HOW to Read

Kindergarten children are naturally curious about the world, and they are ready to explore the relationships between letters, sounds, words, and reading. The South Carolina College- and Career- Ready Standards build on the curiosity of children to develop new language skills.

When a child starts school, reading and writing become primary ways of learning. Although the skills involved in reading and writing take years to develop fully, the steps begin in kindergarten.


Inquiry and Investigation

Kindergarten students’ natural curiosity is encouraged in all aspects of their learning. It is this “wondering” that promotes the development of critical thinking and problem solving skills later in school and in life.

  • Develop and begin to talk about the “I wonders” on topics of interest

  • With help from the teacher collect information from many sources

  • With help from the teacher, select the appropriate information and report the discoveries found

  • With help from the teacher, look for patterns and relationships

  • With help from the teacher, reflect on the thinking process

Learning to Read

Kindergarten students focus on the written word. They work to recognize the relationships between letters, sounds, and words, and how they give meaning. These Steps, combined with the writing and communication steps below, develop strong readers.

  • Understand letter sounds, syllables, and words

  • Practice rhyming, matching words with similar beginning sounds, and blending sounds into words

  • Use phonics and word analysis to figure out words

  • Recognize word parts (prefixes, suffixes, and root words)

  • Learn “sight” (frequently used) words (ex. me, you, see, run)

  • Use pictures and other text to figure out new words

  • Read simple texts accurately and with understanding of the meaning


Kindergarten students work to share their ideas on paper using drawings, words, and dictation to describe an event or tell a story. As the year goes by, students begin to use basic punctuation and English grammar.

  • Learn to print capital and small letters

  • Write by leaving space between words

  • Use basic punctuation rules when writing (capitalize the first letter of a sentence and place a period at the end of a sentence)

  • With help from the teacher, use drawings, letters, or dictate words in order to “write” about a topic or give an opinion

  • With help from the teacher, plan, revise, and edit writings

  • With help from the teacher, write often and on various topics both in and outside the classroom

  • With help from the teacher, locate letter keys on electronic devices


Kindergarten students work on listening to others, explaining their ideas, and responding to the ideas of others. They begin to study different ways to improve their communication skills.

  • Practice taking turns listening to others and speaking clearly

  • With help from the teacher, recall or collect information to ask or answer questions, both individually and in a group

  • Explore how ideas and topics are shown in different media and formats to see how understanding is influenced

  • Use appropriate images and illustrations to support discussions and presentations

  • Identify a speaker’s purpose

Reading for Enjoyment and Enrichment

Kindergarten students learn to identify and understand the parts of a book and a story, and how those parts influence the meaning.

  • Identify the parts of a book and of a story (title page or title, cover, author, illustrator)

  • With help from the teacher, describe the story’s setting, the characters, the main idea and important details

  • With help from the teacher, make a connection between some action in the story and the experiences of the reader

  • With help from the teacher, identify a problem in the story and explain its solution

  • With help from the teacher, identify the cause of an event and imagine a different outcome

  • Read independently

Reading for Information

Kindergarten students ask the basic questions: who, what, when, where, why, and how. Now they begin to learn how to gain and apply information and ask further questions.

  • Understand information can come from a variety of sources

  • With help from the teacher, ask and answer the basic questions about a text

  • With help from the teacher, summarize the central idea and details

  • With help from the teacher, give key details to draw conclusions in texts read

  • With help from the teacher, compare similar topics

  • With help from the teacher, select important information, revise ideas, and tell about conclusions

  • With help from the teacher, think about the conclusions

Learning at Home

Learning does not end at the school door. Your child needs support and help from you to succeed in kindergarten. Work with your child at home. Be informed about what the tasks are and be ready to help with specific skills. Here are some suggestions for things to do at home to help your child learn:

  • Read, read, read to and with your child. Ask questions about the pictures; ask her to develop a new ending for the story. Have her make up a different story about one of the characters. Let your child know how much you enjoy reading.

  • Go to the public library and let him select books from the beginning readers’ section. If you are unsure of the reading level, ask the librarian. Help him recognize letters, sound out words, and find a word with a similar sound from within the story.

  • Using large cutout letters or letters from an alphabet puzzle, spread the letters on the floor. Have your child find the letter that begins with words you call out (use animals, types of vehicles, foods, and action words, for example). Then use the letters to make one syllable words.

  • Ask your child to “write” stories and retell experiences about things that happened in school and outside of school. Let her use words, drawings, and verbal explanations in her “writing.” Go over the stories with her and praise her for completing each task.

  • In the store, riding in the car, or while watching TV, use things, activities and printed words to enlarge your child’s vocabulary. When reading to your child, don’t worry about the reading level of the book. Just pick a book with a subject he might like and try it. This is a great way to introduce new words. If the book is boring or too hard, move on, no harm done.


  • For a day-by-day calendar of suggested activities and books, go to The calendar is available online free or a printed copy can be ordered from the S.C. State Library for a fee.

  • The Student Reading Success Activity Guide, June 2015 at is available for download from the S.C. Education Oversight Committee. It has information and activities for helping your child become a better reader. Scroll down to the bottom of the web page to see the link.

  • The U.S. Department of Education also has information and activities for helping your child become a better reader at

  • The S.C. State Library and many of our county public libraries provide access to TumbleBooks, online books that your child can read independently or the computer will read the book with him. Tumblebooks,, also has games and activities.

  • See for insights into child development and for fun learning games, see from Public Broadcasting.

  • For games, puzzles, and interactive stories to promote reading, see (the free games) or

  • Go to Reading Is Fundamental,, for articles, brochures, and activities about reading and literacy.

  • The county’s public library is a great source of information (in person or online). Check the catalog for “phonics” and “alphabet books” under the “subject search.” The list includes books to help parents teach; as well as, DVDs and videos for helping children to learn. Some county libraries have a button on their home page called “children’s resources,” which directly links to appropriate suggestions.