Should a 5-year-old know how to read?

What age should a child know how to fully read? they want to hold back my 5 year old in kindergarten because she cannot read “on level”… do they really read at this age?


Help a mama out and respond anonymously on our forum. Should a 5-year-old know how to read?

My 5 yo couldn’t read .

No 5 they just start school by 3rd grade they should be able to read some sentence’s

1 Like

Yup. All my kids came out of Lundy reading. In az they have to know so many words by the end of the school year.

My son is 6 and is an amazing reader. But when he was 5 he could barely read at all :sweat_smile:

In WA they expect kindys to be reading simple sentences. My daughter has adhd and has struggled but now end of first grade she is starting to take off

Yes absolutely. My 5yo was reading over 200 words and extremely easy sentences. Age 6 was 350 words and whole children’s books on her own with very little help.

You can say no to holding her back.

My 7 year old is going into the 2nd grade & he can read very little. Kindergarten is mainly for learning abcs & 123s.

It depends what the curriculum is in your area, here in the UK most 5 year old should read simple sentences such as “I can see mum and dad.” “They boy/girl has a bike.” Key words made into a short sentences though we don’t hold kids back a year if they aren’t at that level we offer more support.

Is holding your child back really going to benefit him/her?

1 Like

In kindergarten they learn sight words and read kindergarten level books, so yes,they can read. My daughter just finished 1st grade and she reads very well.

Start with letters and sounds. Can’t do reading and writing without letters and sounds.

1 Like

My son is 6 and a great reader just plz remember all kids go at thier own pace so I wouldn’t worry to much xx

1 Like

My 5 year old is an amazing reader and writer has been for a little while now

Yes absolutely, that’s the whole point of school is to teach them how to read and write


Don’t let them hold your child back!

1 Like

He may just need a different teacher to teach your baby x

No. My 5yo can’t read. He should know sight words. Meaning knows them by sight in my experience memory of what it looks like. my husbands 6yo for instance knows the word say by sight…but give him way, day, hay…he’s lost and has no clue what the word is. Now the 5yo can do addition and subtraction that is beyond kindergarten, But we are holding him back because he was too young and wasn’t mature enough to show enough progress to pass. So I look at it as instead of spending 300/mo on half day Pre-K…I sent him to kinder (free) and he got the same knowledge.

1 Like

I was the only kid in my kindergarten class that could read at the start of school

Moving up might give them a teacher they feel more confident with and increase their reading skills as a result, seems a bit extreme to hold them back over reading in kindergarden.

My 5 yr old is just learning sight words and phonics. I wouldn’t be too concerned

1 Like

My 7 yr old and 8 yr old can’t “fully” read yet either. Depends what you call fully read


I did and my kids did. I grew up an only child. I got bored easily so reading was one of my favorite pastimes. When my kids were very small, one of our favorite things to do was to go to the library and I would let them each pick out a few books. They were pre-schoolers. They would pick out some kids’ books and my son, who has always been a dinosaur fan, would go to the adult science section and pick out a book on dinosaurs. We would take the books home and we would get a blanket and pile down on the living room floor and I would read to them. As time went on, I would ask them if they knew any of the words in the kids’ books and they got so they could read to me. The adult science book was saved for last. My son would pick out the parts he wanted to hear and I would read those to him. By the time he was three, he knew the scientific names of all the main dinosaurs, where they lived, and what they ate. He also excelled at art and could draw them all. He got to be a really good writer too. He won a regional writing award. My daughter got to be a really good reader too and likes to write poetry. Yes, a 5 year old will have a better chance of success if they are an early reader. My kids still like to read. I still like to read. My book collection isn’t nearly what it used to be. Once, I had to move in a hurry and had to leave most of my James Rollins collection behind. I only have one of his books left. He’s one of my favorite writers. I also have lost all but one of my Clive Cussler collection. Even so, I still have quite a few books. But, on a Saturday, make it a point to take your daughter to the library. Let her pick out a couple of books, take her home, and introduce her to pleasure reading. Show her that you can read for the fun of it. Show her how to really get into the story. Help her learn how to recognize words, sound out words by the sounds the letters make. Tell her not to try so hard. To have fun with it. If she’s still having problems, you may want to have her tested for dyslexia.


My little girl was reading alot at 5, pretty normal here in the UK, they are reading at age 4, onto short on level books at 4.

I’m in Australia (don’t know where you are) but they will not hold back a child for this due to the negative effect socially etc if she needs some extra support or help the school needs to provide that to the child, holding the child back has far more negatives than positives not to mention that ‘levels’ of learning and comprehension etc are guidelines not absolutes. Schooling also isn’t compulsory until the year they turn 6 here.


Sometimes it takes longer for it to click in to place for some kids. If the teachers who interact with your child and evaluate her skills everyday recommend another year of kindergarten I would go with their recommendation. Reading is the foundation of all learning. Without a strong foundation, there will be needless struggle and frustration for your child. Put aside your ego, do what’s best for your child. The teacher isn’t recommending a second year for nothing.


I’m in New Zealand. My now 15 year old could do sight words at 5 and made steady progress with reading . He become above average and is what I call a super nerd . My 9 year old who has ADAHD is two years behind in reading and writing . Each child is different. I have held him back this year.

1 Like

Kids are different. My now 12 year old couldn’t read properly until around 8. My 6yo started reading Roald Dahl at 5. :tipping_hand_woman:t2:

I am afraid they’re gonna hold my son in grade 1 because of that very reason. I hope not and I hope he starts to read soon.

My son is 6 and just got out of kindergarten. He can do his sight words, struggled for most of the year with phonics but he reads above grade level which still confuses me on how he is above level on almost everything besides Phonics which I thought was hand in hand with reading

It’s better to hold them back early in their school career than to watch them struggle and possibly get left behind when they are older. My daughter repeated pre k before moving on to kindergarten because she wasn’t socially or emotionally ready for kindergarten. Best decision ever.


l get paid over $ 155 per hour working from home. l never thought I’d be able to do it but my buddy makes over $ 17458 a month doing this and she convinced me to try. The possibility with this is endless.

Go to This.

They probably just want the child to have a solid foundation to build on going forward. I wouldn’t let my child be held back in Kindergarten because it isn’t even a required grade. Technically school starts at 1st.


Is your child struggling in other areas also, or only reading? You can work with them over the summer and get them on level if reading is the only issue. However if there are others, like not being emotionally ready, or other academic reasons, holding them back may be beneficial for them.

1 Like

All children are diffrent though… my daughter was very much academically advanced so she did everything fast… my other boys took awhile… my now 6yr old son can’t really read what I find is he crams the words to the book cuz he only reads the pages in order… he spells very well and is good at maths… I don’t force the reading point… I go with the flow… even if some kids his age read very well.
I’m happy for them but I won’t compare my child learning abilities to any other child…

I would listen to the teacher. One more year of kindergarten is not a bad idea.

I wouldnt hold my child back in kindergarten. I did 2 of my kids and totally regret it. I have a set of irish twins, they are both in 3rd grade, the younger one reads, the older one is struggling big time and only on reading level for a first grader, she was just diagnosed with dyslexia. We knew at a very young age she wasnt learning like our other children, got her tested for special ed in kindergarten and was told she was just immature and needed another year in kindergarten, so I allowed it. Now they wanted to hold her back again in 3rd grade, no I dont think so. I would just work on sight words and ask the teacher to show you examples of the reading the child should be doing and say you dont want to have a repeat kindergartener. I regret holding mine back.

I had my son reading by 4 years old . Granted they were kids books. So yes they should have a basic reading level by 5

Omg my nephew who is 6 is only just starting to spell the likes of cat and bat etc… I think they expect to much out of children if they expect them to read at 5. Let them learn the words first like my nephew is doing xx

1 Like

Then the teacher isn’t doing a good job time for her to have a review with you and the school

It’s ok to get a second opinion! But if they agree too do what’s best for your kid. Humans can be wrong but I have really met a teacher in kinder that didn’t want what’s best. It will be a constant struggle for them if you push they get over and they aren’t ready.

My advice, listen to them. My pre-teen has been behind in reading just as long and it’s been a HUGE struggle getting him caught up, see if there’s a split class sort of deal they could do rather than just holding her back completely, but it will easier on both of you if you allow her the chance to get up to level. It takes a conscience effort at home too, though.

1 Like

Where we live they have to know a minimum of 100 sight words to “pass” kindergarten and be reading simple 10-12 page books.


I Get Paid 0ver $ 112 per hour w0rking from h0me. I never thought l’d be able to d0 it but my c0lleague makes over $ 13787 a m0nth doing this and she c0nvinced me t0 try. The p0ssibility with this is limitless.


My grandsons 12, his mom did parent teacher meeting virtually. He can read but not great. He CAN NOT write legible. I heard his teacher say he can’t write but I think it’s okay since everything is typed now!!! Are you flipping kidding me?
My13 yr old grandaughter with differant teacher, parents and school can’t read well. We noticed covid kids don’t have homework for past 2 years. Its. Crazy!


My son did 2 years of kindergarten. Better to hold him back now then when older and everyone actually knows. Some kids just need more time learning and there is nothing wrong with that.


My oldest two (14 &10 now) were both reading in kindergarten. My next son will be 7 in Augyst and still can’t read. He’ll be repeating first grade next school year. I wanted to keep him in kindergarten, but my FIL didn’t agree, so he went onto first grade. I’ve always heard It’s important to hold them back a year, if needed, while they’re still young.

l get paid over $177 per hour working from home. l never thought I’d be able to do it but my buddy makes over $18664 a month doing this and she convinced me to try. The possibility with this is endless.

M0re Info.

Yea to a degree. Mostly sight words and kindergarten aged books very simple stuff


Yes, my son could read upon entering kindergarten.

Obviously, every kid learns at a different pace. But, I know there are certain criteria they want kindergartners to reach before allowing them to advance to the next grade. If they aren’t fluent in the basics, it’ll be much harder for them to learn what they need to know for the following grade. Usually they need to know a good amount of “sight words”, letter sounds, and being able to identify both upper and lowercase letters. All important things to gain more independence for reading. Did you talk with your child’s teacher about why she/he feels your child should do another year of kindergarten? Honestly, it may be beneficial to give them another year to just work on those basics before they struggle even more in the following grade.

I Get Paid 0ver $ 112 per hour w0rking from h0me. I never thought l’d be able to do it but my colleague makes over $ 13697 a m0nth doing this and she convinced me to try. The p0ssibility with this is limitless.


My oldest could not read in Kindergarten. He was held back. In fact, the school told me he was learning disabled in Reading…up until he started pretty much maxing out all of his reading tests. Fast forward to now, he’s in college to be an Engineer. It’s ok if your kid takes their time.


Every kid learns differently my son started reading when he was 2 he is 5 now. My nephew who is 2 weeks younger than my son can’t read yet. My nephew makes friends easily and is very outgoing. My son struggles to make friends and is very introverted. My son would rather play with seek and find books or legos. My nephew turns everything into a toy. If you are concerned have you tried a tutor? I know it sounds silly for a 5 year old but it may help if you have someone willing to work with the child on the things they’ve been struggling with.

1 Like

My son just finished Kindergarten and needed to learn the first 100 sight words before moving onto 1st grade. Your daughter will be behind in 1st grade if she doesn’t know them now. It’s crazy how Kindergarten has changed and what is expected from them now.

1 Like

No. A child should be allowed to develop at their own pace. This is one thing wrong with public school. Every child develops at their own pace.


Happened to my son 15 years ago. I was shocked. That summer I bought sight word flash cards and taught him 100 sight words over the summer. Once he learned the sight words, we would use the cards to make sentences. I also taught him the months of the yeat,his address, and a few other things that they required.
I gave him $1 for every sight word that he learned. That made it fun and challenging for him!
The school tested him the week before school started. He made a 97 on their tests and he was able to advance to 1st grade.


By reading “on level” it doesn’t mean chapter books. That’s why through the school year they give you the list of sight words they’ll be working on. That’s their goal by the end of the year. They need to be able to recognize them. My son is doing summer school to help him be more prepared for 1st. He passed, but barely. I was held back at kindergarten, I don’t even remember it. But my mother said she believes it was the best decision for me. If that’s what the teacher suggests I would agree to it.


All kids are different. My son is 3 and can read a sentence with small words like this is a cat or I went to the playground. They do teach it once school starts.

1 Like

At the end of kinder, they should be able to recognize the sight words atleast. If mine was really behind, I would’ve held them back. In our school by the end of kinder, most have a basic understanding of reading.

1 Like

That’s crazy to hold back a kindergartner. Imo

1 Like

And now I’m even more nervous sending my fresh 5 year old to kindergarten. 100 sight words by the end of the year? I’ve been working on his name and simple things but I guess I need to up my game

My 6 year old just finished Kindergarten and still cannot read. He knows some sight words and can sounds some words out. Other kids in his class are reading fluently. But they never even brought up holding him back. He’ll catch up at his own pace

1 Like

We dont call it holding back in my family. They get promoted from Kindergaten 1 to Kindergaten 2. It is only a big deal if you make it a big deal. Just work with them on the sight words and little paper books and next year they will do amazing in kindergaten and be ready to really tackle 1st grade.

When I was 6 (and in kindergarten) we had to read certain very simple words to move on to first grade. Schools today have more words required. It is my understanding from kindergarten teachers that kindergarten is more like 1st grade was in the 80s/90s. If the school wants to hold her back, I would do it so she isn’t behind in later grades and struggling.

Every kid learns differently…but here kids leave pre K …knowing how to read more than the basics.

1 Like

I Get Paid 0ver $ 112 per hour w0rking from h0me. I never thought l’d be able to do it but my colleague makes over $ 13704 a m0nth doing this and she convinced me to try. The p0ssibility with this is limitless.


Should they be reading full chapter books? No. But generally by the end of kindergarten they should be able to read starter books or level 1 books.
If your child can’t and is moved on to first grade then they will just continue to fall further behind, and will be unable to do the work which is why they’re recommending holding your child back
I will add that each school can differ slightly on Thier academic requirements.
My oldest was in kindergarten at “school a” we pulled him out and home schooled him based off of that schools curriculum.
When we moved “school b” did a placement test and he placed for kindergarten. They have higher academic standards than school a. Because we didn’t make a big deal out of it he didn’t care.

They read most what are sight words. In other words, they recognize the word through memory and not sounding out. And then go on from there. If she’s struggling now might not be a bad thing to do. Especially if she’s on the younger side or one of the youngest in class.

My son couldn’t read in kindergarten that’s how I found out he had a learning disability. Don’t hold your child back

Yes they read at that age. Like full books.

They should have basic reading skills at 5 and should be able to Write letters and numbers before entering kindergarten. You should be able to get a tutor
To work with her. No biggie if she starts a year later

My first could read before kindergarten, and I’m introducing reading to my 3 year old


I was at a birthday party with my first grader. Most of the kids had learned in first grade. My children were Pre K readers but I’m a former Kindergarten teacher. My children learned from me.

My youngest just graduated Kindergarten and he can read pretty well. In contrast, my oldest son wasn’t reading at the end of Kindergarten and it was suggested that we hold him back. I refused, he went to Summer school and progressed to 1st grade the next year. BIG MISTAKE. He failed the following year again. I highly recommend letting your child repeat kindergarten to get the necessary skills needed for 1st

I’m homeschooling for this very reason.

If the school wants to hold your child back , is it just reading ?? Or are they struggling with other learnings ? Sounds like this is something they probably have discussed with parents several times throughout the year . . . A lot of kids who repeat kindergarten do thrive long term!

1 Like

My son is 5 and he has savant syndrome so I can’t answer on a neurotypical situation, but my son is reading at a 5th grade level. I wouldn’t want my child to feel inadequate or like they didn’t know as much as their peers so I would hold my kid back, especially in kindergarten as this is the best time to do it.

They held my son back for his motor skills, because he tied his shoe different than other children. So I guess so.

We started learning in 1st grade. But that was also 25 years ago

No. It’s not until end of second grade that children are expected to read. Even mastering phonics can take until second second grade.


It is pretty typical that a child should be reading at 5. One of my son’s read at 3, the other at 4. All children learn at their own pace though


Some do some dont. Doesnt mean shes behind. Most kids cant read until 7-8

Yes. Are we getting the full story? Because usually there’s letters sent home or conferences to address this through the year. To help everyone get on board.

They don’t need to hold them back due to reading level. Instead you should ask for testing via letter to the special education Dept. Lots of kids don’t read on level. Kiddos going into 3rd grade barely reads at a 1st grade level. But makes steady progress. He receives pullout for reading. I think you should investigate more into why they want to hold them back. There’s usually other reasons. And if there’s not I’d think twice about this school. Bc they had all year to address this as a large issue.

All children do different things at different times even twins, no two children even in the same family are individuals, don’t worry what others say and don’t let anybody judge your child, a child won’t do anything until it’s ready to do it xx

I wish the public school my child was in held him back. I asked for them to redo kindergarten because they couldn’t read in the slightest. They refused and it caused a domino effect of so many issues in the following school years. I would up taking them out of public school and homeschooling. We did that for two years (I’m also a teacher) and they were all “caught up”. They are reentering the school system this year and I am working closely with the school to determine what grade best suits them. My advice - let her be held back. It’s for her own educational best.

My daughter was behind in reading in kindergarten but ahead in other stuff. We talked about holding her back but decided it wasn’t the best choice. She’s going into 5th now, and that was definitely the right choice. She would have been bored and disruptive. Once she decided she wanted to learn to read, it happened quickly, she just wasn’t quite there.

My daughter just turned 6 and although she does recognize letters and can sound them out individually, she doesn’t quite read. She did not get held back. Her teacher told me it is common for kindergarteners to not be able to fully read yet and that was not a reason for any kid to be held back.


You have to be able to read a little before advancing to first grade they kept my daughter back because of it and trust me it was definitely better for her in long run

1 Like

I’m sorry this is happening! My son was not held back and he cannot read! He’s behind in his grade level but the school is making sure he works closely with a teacher one on one to help him catch up. I think rules are different depending on the school your child attends. Did they recommend summer school?

1 Like

My 5 yr old can read sight words…but I wouldn’t say she can fully read…I dont think kids can fully read till they are in 2nd or 3rd grade.and even then…they are still learning how to spell correctly.i wouldn’t too worried…just start working with her more.

I’d ask -the school- questions.

If a child cannot read at kinder level, as a 40 year veteran teacher, I would definitely listen to the expert advice of his teacher. Why is it we go to a doctor or specialist and listen to their advice because we recognize their expertice, but people often do not accept the professional expertice of teachers?

Yes, just like doctors, we make mistakes, but more times than not, we know our craft of teaching, our students, and we do not make these suggestions without collected data and great consideration.

By affording him a second year at this level, you are giving him the gift of time to mature and to develop his socio-emotional maturity and his foundational skills for first. Kindergarten level means he knows 20 to 50 basic sight words such as the, come, and said automatically. He can recognize and say every alphabet lower and upper case by saying it’s name. He knows the sounds the letters make including short vowels in words. He can segment and blend basic CVC words, and can write his name, alphabet letters in upper and lower case, copy from the board, string words together in writing to form a short sentence, and can read simple directions.

What parents of boys do not realize is that the majority of students in special education are males with reading problems. Many of those boys, had they been allowed another year to mature before beginning kindergarten or retained in kindergarten could have avoided the path into special education. I say this because as educators, we know boys mature behind girls in the early grades. We also typically can not refer kindergarteners to special education at this level because we are unable to discern between a specific learning disability vs maturity and readiness for kindergarten. There is zero negative connotation at this level.

We rarely retain in upper grades because it rarely pays off, and socio- emotional awareness of retention is at play. We are also unable to establish a two year discrepancy between potential and performance required of special education placement other than speech and language at the kindergarten level and age of 5 like we can in the upper grades, therefore we are able to refer children to special education with specific processing and leanning needs.

Just like popcorn kernels heating up, they all pop at their own time! No two children necessarily learn the same way or rate of time. We applaud this as teachers and nurture our students’ individuality. But, we also recognize a lag in skills that most likely will not make a successful fit into the rigorous reading curriculum of first grade. You do not want school to be such a struggle his whole life.

Sometimes, by giving students the extra year they require to mature, these same students blossom and become future leaders throughout their educational careers. And sometimes they become the top in their classes too. There are no guarantees of this happening for every retained kinder student or with your son, of course. However, you will be giving your son the opportunity to have a better chance.

My first graders with the exception of two English learners, all read at or above second grade with a few at third and fourth grade level. They read new words and can apply their phonemic awareness skills to unknown words. They read at or above 60 words per minute with a few at 150 to 168 words per minute. They can write sentences and paragraphs, as well as answer basic comprehension questions in complete sentences and cite evidence from the text to support their answers. They read for enjoyment daily.

I highly recommend you look over the standards for both kindergarten and first grade, consider the expertice of your son’s teacher, and weigh your pros and cons for retaining your son. You may also request another teacher for the retention if you feel another teacher may be more effective with your son. Good luck!


My daughter is in kindergarten and she can read sight words…and sound out letters to words she doesn’t know…granted not always correctly. I wouldn’t say she can read…she can recognize sight words :woman_shrugging:t2:

Should be able to read sight words and recognize all letters of the alphabet by sight and sound


Does he know his letters and sounds? If he knows these than he is fine. It will be harder but kids learn at a different pace. In our school district we don’t really start holding back until 3rd. Both my kids struggled with reading but my daughter is going into first and getting the hang of it and my son who was a pre-a in first is now well beyond where he is supposed to be. I would ask to have a meeting.

1 Like

Very rare these days for schools to hold children back. If they are recommending it now is the time to do it. Better Kindergarten than having them struggling in grade 4 or 5.