Is my Child Reading Ready?

How do you know when your pre-schooler is ready for reading? Have a read of Sophie Carter’s (co-founder of hip hop hen) check list to see if your child is “Reading Ready”.


1/ Has your child taken interest in recognising the letters in their name? 


2/ Has your child started to notice letters in signs, logos, cereal packets, menus and number plates?

Check out my "I Spy with my Little Eye" blog for some fun ways to increase your child's vocabulary and help them start to hear and identify sounds in words….


3/ Does your child look through books and magazines on their own?


4/ Does your child like to ‘write’ and hold a pencil?

Learning to read and forming letters go hand-in-hand – a good place to start is with your child’s name – see my ‘Name Blog’ 

hip hop hen's abc letter tracing app – is a great app for learning to recognise and form letters 





5/ Does your child listen attentively at story time?

We have all read books with children when we are distracted as we have masses to do on our 'to-do' list or another child wants our attention etc. etc. and you are praying for the last page of the book to come. If that is the case - it is often best to leave it until another time when you can read at your child's pace - let them ask questions and point out parts of the book that are interesting to them. Block out 10minutes for this special reading time once a day. See the check list below of some of the things you can do when reading with your child.

1. First empower your child to pick the book. Make them feel good about their choice by saying something like - "Great choice - that is one of my favourite books." "Where would you like to read it?"

2. Explore the book in an indepth way. Read the title together and ask your child what they think the book is going to be about. 

3. Make turning the first page a ‘big deal’ and get into the role of story telling. 

4. Ask lots of ‘what do you think will happen next’ questions and see if you can find empathy with the characters in the story. Ask your child if they have ever felt like one of the characters.

5. Maybe don’t read the whole book and save it for the next day or if you finish the book ask your child their favourite character, page. picture, part, etc… 

6. A good way to make your child feel responsible is to let them hold the book and turn the pages. Model turning the pages of the book being repectful of the book - so the child does not tear / scrunch the pages or drop it on the floor. If you finish the book - encourage your child to put the book back on the shelf for another day.

7. The long and the short of it is - the more exciting you make the reading experience the more beneficial it is for the child giving them the best platform to be able to use books to learn. 

8. A ‘book at bedtime’ should be an essential part of a child’s bedtime routine. It settles the child before bed and enriches their imagination.

9. Do not have too many books for you child to choose from. We recommend having five or six age-appropriate books for a child to pick at any one time as often a child will want the same story read to them over and over again. If this is the case - let it happen - as it helps achieve many early learning goals as the child will then naturally complete the sentences in the book and use the characters in the story in role play scenarios... When you child is ready for a few new books - make a big deal of introducing them to them and explore the book together as well as making comparison with the child's 'old' books.


6/ Have you been playing sound listening games?

As you know we live in a noisy world. But, remember to a young child all the sounds are new and often they are hearing them for the first time. Therefore, it is important to play listening games in the world around you to build up the child’s auditory development and listening skills which will help your child identify different sounds to accelerate learning to read.

Whilst out and about ask your child, “What can you hear?” and “What sound does that make?”

Many children’s first words will be jumbled sounds to identify objects, such as bruuum bruuum for car or daa daa for tractor. Encourage your child to listen to sounds when you are at home and outside.

Point out and make sounds such as:

Make your voice go down a slide – wheee! Click castanets – ck ck ck ck ck
Make your voice bounce like a ball – boing, boing Lick lolly pops – ll ll ll
Sound really disappointed – oh Gently moo like a cow – mmoooo
Keep everyone quiet – shshshsh Make a cat noise – meeeow
Sneeze loudly – aachoooo Make the sound of an aeroplane – nnnnnnnn
Look astonished – oooooo! Puff out candles – pp pp ppp
Be a steam train – chchchchch Make an elephant noise – paaaaw
Be a clock – tick tock Growl like a dog with a rag – rrrr rrrr
Make a car noise – bruuum bruuuum Ribbit like a frog – ribbit ribbit
Baaa like a sheep – baa baaa Hiss like a snake – ssssss
Be a police car – neeenooor Toot like a train – toot toot
Make a horse hoof noise – clip clop Tweet like a bird – tweet tweet
Drum on a drum – d d d d d d Tick tock like a clock – tick tock tick tock
Eat hot food – h h h h Vroom like a race car – vroom, vroom
Growl like a monster – grrrrr grrrrr Make wind noises – whooooo whoooo
Squeak like a mouse – ii ii ii ii Woof like a dog – whoof whoop
Make a donkey noise – ee-or ee-or Make large yawns – yawwwn
Oink like a pink – oink oink Buzz like a bumble bee – zzzzzzz


7/ Have you been singing alphabet songs?

Research demonstrates that children who have an understanding of rhyming words have a head-start when learning to read. Check out my “Importance of Singing” blog. 

hip hop hen's award winning - abc flashcard songs app has a rhyming song for each letter of the alphabet.




8/ Has your child spent time making craft letters and craft pictures beginning with the letter sound that you are focusing on?

Such as making a sun when you are learning the letter ‘s’…? Or hiding lots of ‘s’ objects in the bath or sand pit. If your child is at this stage there are masses of learning letters through play ideas online or my Phonics Treasure Hunt blog has some fun ideas…


It is important that your child has a strong foundation knowledge of lots of single letter sounds before starting to read words. 

Most phonics programmes do not teach the letter sounds in the alphabet order 'a' - 'b' - 'c'  - 'd' - 'e' - 'f'…

Instead they start with the ‘s’ - 'a' - 't'     'p'  - 'i' - 'n'…

The reason for this is after a child has learnt some initial single sounds such as ‘s’ - ‘a’ - ‘t’    ‘p’ - ‘i’ - ‘n’…they can blend the letter sounds together to make CVC words such as:

s-a-t   p-i-n   t-i-n   p-a-n   n-a-p   t-a-p   s-i-t    s-i-p….

CVC words are C-onsonant V-owel C-onsonants  - these are the first words that a child learns to read such as c-a-t,  h-e-n,  p-i-g,  d-o-g,  b-u-g. 


9/ Yes yes yes

If the answer is yes to all of the above then your child is ready to start sounding out CVC words. 

CVC words are easy for a child to decode and blend back together to read the word.  After learning some initial sounds (‘s’  ‘a’  ‘t’     ‘p’  ‘i’  ‘n’)  CVC words are considered the simplest words and the starting point of many learning to read phonics programmes. 

I was tutoring a little girl this week who knew all her single letter sounds - so, I introduced some CVC games. Please do not expect your child to be able to read 3 letter CVC words straight away. A good starting point is to have a little white board and write the word: "sat" - sound the word out together and then replace the 's' with a 'c' so the word reads: cat. Keep changing the initial sound of the word - mat - pat - rat - bat - fat - hat.... and sound the words out together.


When sounding out the CVC word  - start slowly - c  -  a  - t   so your child can hear each individual sound in the word - then a little quicker - c-a-t - then quicker still - c.a.t - and if your child is ready for reading - they will say "CAT". At this point - give your child masses of praise - as it is a huge deal that they are reading their first words. If you go through this process and your child can not read the word - that is okay - give them the answer and say practise another word - soon they will pick up what you are doing - and in the mean time - play lots of word building games and matching 3 letter words to pictures... 


If your child is at this stage try hip hop hen's award winning CVC app. It is full of decodable CVC games for your child to build up confidence with learning to read and having a virtual teacher by your side. This CVC app was launched in July 2015 NUMBER 1 KIDS APP on the APPLE APP STORE.





10/ Sophie's final teaching tip

The most successful approach with learning to read is to let your child go at their own pace. Create a text rich enviroment. An easy way to do this is to label parts of your house with your child. If you would like some printable labels - our letter character labels are popular and free to download on our FREE page - click on the FREE button below...



If you have any worries or concerns with introducing your child to reading – feel free to contact me – at and I would be very happy to help answer your questions.





recent posts

The second fundamental pillar of learning to read is reading 3 letter words.

Reading App – Coming Soon

The second fundamental pillar of learning to read is reading 3 letter words. Read more >

Your child’s name is very important to them...

Just a name?

Your child’s name is very important to them... Read more >