Age 4

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Age 4


  • Four-year olds enjoy books with lots of rhyming words and pictures.
  • See Build the Best Home Library for Your Child.
  • Read books with your child in your native language every day.
  • Establish a daily reading routine for 15-20 minutes.  Also read whenever your preschooler is interested in books and words.  Make sure that when you are reading, the TV is off and there are no other distractions.
  • Show your child that reading is important.  Set a good example by reading books, newspapers and magazines.
  • Keep reading fun and interesting by using an expressive tone and by giving the characters voices.  See Don’t Sit Still: The Fun of Reading Aloud. (English) (Spanish)
  • Your child should begin to pay attention to entire books read aloud and ask and answer questions about the book.
  • Reread books to build familiarity.  As a result, your child will start to “read” books by repeating memorized lines.
  • Read predictable books with repetitive lines and let your child fill in the words.
  • Encourage your child to retell a book in their own words.
  • While you are out, read signs, labels and menus together.
  • See Preschoolers Reading (English) (Spanish) and Busy Fingers Getting Ready to Write. (English) (Spanish)
  • For additional assistance with literacy see Motheread.
  • For free parent instruction of high quality school readiness and child development see HIPPY (Home Instruction for Parents of Preschool Youngsters) or call Family Resources Center of Raleigh (919) 755-6959.
  • Go to the Wake County Libraries to check out books and attend Story Time activities.  Also go to the events at Quail Ridge Books and Barnes and Noble.
  • See Reach Out & Read parent resources.
  • See article Importance of Reading Aloud.
  • See the Get Ready to Read! Early Literacy page for tips on helping young children develop early literacy and learning skills.
  • Go to Read! Reading Success by 4th Grade for great tips in English and Spanish.


  • Ask your child what, where, when and why questions like “What is the dog doing?”
  • Describe items you are choosing at the grocery store or things you see on a walk.
  • Ask your child to name their favorite books and explain how a story is like things they have seen and done.
  • Encourage your child to ask questions about books.
  • Talk about emotions when looking at the faces of characters.
  • Ask your child to tell you a story.
  • Use increasingly detailed vocabulary.  At this age, your child can learn more than one word for the same item and can identify parts of a whole.  Research shows that the fewer words a child hears and learns, the more likely they are to experience an achievement gap in school.
  • Download the App Vroom which will teach you how to turn shared moments into brain building moments.


  • Encourage your child to write—set up a writing center with paper, pencils, crayons, markers. Pretend writing is okay. Ask your child to read to you what he wrote.
  • Play outside—do a nature walk in the back yard; throw, kick and bounce balls.
  • Search for things in books.  For example, how many red things can you find?
  • Continue to play rhyming and sound games.  Try some silly tongue twisters.  Help children pay attention to the sounds they are hearing by pointing out rhymes, syllables, and beginning sounds.
  • Create books with your child.  Write down a story that they tell you on several pieces of paper.  Staple the pages together and let your child illustrate the book with pictures.  See Preschoolers Writing. (English) (Spanish)
  • With increasingly complex play, children use more and more props.  Make sure to provide books, writing and drawing materials, and a variety of print materials. (newspapers, magazines, lists, cereal boxes, menus, junk mail, labels, etc.)
  • Sing, dance and play instruments together.
  • Spend the day at Marbles Kids Museum or try a camp.
  • Learn about the Getting Ready for Kindergarten Program offered through Project Enlightenment.

Learn more about Read, Talk, Play by reading Project Enlightenment’s Early Literacy Tips.

See the Literacy Council of Wake County for the Family Literacy Program-Project Lift.  This program helps adults whose first language is not English, read and navigate the school system.  It also helps teach and support parents while working with children under 5 on basic literacy skills.

Download Four Year Old Bookmarks – English | Spanish

For questions or concerns that you may have about your child’s development or behavior, see Project Enlightenment Parent Resources.