Find quality-rated child care

Child watches with delight as father blows bubbles in an open green field

Parents & Families

Raising a Reader – Preschoolers: 3-4 Years

What You Can Do

Talk. Have conversations. Ask questions about your child’s day and take time to listen.

“Why?” is her new favorite word. Discuss it.

Sometimes the real question is, “How?” Investigate together. Show her the answer in a book or on a device. 

Sing. Music helps children learn new words.

Play together. Make up stories. Draw pictures. Pretend. Play school and let her be the teacher.

Read every day. Read signs and talk about what they mean. Keep lots of books around. Let her read stories to you.

Remember, talk, sing, play, read! Learning is fun!

Make sure your child is ready for kindergarten.

Most of the skills your child needs for kindergarten develop naturally through play and reading with you. High quality child care also helps your child be prepared for school!

For kindergarten, your child should have these skills or knowledge:


  • Understands a variety of words for objects, for actions and to describe things 
  • Understands who, what, why and where questions   
  • Can follow three-step directions       
  • Uses four to six word sentences 
  • Tells detailed stories or ideas
  • Speaks clearly enough to be understood by most people
  • Takes turns in conversation with others  
  • Responds to the English language
  • Speaks and expresses self in English

Developing Literacy

  • Listens, tells and engages in story being read
  • Participates in singing songs and saying rhymes   
  • Retells stories from favorite books and personal experiences 
  • Decides if two words rhyme – for example, cat and bat
  • Holds books right-side up, turns pages one at a time from front-to-back  
  • Recognizes print they see in their everyday life (for example, stop-signs and logos for Wal-Mart and McDonald’s) 
  • Recognizes and names some letters of the alphabet, especially letters in their own name  
  • Produces the correct sounds for some of the letters of the alphabet
  • Writes some letters correctly, especially those in their own name

Click here to see the entire Kindergarten Readiness Checklist developed by the Division of Child Care and Early Childhood Education. You will find lists of skills for other topics such as math, science and more.

View/Download the PDF version here. (Right click and chose “Save Link As” to download)

Click here to visit our Family Resource Library. You’ll find activities and tips to help you prepare your child for life.