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I have read how it isn't a wise idea to teach young children (preschool and younger) how to read because their brains aren't ready. The early instruction can cause frustration and lead a child to dislike reading or have a poor self-image.

 

I know many here have started reading instruction at age 2, 3, and 4. What has been your experience?

 

What age did you start teaching your child to read?

Was there any frustration?

What approach did you use?

How does the child read a year later? A couple years later?

Does your child enjoy reading?

Would you describe your child's development as typical or advanced in general?

Edited by Wehomeschool
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I'm not one who believes in teaching kids to read before age 5 or 6. I started in Kindergarten with all of my kids using Sing, Spell Read and Write(age 5 or 6). Well, actually, my oldest taught herself to read so she doesn't count. They all enjoy reading and are good readers.

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I started teaching mine when they seemed ready, which was a different age for each of them. My four readers began reading between 3 and 7 years old. None of them were frustrated and all of them enjoy reading. It's been awhile since I've tried to determine their reading level, but they've consistently been above their arbitrary grade level. The 3yo knew all the letters by sight and their sounds before she turned 3. The 7yo just couldn't wrap her brain around reading until then. (I didn't push her.)

 

IMO reading is like potty training. When they're developmentally ready they'll do it. If they're not ready, the best phonics teaching isn't going to work.

Edited by SilverMoon
typing while holding baby :p
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I think it all depends on the child. Imo, the problems would come if a parent is pushing a young child to learn to read before s/he is ready or one who has no interest in letters.

 

My kids have all been early readers--yet still different in how their interest was. My oldest spontaneously started reading--I never taught him directly, simply read lots of books, played lots of letter games...I didn't really know what I was doing/not doing, if that makes any sense. He just figured it out. My next two weren't as interested in letters/reading as young, but when they were 4/5, we started using starfall (I had gotten their printed materials back when they first started and it was free) and just progressed through that. They are all terrific readers, love to read, are doing great with reading years later.

 

Now, my youngest, dd3, is just in love with letters. That is what she wants to do ALL the time--now she is sounding out 3 letter words, she loves to write letters, copy words, have 'spelling tests', be just like the older kids. I'm sure that when others see what she is doing, they wonder what my problem is, why on earth I would teach her so young. She really does love flashcards--and begs me to do them with her. But I would NEVER do this with a child who wasn't completely into it, iykwm.

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I was asked this question over at my blog recently since I have 3 reading young boys, and I wrote about our approach here, but here it is in a nutshell:

 

Teaching letter sounds is EASY and enjoyable for both parents and very young children (by age 2-3) using beautiful ABC books such as Museum ABC or I Spy An Alphabet in Art. My boys loved looking at these books around age 1, and I would say the letter name then sound. We also do Leap Frog Letter Factory. My oldest had only learned letter names, and picked up sound within a week of watching this video at age 3. All of my boys LOVED Letter Factory.

 

Next, they watched Leap Frog Word Factory which helped them understand the concept of putting letter sounds together to make simple CVC words (again, around age 3).

 

Then, I had incremental phonics readers (starting with very, very basic CVC words) available around the house. (Nora Gaydos readers are my favorite. Bob Books are okay.) I also have letter magnets.

 

My oldest son loved books and stories, but not so much the process of learning to read. I started him on lessons from The Ordinary Parent's Guide to Teaching Reading around age 4. He didn't enjoy reading lessons, but I knew he could do it and that he would LOVE reading when he got past the beginning stage. I wish I had the Nora Gaydos readers to begin with for him. We persisted with lessons, and his reading took off when he could read around beginner level 2. He read 200 chapter books at the age of 7.

 

Because my second boy had better access to the beginning readers and letter magnets (and knew his letter sounds early), he was able to TELL us when he was ready to read by.....reading. :) He was only 3.5, but how do you tell a kid he isn't old enough to read when he is? :) We had so much fun snuggling up with the little Nora Gaydos readers for one-on-one time. No pressure. I just gave him the phonics rules as he encountered them, and helped him sound out words he struggled with. He is now 6 and LOVES to read. He is a different sort of reader than his bigger brother (doesn't care for chapter books), but he reads well and reads advanced words in great picture books and non-fiction books. Again, I don't put pressure on him to read big chapter books, even though I know he can read the words without any problems.

 

Same thing happened with my youngest boy. He knew his letter sounds, had watched Leap Frog Word Factory, and had access to Nora Gaydos readers. He LOVES to share his reading with any adult who will spend some time with him. His reading took off even faster than my middle guy.

 

All three boys take books wherever they go, and there are stacks of books everywhere in our house.

 

So...

 

My oldest was frustrated learning to read (as was his mother...), but I wish I had used the incremental phonics readers rather than the lessons in OPGTR (and just used that information for myself to share with him as we read the books) (but he is a crazy, voracious reader, now). The other two boys had no frustrations.

 

Approach: make sure you give your child reading tools early (letter sounds, show them how to blend CVC words, and have beginning phonics readers and letter magnets available) so that your child can SHOW you when they are ready.

 

Reading well a year later. Voracious readers a couple years later.

 

Yes, they enjoy reading. A lot.

 

I'd say my boys were advanced, and that they made my life easy. I know what it is like to struggle with reading lessons (boy #1), and I have friends who approached reading in the same way with their children and it wasn't as painless.

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My son was fascinated by letters (and numbers) from a pretty young age. Knew alphabet at 18 months, sounds by 2 or 2 1/2. By 3 he was interested in knowing how words were spelt, started recognizing certain words and showed interest in learning. We've been taking it very slow working on reading and phonics but he seems to be memorizing words more so we are taking it slow to reinforce the phonics.

 

My daughter just turned 3. She knows her letters and primary letter sounds from Leapfrog videos. She does watch the Word Factory video but shows absolutely no interest in blending sounds into words or doing any "formal" program. So we are just playing games and watching videos until she shows that she is ready, whatever age that may be.

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...I'm in the "they'll read when they're ready" camp.

 

I have an only, so she was read to and talked to CONSTANTLY. At three, she liked to "read" her Biscuit books to me-I assumed that she had them memorized. One day, four months shy of her fourth birthday, she wanted to read a Biscuit book she had never seen. I didn't think she could, but handed it over. She read the whole thing, no problem. Coulda knocked me over with a feather. She's been devouring books ever since. My point-she's a verbal child and her brain was hard-wired for it.

 

If only math would come so easily...:glare:

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...I'm in the "they'll read when they're ready" camp.

 

I have an only, so she was read to and talked to CONSTANTLY. At three, she liked to "read" her Biscuit books to me-I assumed that she had them memorized. One day, four months shy of her fourth birthday, she wanted to read a Biscuit book she had never seen. I didn't think she could, but handed it over. She read the whole thing, no problem. Coulda knocked me over with a feather. She's been devouring books ever since. My point-she's a verbal child and her brain was hard-wired for it.

 

If only math would come so easily...:glare:

 

:lol: I have one of those. The beginning learning to read was tough for him (too sequential/ordered), but he is very, very verbal and his brain is hard-wired for reading. But math. Ugh.

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I have read how it isn't a wise idea to teach young children (preschool and younger) how to read because their brains aren't ready. The early instruction can cause frustration and lead a child to dislike reading or have a poor self-image.

 

 

I think that what you say above is very true, however, the biggest problems arise when schools and other institutions expect 4 and 5 year olds to be able to read and push drills and (usually poor quality) instruction on them. If a child is homeschooled, I don't think there's anything damaging about gently playing games and introducing reading at a kid's own pace, not giving any judgement to a young child if they "get" it or not. I also don't think you have to do that with your 4 year olds if they don't seem ready, but I think if it's done in a loving, slow way, there's no harm either - which is different from drilling a child or doing formal lessons in reading very early (unless the child shows great interest) or generally expecting a preschooler to be able to read by kindy.

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It isn't a wise idea to push a young child to read. Young children who are ready will push you to teach them to read. They will point at the letters and will ask you what letter it is or what sound it makes. It's ok to follow their lead.

 

This has been my experience, too. Ds1 learned to read on his own at 4yo. Ds2 was about 4.5yo when I decided he was asking too many questions--what word is that, how do you spell, show me that word (when reading aloud), what sound does this make--and it was time to teach him to read. I used Phonics Pathways, went really slowly, and was ready to drop it when ds wanted to. But he didn't want to. He loved learning to read. Now dd is another story. At 5.5 yo she's not that interested. She was into it for awhile and learned her CVC words, but then she was done. She spends a lot of time copying words and drawing and asking how to spell things, but at this point I do phonics with her only when she brings out the book.

 

Cinder

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I have read how it isn't a wise idea to teach young children (preschool and younger) how to read because their brains aren't ready. The early instruction can cause frustration and lead a child to dislike reading or have a poor self-image.

 

I know many here have started reading instruction at age 2, 3, and 4. What has been your experience?

 

What age did you start teaching your child to read?

Was there any frustration?

What approach did you use?

How does the child read a year later? A couple years later?

Does your child enjoy reading?

Would you describe your child's development as typical or advanced in general?

 

My inclination has always been to wait on academics. That said, if a child is ready and wants to learn, there's no harm in starting at 2 or 3 or 4. Or waiting until 5 or 6 or 7.

 

My older children taught themselves to read with minimal or no instruction. I taught only my youngest to read. Sort of. We did a little phonics here and there until one day he was a reader.

 

Your questions:

~My kids started reading at (respectively): 5 (went from complete non-reader to fluent reader in one day), early 4, late 4, 5. My stepdaughter learned to read at 7 in school.

 

~No frustration because I just let them learn when they were ready. My stepdaughter's teacher was concerned and I told teacher she'd learn when she was ready.

 

~I read to them constantly. I let them play Starfall. I have lots of picture books with simple language. I let them play school with phonics workbooks, and I read them Bob books.

 

~All of my children are very fluent readers for their respective ages. They all love to read.

 

~Hmmm.....development....

Eldest is gifted. She is an artist and a talented writer. She's written four novels already.

Second daughter is autistic, so definitely not typical or advanced development.

All three boys are very bright, academically advanced. (Meaning they are doing work above their respective grade levels in language arts/reading.)

 

Cat

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I have read how it isn't a wise idea to teach young children (preschool and younger) how to read because their brains aren't ready. The early instruction can cause frustration and lead a child to dislike reading or have a poor self-image.

 

I know many here have started reading instruction at age 2, 3, and 4. What has been your experience?

 

What age did you start teaching your child to read?

Was there any frustration?

What approach did you use?

How does the child read a year later? A couple years later?

Does your child enjoy reading?

Would you describe your child's development as typical or advanced in general?

 

 

I have taught my three children to read. My youngest is my earliest reader. There was absolutely no way I could have kept her from reading if I tried. She begs to "do school". She taught herself all her letter sounds when she was 2yo using a Leap Frog toy. I told her a few phonic rules, and showed her how to blend sounds together to make words. She took off figuring out context clues and picture clues. She's a little over 5yo, and reads at about a second grade level.

 

My son, OTOH, had absolutely no interest in letters or reading until he was 6 1/2. If I had pushed him, I am sure he would have learned to hate it. Instead, I just gently nudged him once a week (or less) until he saw the benefit of being able to read, and wanted to learn. Then, he learned quickly. At 6 1/2, I was teaching him his letter sounds. After 18 months, he was reading at a fourth grade level.

 

My oldest daughter was in the middle. She knew her letters by 2yo, and could write them by 3 1/2, but I still didn't teach her the sounds until she was 4 1/2. She was a little resistant, and would only do about 5 minutes a day at first, but we just kept plugging away, and she was reading well before she turned 6.

 

It just depends on the child. Pushing a child before they are ready is like trying to push a string. It just doesn't work. But, holding back a child who is ready isn't doing them any good.

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I think there's a huge difference between expecting a *classroom* full of children of a certain age to be learning to read at precisely the same time and gently teaching a single child at that particular child's level. One of my children was reading fluently at 3. The other was 5. By 6, either of them could read pretty much anything with elementary-appropriate content and interest. I didn't push my first -- I spent less time teaching him (though I did teach a little) than most people spend teaching children twice his age. He was just ready. I also couldn't have pushed the second child to read much sooner than she did. She was actually quite capable of sounding out individual words or remembering sight words long before she started reading well -- she just didn't care! ;)

 

But I tried to teach each gently and consistently when they appeared ready. There was no possible way I could have delayed my oldest -- even if I hadn't "taught" him, he would have learned to read well before most of his peers. On the other hand, it would have been wrong for me to try to demand that his sister read as early as he did, when she simply wasn't ready. But as a home schooler, I had the flexibility to do whatever was appropriate at the time with each of them.

 

As to your other questions... I used mostly phonics with my kids (Phonics Pathways more than anything, First Reader some, Explode the Code for workbook reinforcement, Reading Reflex for some ideas on games and activities to reinforce what we were doing), supplemented with a bunch of simple phonetic readers (Bob books, Nora Gaydos' books, Sonlight's I Can Read It books that match up to ETC), and used some whole language-type techniques on occasion too. And we just read a ton. ... I would describe both of my kids as ... very bright. My daughter is/was perhaps more verbally precocious and perceptive, but my son is the more academic of the two (he was also writing in sentences at 3 and is very, very strong in math).

 

They're both voracious readers now.

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