Developmental Milestones of Kids Ages 3-4

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February 2021

Three and four are key ages for reading. As children begin to recognize letters and the basics of stories, they begin to grow essential literacy skills that set the foundation for later skills. This page includes an in-depth look at the reading development landmarks your 3-4 year old will encounter. 

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Identifying Letters and Numbers

At age 3-4, children are beginning to understand the idea that we sometimes represent things, like letters and numbers, with symbols. They will start to recognize and identify letters and numbers, as well as shapes and colors, more quickly. In terms of their language development, children of this age are typically already talking and are in the beginning stages of identifying letters of the alphabet. 

Understanding Stories

Children aged 3 typically begin to explore books independently, are able to retell a familiar story, can recognize the first letter of a word, and begin to make symbols resembling writing.

Learning More About Words

Children aged 4 usually can write their names (or at least identify the letters in their name), recognize rhyming words, match letters to their sounds, develop awareness of syllables, recognize words on familiar signs and labels, and name some letters or the alphabet and use them to attempt writing simple words. 

Don’t Stress Out!

Remember, however, that every child is different and develops at a different pace. These skills and cognitive abilities are just a measure of what the average child this age is able to do.

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