The process of learning to read does not begin when a child enters kindergarten. Instead, the foundation of literacy begins developing at birth. A sequence of developmental milestones unfolds for five years before formal reading instruction begins. This process plays an important role in setting the stage to learn to read.

Each child brings a unique combination of pre-literacy skills when they enter kindergarten. A child’s genetics, language experience, speech, vocabulary, and phonological awareness all contribute to their pre-literacy skills. Rich exposure to books and reading also matter. It is these attributes, skills, and experiences that lay the groundwork for learning to read.