I have a son in kindergarten who is interested in reading. He also loves the stores that I tell him each night. These are usually just made up on the spot and are pretty silly.

If I wanted to write my stories down for my son, how do I make sure I am using the right words that are within his reading level and maybe even stretch him a bit without the reading being too hard or to where he loses interest?

  • Can he currently read anything? Books designed for children who have never read before and books for children who can recognize most letters on a page and already understand how words can be formed are quite different.
    – Village
    Mar 16, 2012 at 1:05

2 Answers 2


Children have quite astonishing powers of linguistic acquisition - in other circumstances your son could be equally fluent in two or even three languages. Bear in mind this is your son, so you are a major source of his exposure to language, particularly in these very early years. To a considerable extent, you determine what level of language he becomes comfortable with - almost by definition, it's what you expose him to.

So don't set yourself an unrealistic task - for example, by trying to learn and reproduce a subset of grammatical constructions and vocabulary deemed by someone else to be appropriate for an average child of your son's age. You simply won't be able to maintain this consistently, and you'll end up constraining your own natural powers of expression.

It shouldn't be difficult to avoid words and constructions that you know perfectly well are excessively unusual or complex. But you should concentrate more on making sure the subject matters you write about are those your son is keen to engage with. And try to encourage his powers of imagination to develop; you want him motivated to read for himself, and perhaps to find even more depths in a tale when he reads alone than when you read it aloud to him originally.

Another little trick to try is introducing family/local references into a story. Even to the extent of having your fictional characters mention your own son as someone they've heard of. Artistic license is a useful tool for making sure you capture both the attention and the imagination of your reader!


One approach would be to record your story-telling sessions, particularly in a way that captures his reactions. You could then review those recordings to see what worked and what didn't (e.g. you had to repeat something in a different way). Reading comprehension is different from aural comprehension, but at least you know he'll know the words in one context.

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