When is Your Child Ready to Learn to Read?

Mother and daughter reading together happily

Recognizing when your child is ready to start reading can be an exciting and important milestone. Keep in mind that children develop at different rates, so it’s essential to look for a combination of signs rather than expecting all of them to be present at once. Here are some common signs that your child may be ready to read:

  1. Interest in books: If your child shows a genuine interest in books and enjoys looking at them or being read to, it’s a positive sign. They may ask you to read the same book repeatedly or engage in pretend reading.
  2. Recognizing letters: When your child starts to recognize and name letters of the alphabet, it’s a good indication that they are making progress toward reading readiness.
  3. Phonemic awareness: Phonemic awareness is the ability to recognize and manipulate individual sounds in words. If your child can identify rhyming words, break words into syllables, or recognize the initial sounds of words, this is a crucial step toward reading.
  4. Print awareness: Children who are ready to read often show an understanding of how print works. They may point to words as you read them, follow the text from left to right, and understand that words have meaning.
  5. Storytelling: If your child can retell or create simple stories with a beginning, middle, and end, this demonstrates an understanding of narrative structure, which is important for comprehension skills.
  6. Fine motor skills: Good fine motor skills, such as the ability to hold a pencil or crayon and draw, can be an indicator of readiness for writing and, subsequently, reading.
  7. Curiosity and questions: A child’s curiosity about the world and their willingness to ask questions about how things work or what words mean shows a desire to learn and understand, which is fundamental for reading.
  8. Letter recognition and writing: When your child starts trying to write letters or their name, it’s a sign of growing interest in letters and words.
  9. Word and language play: If your child enjoys word games, such as rhyming or making up silly words, it’s a sign of a budding interest in language and reading.
  10. Memorization and repetition: Children often enjoy memorizing favorite books or songs, and they may start reciting them from memory.

Remember that reading readiness varies from child to child, and it’s important not to rush the process. Encourage their interest in books, engage in activities that promote language and literacy development, and provide a supportive and positive reading environment. If you have concerns about your child’s readiness to read, consider talking to a teacher or pediatrician for guidance and recommendations.

We Can Books is a great way to help teach your child to read when they are ready, as our combination of familiar images and rhyming phonics word sets is fun and engaging.

Educational App Store Review: We Can Books

We’ve been reviewed by The Educational App Store! Review below shared from their website. You can read the original review HERE: https://www.educationalappstore.com/app/we-can-books

By Spencer Riley

Learning Rating 4*

  • Android, iPad, iPhone
  • Free
  • age 5+

About We Can Books

“We Can Books” app is a good resource to create leveled books for beginning readers and special needs learners. It allows user’s to easily make a customized book with either pictures from the user’s device or pictures on the app. This is a great way to increase comprehension of sight words across 3 different levels and would be a useful supplement to any reading program or curriculum. 

We Can Books Review

“We Can Books” teaches kids to read through the power of phonics and association. This app supports early literacy by making it easy to create custom books for new readers. Parents, teachers, and caregivers can add their own pictures or choose from images on the app for each page of the book and chose corresponding words.

Device compatibility includes iPhone and iPod Touch iOS 15.5 and above as well as Android 7 (Nougat) and above. The ages of typical users is 4+ years old. There is no subscription fee. Users can start creating a book right away and pay to order the book which costs $49.95 plus $6.99 for shipping and handling. It typically takes up to 10 days for shipping. The books are beautiful, hard covered books. There are 3 levels of books available, each with a different level of words.

What is the “We Can Books” app?

This app is very user friendly and takes just a few moments to set up an account before you can start creating your own phonics book. The most distinctive features of this app include ease of use and customization. It can take just minutes to create your own book! It teaches basic reading through picture-word association. Combining pictures that are familiar to the reader with sight words tap into the universal power of association.

What we love about the “We Can Books” app.

This app has a very streamlined and easy to understand format, making it a breeze to navigate its features. It took me about 15 minutes to create a book using pictures online and about 45 minutes to make a custom book and pictures from my phone’s photo album. It has a simple and clean interface with limited visual “noise”. There are short video tutorials demonstrating how to create your book step by step.  The user can even download pictures to match chosen text per page.

What age is it appropriate for?

“We Can Books” is suitable for children ages 2-11, older special needs readers because of its age friendly customization features, and English language learners. The app is perfect for new readers who benefit from associating new words with familiar pictures, in particular Pre-School aged children.

How will students benefit?

 “We Can Books” engages children by giving them creative control in making their own book. Kids who enjoy creating and learning with their peers or with a parent/caregiver/teacher will like this app. There is no pressure to finish creating a book in one sitting. Users can save their book and come back to it any time to continue creating it. New skills that will be unlocked are mainly phonetic reading and word comprehension.

These skills would be a support in generalizing sight word reading skills by offering a way to teach sight words in different environments shown on the page. This could be teaching the sight words with pictures of the home environment, the school environment, the public domain, etc.

How will parents benefit?

 “We Can Books” gives users the rare opportunity to create a custom phonics book and possibility of replacing other costly phonics programs. Most children can improve their reading skills when given reading materials that are linked to their prior knowledge.

Learning by association is one of the fastest methods in learning. By pairing kids’ prior knowledge with picture association and phonics, their understanding of basic words will give them the building blocks needed for reading. Parents and kids can create books together and have them printed to read together or by the child independently.

How will teachers benefit? 

 “We Can Books” can save valuable time for teachers by giving them a tool to quickly make a custom book for reading groups or individualized to a learner. This would be most beneficial to special needs learners who require highly individualized materials and also to English language learners. These books can be easily used as pre, formative, and post-assessments but most of all in small groups. 

It’s easy to create a book for pre-readers and beginner readers.  Books are created or offered on three different “volumes”.  Volume 1 focuses on short vowels. Volume 2 focuses on double vowels, vowel combinations, and consonant blends. 

Volume 3 focuses on long vowels, more vowel combinations, and consonant blends. There are nice personalization features such as adding child’s name, picture and a dedication page. It’s a fast way to create a sight word book with clear visual supports.  It teaches nouns, verbs and adjectives, including sight words but does not explicitly state grade levels. This app makes it fast and convenient to make a book that is not only personalized for the reader but individualized for the level of generalization targeted.

How much does “We Can Books” app cost? 

There is no subscription fee. However, printed books cost $49.95 plus $6.99 shipping. Shipping time typically takes around 10 business days. Users can create a profile for free and create books from the series of 3 and then decide to print. Users will still have access to their digital book/s on the app but cannot download them. Having a book in print can be very beneficial to the child as a break from screen time.

Is “We Can Books” app safe to use?

“We Can Books” has a privacy policy of using visitor/user information to improve the app. User information is not shared. This app is ad free and does not ask for location data or permission for other tracking.

What can “We Can Books” improve on?

Something this app could improve on is to include features that allow users to create simple complete sentences using short vowel words. By expanding the book series to allow for students to construct simple sentences and pair them with familiar picture, this would support not only literacy but writing skills.

Overall Rating 

As an educator and parent, I really enjoyed this app. It was very easy to navigate and made creating books fun! I would recommend “We Can Books” to any parent or teacher who is looking to support early literacy, for any student who needs phonics instruction, and for anyone who requires direct instruction to generalize their comprehension of words, (such as special needs learners and non-native English learners). Overall, I give this app 4 out of 5 stars.

Thanks, Educational App Store! We appreciate the 4 stars. And while we understand your desire to be able to create simple sentences using the short vowel words inside our app, that is intentionally outside the scope of our books, which are deliberately designed for readers who are just beginning to make the connection between letters and sounds. We are so glad you enjoyed the app, and recommend it to both parents and teachers!

The Gift of Reading

One of my earliest memories of joy is waiting for my dad to get home from work every evening so we could sit together, and he could teach me how to read.

I remember the excitement I felt, nestled in his lap in the big chair in our living room, as he showed me how letters and sounds came together to make words. It felt like a puzzle I could learn to put together. Small pieces joining to make bigger pieces that formed something real. And once I understood how the small pieces—the letters—worked, I could start to understand how to put them together. And I could READ WORDS.

My four-year-old brain felt like it was exploding with connections. Nothing was more fun. It seemed like we were cracking codes together. And every night I understood just a little more and was that much closer to being able to crack those codes on my own.

C – A – T



If I could read that word on the page, I could read it anywhere. Anywhere! I could read it in other books, on signs, in the red letters of the marquee above the little theatre we drove past to come home. I could read it on cereal boxes and newspapers. I could read and recognize it and understand it all by myself.

The sense of freedom and excitement was dizzying. And the more I began to be able to make sense of the sounds of the letters and the words they could form, the more I wanted to read.

The world was opening to me. And I could feel it. 

I don’t remember how long it took for me to be able to master the basic sounds and combinations of letters that make the building blocks of reading. I just remember how fun it was, and that I looked forward to that time with my Dad every night.

I also remember thinking that reading was fun and easy, and when I started going to school, learning felt fun and easy too.

Learning to read early and well gave me a head start not just in school, but in life. It was possibly the greatest gift my parents could give me because it made so many important things possible.

The difference between kids who think reading is easy and fun, and who think it’s hard and boring—the kids who do well in school vs. the kids who struggle—is often the beginning of a difference that persists all their lives.

If you can read well, you have access to success in every other subject in school.

If you feel successful in school, you feel smart and competent. If you don’t, you are likely to feel like a failure. This simple but huge difference has a lasting impact on self-esteem. Self-esteem has a powerful effect on every action in life. 

There are more tragic outcomes for kids who have difficulty reading, but I’ll save that subject for another post.

Of course, I didn’t know any of this when I sat in my father’s lap after dinner and traced the letters with my little fingers, sounding out words and solving the puzzles using phonics. Starting with three letter words and moving to four letter words, putting together the building blocks of vowels and consonants, until I could make sense of just about any word I ran across, anywhere.

I learned to love reading, and to associate it with happiness and accomplishment. This love of reading has served me all my life. I feel so fortunate to have been given that incredible head start. Learning to read early and well was like being given the keys to life.

We Can Books is here to spread that joy and to help give all children the keys to a happy, successful life. There may be no greater gift you can give a child than the gift of reading. And with it, you can create special moments and memories that last a lifetime.