence, that children with more exposure to language and literacy development early on will have better chances to succeed at reading. Because of this, it is important for parents and caregivers to provide a literacy rich environment that provides plenty of reading opportunities that encourage and motivate the child to develop reading skills.

To achieve this, parents can:

  • Read aloud to children on a daily basis
  • Hold babies and toddlers while reading to them
  • Use reading material that have rhyme and rhythm, such as nursery rhymes
  • Provide a literacy rich environment with plenty of interesting and fun to read storybooks
  • Talk about and discuss the stories, and encourage the child to retell the stories they've just heard
  • Become a positive role model by reading often yourself
  • Develop a daily reading routine with your child

At what age can you formally begin to give a child some reading lessons to teach them to read? Age two, 3, 4, pre-school, kindergarten, or grade 1?

Search around and you'll get a mixed bag of answers; however, from our experience, you can begin teaching a child to read as soon as they are able to speak clearly. So teaching a 2 or 3 year old child to read is entirely possible, and in fact, we have taught all of our children to read before they turned 3 years old.

Teaching a Three Year Old to Read

Many will undoubtedly wonder "can you really teach a 3 year old to read?" The answer to that question is an emphatic YES. Please watch the short video clip below:


As you can see, it's not only possible for a 2 or 3 year old to learn to read, but it's also possible for small toddlers to develop very exceptional decoding and reading skills. So how do you go about teaching a 3 year old to read? To do this, you need a simple, but comprehensive reading program that helps the young child develop phonemic awareness and through the use of systematic and explicit phonics. Phonemic awareness is a powerful predictor of one's ability to learn to read, and it involves an active manipulation and working with the phonemes (individual sounds) that combine to form words.

The ultimate goal is to help the child develop the ability to decode fluently and effortlessly, which allows them to become skillful readers. This requires a systematic approach to learning phonics where the reading program gradually builds up from the most basic elements.  Phonemic awareness and phonics can be taught simultaneously, and there is usually an additive benefit of teaching the two together.

Our Children Learning Reading program is a very simple, comprehensive, and step-by-step program that combines the teaching of phonemic awareness with systematic phonics. Exercises are included starting with the very first lesson that allows you to start helping your child develop phonemic awareness, and at the same time, the phonics aspect of our reading program is systematic, and follows a very logical and sequential order of learning.

To learn more about our super simple and effective reading program, please click here to watch a short presentation.


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