Pre K-2nd Grade

Pre-Kindergarten Reading

What Do I Need To Know About My Child’s Education?

Children in a pre-kindergarten program should be able to show the following language and literacy skills before starting kindergarten. Many skills are worked on throughout the year. We know that child development happens in stages. We expect pre-kindergarten children to master the following skills in an expected sequence.

Listening to and understanding speech

  • First your child responds with actions or words to a direction or question.
  • Then your child fills in a word or phrase when listening to a story, rhyme or narrative.
  • Then your child comments or asks a question when listening to a story, rhyme or narrative.
  • Then your child adds to a conversation.
  • Finally, your child masters pre-kindergarten speech goals by taking three or more turns in a conversation.

Using vocabulary

  • First your child talks about people or objects that are close by.
  • Then she talks about people who are not present.
  • Then she uses vocabulary for a specific topic (uses words such as cast, reel, pole, hook and bait while talking about fishing).
  • Then she uses two or more words to describe something ("The dog had floppy brown ears").
  • Finally, she masters pre-kindergarten vocabulary goals by asking about the meaning of an unknown word (What do you mean by “pucker’?).

Using complex patterns of speech

  • First your child uses words and phrases when speaking.
  • Then he uses a sentence with four or more words ("I see Holly’s mom.").
  • Then he uses two or more simple sentences in a row ("Let’s count the blocks. Let’s count the red ones first, then the blue.").
  • Then he uses more than one subject or object in a sentence ("Jim and Kiara made a robot, castle and a dragon!").
  • Finally, he masters pre-kindergarten goals for complex patterns of speech by using a sentence beginning with when, if, because or since ("When you’re finished using the squirter, I want it.").

Showing awareness of sounds in words

  • First your child makes the sound of an animal, vehicle or some familiar sound during play.
  • Then she joins in saying or repeating a rhyme or words that start with the same sound (red, red, robin).
  • Then she rhymes one word with another or makes up a sentence that includes a rhyme ("a tree on my knee," "Lisa is a nisa").
  • Then she says two or more words beginning with the same sound (pointing to the message board: “Hey, Bryan and baby both have /b/.” (Letters shown between lines, such as /m/, represent the sound that the letter makes).
  • Finally, she masters the pre-kindergarten sound awareness goal by saying two or more words that start with the same sound ("Here’s an idea for a funny name: Super Silly Sammy!").

Demonstrating knowledge about books

  • First your child shows interest when a book is read aloud.
  • Then he holds a book right-side up, turns the pages and looks at them.
  • Then he asks to be read to by another person.
  • Then he tells a story related to the pictures while looking at the pictures in a book.
  • Finally, he masters pre-kindergarten book knowledge goals by pointing to the words in a book while telling or reading the story.

Using letter names and sounds

  • First your child says or sings letters.
  • Then she names three or more alphabet letters she is looking at or using.
  • Then she makes the sound of a letter in a word she is looking at or using ("I have a /j/, /j/ for Josh."-Letters shown between lines, such as /m/, represent the sound that the letter makes).
  • Then she reaches pre-kindergarten goal of naming 18 upper case and 15 lower case letters. 
  • Finally, she masters pre-kindergarten letter names and sounds goals by saying a word and identifying the beginning letter or sound (At sign in, Maggie writes her name and says, “mmmmmmm for Maggie. That’s my M, mmmmmmmmm”.).


  • First your child uses a word to name multiple objects (refers to all trucks as “daddy’s truck”).
  • Then he says what a picture or symbol stands for (knows that the golden arches mean McDonalds).
  • Then he calls attention to print ("What does this say? I see some letters.").
  • Then he reads a word (such as mom, dad, stop, exit or dog).
  • Finally, he masters pre-kindergarten reading goals by reading a phrase or sentence ("I love you," "Art Area").


  • First your child writes using pictures or squiggles.
  • Then she uses materials to make a recognizable letter (clay, wire, sticks).
  • Then she writes two or more recognizable letters.
  • Then she writes a series of letters, “reads” them or asks someone to read the letters.
  • Finally, she masters pre-kindergarten writing goals by writing a sentence using two or more words.