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Are early readers really THAT unusual outside the homeschool realm?


ondreeuh
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My son is 5, and reads well for his age. On the WTM board, it does not seem at all unusual to have a 5 year old reading Henry and Mudge, Frog and Toad, etc. I've seen comments here that PS kindergartens usually have a group of kids who can read easy chapter books, so I thought that while his reading is above average, it's not really noteworthy.

 

For the last 3 months he has gone to a preschool that partners with the school district. His teacher has taught in the elementary school for many years (so I feel like she knows what is expected). She told me yesterday she wanted to talk to me after class. Basically, she told me that he read a book to her that he's never seen before, and it was a hard book, and that is just not normal. She has only seen one kid like that before, and he was put in a resource-room type program because they didn't know what to do with him. She said he is definitely gifted, and PS kindergarten would be a really bad fit. She told me "as a friend" to start planning now for special program and charter schools.

 

I tried to tell her that among homeschoolers, 5 is not really that young to read at a 2nd grade level, probably because experienced moms know how to teach phonics and expose their kids early. She insisted that it was just "not normal.". What I think she means is that it is not usual here (a lot of kids don't attend preschool at all) and the kindergarten teachers are not ready to differentiate at that level. The kindergartens use Saxon K math and hope to have the kids reading CVC words by the end of the year. That's pretty much what my middle son's kindergarten class was doing, and I only remember one kid who was reading fluently.

 

What is your real-world experience with early readers? Are they really that unusual in PS?

 

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Since not everyone reads the replies, I just want to add that after observing the local kindergarten, they indeed are not set up to accommodate children who enter Kindergarten reading well. The highest reading group at the end of the year (we have 4 weeks left) is reading Bargain for Frances (2nd grade reader). Since my son could cold-read that fluently now in pre-K, I expect he will be a good bit beyond that level in August when he starts K. They do not differentiate in any meaningful way for math.

 

I find it interesting that some people say it is very unusual for kids in their district to enter reading at all, while other say it is very common for kids to enter K reading at a 1st-2nd grade level. That's quite a difference. No one is saying it is common for kid to come in reading above 2nd grade though, as my son will be. Well, he would be if I sent him to Kindergarten, which I won't.

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They are not unusual in our ps system but I feel our ps system pushes the little ones a bit too fast. If your child is in the pre-k classes the majority will come out reading on their own here. Not all on a 2nd grade level, I'm sure, but reading. I remember being quite surprised by what they were working on when I toured the prek classes a few years ago.

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. What I think she means is that it is not usual here (a lot of kids don't attend preschool at all) and the kindergarten teachers are not ready to differentiate at that level.

 

Here even the district run preschools teach reading at preschool (3 years old) and writing, the draw a picture and write what you can, at pre-K. The private schools teach reading at preschool. So most around here would enter public Kindergarten reading well and writing very simple sentences. The private kindergarten expectation is even higher as they usually take kids from their pre-K.

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What "hard book" did he read, and did he read it with fluency and understanding? Because mechanically, a lot of 5-year-olds can learn to read, but the ability to be quick enough with decoding/comprehension to read big chunks with good intonation is probably unusual. Though daily practice, perhaps unusual for a child in pre-K, would certainly make a difference. ... I remember when Miss E was in pre-K and I was fighting to get her into KG early. I had argued that she was already doing everything kids were supposed to "learn" in KG, and then some. Her reading level was at least mid-1st grade at age 4.5, and this was without any formal instruction. One day her pre-K teacher took me aside, flabbergasted, and told me "she just read this book to her friends! She needs to be in KG!" LOL. I suggested she tell her boss that, and soon my kid was transferred to KG. In our case, that daughter is gifted. My other daughter started reading around her 5th birthday, and could read some easy chapter books before age 6, but she is not gifted. She just had the benefit of a reading-focused KG at a relatively early age.

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I'm guessing that is pretty typical at 5 these days if he was in preschool and/or you were teaching at home. For my situation it was a bit different. I had no intention of teaching phonics at 3, but both of my kids (twins) started to read on their own and I was the one trying to keep up with them. The same thing with writing, math, etc.

 

Is the teacher wanting to have your ds placed in a different class or tested??

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I think it can partly depend on the crowd that you run with. Nigh-on half a century ago, when I was young, I taught myself to read at 3. My mother thought that wasn't so unusual, as two of her good friends' kids did that too. She only realized that was not so common later when she started to teach kindergarten (but that was many years ago when you were only supposed to know initial letter sounds in kindy, and she taught ESL, so that may not be the most representative sample in another direction).

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Depends on how they become early readers. My eldest was essentially self-taught at an early age, and would have been whether homeschooled or not.

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I tried to tell her that among homeschoolers, 5 is not really that young to read at a 2nd grade level, probably because experienced moms know how to teach phonics and expose their kids early. She insisted that it was just "not normal.". What I think she means is that it is not usual here (a lot of kids don't attend preschool at all) and the kindergarten teachers are not ready to differentiate at that level. The kindergartens use Saxon K math and hope to have the kids reading CVC words by the end of the year. That's pretty much what my middle son's kindergarten class was doing, and I only remember one kid who was reading fluently.

 

What is your real-world experience with early readers? Are they really that unusual in PS?

 

My son was reading close to the level of your son by the end of his Kindy year. And he is a child who does not like to sit still and cannot concentrate for long periods. He only did reading lessons because Mommy made him.

 

I think your thoughts about why the teacher feels the way she does are probably pretty accurate. If, as you say, most kids don't attend pre-K before PS Kindergarten, then it would be the K teacher's expectation that the majority of her students would be illiterate at the beginning of the year. I finished my Elementary Ed degree about 10 years ago, and the firm expectation given to me was that getting kids to read CVC words by the end of Kindergarten was a high and lofty goal. My experience in PS as an intern matched this expectation.

 

Not all PS operate with such expectations. If the population that feeds the school is generally interested in academically oriented preschool then the K teachers in that district tend to expect their new recruits to be operating on a higher level. This is the case in my district, so the schools expect beginning readers in K, but have an action plan for the small # of kids who are not. But, even then it is not the same as the private schools I have been involved with or homeschoolers in general. There does tend to be a noticable difference in the reading ability of the primary grades.

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Well, he is not reading advanced physics or anything, but among the books he is reading at home, he reads with expression and can explain what is going on. I have a LARGE shelf of 2nd grade readers and he is reading 1-2 a day. I haven't tried him on the next level because this seems to be a good fit for now. We are working on letter formation and he can copy sentences, but he does not yet write them on his own. He is starting to ask me to write his stories as he dictates, so I think he will be ready before he officially starts K in the fall.

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Is the teacher wanting to have your ds placed in a different class or tested??

 

She felt he would be completely bored in regular K and I think she wanted me to push for a gifted program. I'm not aware that one exists for K though (and first grade is not an option because he is not mature). I told her I'd already decided to homeschool and she suggested the Waldorf charter school in our district, because it is half-day (regular K is 6+ hours) and is non-academic. They bake bread, model beeswax, take a nature walk every day (must be fun at 20 below!), read stories, and create stories with puppets. I think a better option for him would be a private "farm school" which is science-focused and mostly outdoors. He LOVES to tromp around outside and that would give him 3 mornings a week to play with other kids.

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I tried to tell her that among homeschoolers, 5 is not really that young to read at a 2nd grade level, probably because experienced moms know how to teach phonics and expose their kids early. She insisted that it was just "not normal.". What I think she means is that it is not usual here (a lot of kids don't attend preschool at all) and the kindergarten teachers are not ready to differentiate at that level. The kindergartens use Saxon K math and hope to have the kids reading CVC words by the end of the year. That's pretty much what my middle son's kindergarten class was doing, and I only remember one kid who was reading fluently.

 

What is your real-world experience with early readers? Are they really that unusual in PS?

 

When my first dd was 5, she attended a local public school. She was an early reader. I had a chance to chat with the teacher about this often, and also volunteered in the classroom as a one-on-one reading partner with students.

 

In my very limited experience there, I would say that in our area, having a child read at a Gr. 2 level was very unusual, although not unheard of. My teacher friend seemed to suggest that she would have one or two of those every year. By far, most of the children I was reading with were 5 y/o and were working on CVC words. We chose to homeschool after that year, in large part because the school just wasn't going to be able to support our early reader.

 

It makes me wonder if this may be part of what's going on: engaged parents teach their children phonics and work with them in reading (or send them to preschool). Those children are likely going to be early readers by comparison, and may not really fit into the regular classroom trajectory, so still-engaged parents then look at alternatives. One option might be a gifted program; one might be another school; or it might be homeschooling. As a result, we end up with proportionally more "early readers" in a homeschooling setting than in a classroom setting -- mostly because they've had the early support from their families.

 

FWIW, my dh teaches at the high school level, and in his observation, parental engagement is still the biggest signal of likely student success there.

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From what I saw of the kids in our playgroup, there was a huge variety. One girl read as well as DS, and another's mother was complaining that the kindergarten teacher was rude to her because her daughter didn't know which way was front or back, up or down, when presented with a book.

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My son was reading at a mid second grade level when he entered K at a young age 5. He was unusual in his class. The class was much like what you described - using Saxon K for math and expecting CVC words (plus Dolch sight word list) by end of the year. He was reading with good comprehension and fluency. He actually didn't have much of a phonics base, as he was self-taught. His reading ability didn't slow down, and he now reads some pretty high level books with good comprehension, plus he's faster than me. :tongue_smilie:

 

Do remember that homeschoolers are a self-selecting group. You really can't judge public schools based off what homeschoolers do. Many kids are homeschooled precisely because they don't fit well into a classroom (either being advanced or SN or both - 2E). Also, even amongst the "average" kids that are homeschooled, you probably have a much larger number of parents who care about their children's education and put a lot into prepping them at young ages via reading to them, discussing things with them, answering questions, etc. That starts in babyhood/todlerhood, and some public schooled students don't get any of that.

 

Btw, my son's school was a private school, so the parents there were likely more involved than those at many public schools. There still weren't very many kids reading upon entering school, and those who were were still at the very early stages. My son was the only one that the teacher kept going with the Dolch sight word list to see where he was, and then she handed him a 2nd grade reading textbook to take home instead of the little "The cat sat on the mat." type readers the others went home with. So he really was the only one reading Henry and Mudge and Frog and Toad, etc.

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I don't know the answer to your question, but I can say that my decision to homeschool in the beginning was the result of seeing what was expected by the end of Kindergarten in the local schools and knowing that my child would be bored (and therefore disruptive) if he were forced to go. He'd met their Kindergarten standards by age 3. Now I look at the standards for 5th grade and he would probably be considered behind in some areas because we're following a different sequence. Every child has strengths and weaknesses and I don't think you can judge a child's giftedness solely by their ability to read well in Kindergarten. There are probably better indicators at that age.

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I am mostly a lurker, but I wanted to reply to you because the exact same thing happened to me and I had the exact same initial reaction. However, within a few months of the first teacher telling me my DC was unusual, three other teachers and a pediatrician, unbeknownst to one another, made similar remarks. At that point, I started looking at my options.

 

All this is to say that, while it may not be unusual for there to be plenty of early readers in your public school, the teacher may be seeing something more that is harder to articulate/quantify (e.g., a bigger/broader vocabulary or an ability to grasp/apply concepts more quickly).

 

As part of my research, I discovered our public school posts weekly newsletters detailing exactly what is being taught in each grade that week. After reading the newsletters for several months, I realized it would be years before my DC would be challenged to any degree. Maybe your school district does something similar and you can get a feel for how unusual your child might be compared to most of his peers.

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Every child has strengths and weaknesses and I don't think you can judge a child's giftedness solely by their ability to read well in Kindergarten. There are probably better indicators at that age.

 

 

I completely agree. I don't know if she is basing her claim on more than reading. He is very creative and I think he is a very interesting kid, but whether he is "gifted" or not really doesn't matter to me. I don't think he would fit in Kindergarten because of his "free spiritedness," reading ability aside.

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All this is to say that, while it may not be unusual for there to be plenty of early readers in your public school, the teacher may be seeing something more that is harder to articulate/quantify (e.g., a bigger/broader vocabulary or an ability to grasp/apply concepts more quickly).

 

As part of my research, I discovered our public school posts weekly newsletters detailing exactly what is being taught in each grade that week. After reading the newsletters for several months, I realized it would be years before my DC would be challenged to any degree. Maybe your school district does something similar and you can get a feel for how unusual your child might be compared to most of his peers.

 

Thank you for your input! I will ask her if there are other things she sees.

 

I have looked at the newsletters some of the Kindy teachers write, and it does seem basic. I can actually observe the Kindy class this week so I will sneak in to see what they are doing at the end of their Kindy year.

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My 5 yo reads at a grade 4 level with proper intonation and comprehension. He will officially start K in September. None of his same-age friends know how to read, and some of them don't know the alphabet. His friends' parents are shocked when ds reads in front of them. They try to trick him by giving ds books he hasn't seen before, or writing complex sentences and asking him to read them out loud.

 

Of course they are also surprised that he loves getting books as gifts and reads for enjoyment.

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Where I live it is very unusual to have children reading in kindergarten. My DD would have missed the kindergarten cut-off in many states and would still have been in pre-K this year - fortunately with a January start here she is meant to be in kindergarten, but is reading at a grade 3/4 level. My 2 year old is starting to show an interest in reading already, possibly from watching her sister a lot. I have no idea what would have happened if my elder was in school - even in the private schools here children are reading cvc words only by the end of the year - in many of the public schools children are often not even reading by grade 3 level (or grade 6 or 7 or 8...) - sigh, the teachers are again on strike.

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I don't think so, my twin and I were reading strongly by K. Still angry at the teacher who took away Robin Hood so I could read along with Dick and Jane.

 

Ha! My husband was in 2nd or 3rd grade and his teacher made him put away his adult-level book because it was "too hard" or something. So he selected a copy of Chitty Chitty Bang Bang and pulled it out every single time they had free reading, for the rest of the year. The teacher tried to relent but he stubbornly insisted on reading that book. He loves to tell that story.

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When my kid started kindergarten last fall at a charter school he met with a teacher beforehand who did a quick test of his letters, number, and colors. Because he knew nearly all the answers (he was already reading a bit) they put him in the "advanced" K class, where all of the kids read at 1st grade or higher (and do math 1st grade or higher, they do some differentiation within the classroom).

 

A good school should realize that some kids are just developmentally able to read before others. My kid's charter has 3 or 4 (?) K classrooms, so at least 25% of the K-ers entered with some reading ability.

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Depends on how they become early readers. My eldest was essentially self-taught at an early age, and would have been whether homeschooled or not.

This was my oldest daughter. we knew something was a bit different when she picked up chapter books at 2 and started reading reading them. By 3 we had to hide things cause she would read and question it all. Sadly my other children did not follow that.

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Here it is pretty unusual. Our kids start school on their 5th birthday (or the day after) whatever time of year it is and reading instruction starts then. Before that they can attend kindy, preschool, day are etc but academic teaching at this level is frowned upon. It does happen to some extent but it is totally child driven. My son (who is highly gifted) started school knowing his alphabet, some sight words and fairly good basic maths. Other kids could recognise 6 letters and count to ten. My younger son will likely know more because I have decided to ignore the advice about not letting them learn too much because they will be bored at school.

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Do remember that homeschoolers are a self-selecting group.

My thought as well. HSers are already more involved in their child's education than many other parents. However, that doesn't mean there aren't other parents equally involved with their young children.

It's fairly normal that kids start kindergarten in school, already reading at some level. Mine did.

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It seems to be about half and half here...there are quite a few kids in our co-ops that are reading at a fairly high level (for age) like DS, but there are others his age who are just learning to read things like Frog & Toad...so there's a fairly big spread. I've seen that many kids progress really quickly once they figure out HOW to read though...I know DS did. I think the range was similar for the kids in public school too...I remember a thread on my local moms board and there were kids starting K that were already reading Harry Potter and some kids who were still sounding out words...

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Depends on how they become early readers. My eldest was essentially self-taught at an early age, and would have been whether homeschooled or not.

 

 

Same here. All I did was let Rebecca play some games and watch Leap Frog videos and she was self-taught and off like a shot. Same for Sylvia. When Rebecca was in her last year of preschool, her teachers were all flabbergasted that she could read the instructions on the worksheet. Their shock surprised me.

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This week the classrooms are open to observers so I visited 4 of the 6 classes at our local school. One of the teachers asked me if I had questions so I asked about differentiation. His highest group at the end of this year is reading books my son can read now. He hasn't had kids who can read higher but said he could meet any kid. They all do Saxon math K, but he says kids who don't need to count dots can do the math without them. That's about all the differentiation for math.

 

A little funny: he said my son's reading would take a dip over the summer since he wouldn't be in preschool. I said, "Well, they didn't teach him to read. I did." LOL

 

One classroom was a mess. I am giving the teacher the benefit of the doubt but it was chaotic, kids were pouring red Gatorade on the table, kids couldn't read their own names on their journals. A mess. They use HWT K, but the kids write in all caps and start at the bottom of the page. I did not have a good impression. but the two male teachers I observed had the best classroom management. They use a method ... Forgot the name but (something) trust. Basically he said they don't let anything slide, but they don't shame or punish. If a kid acts up, they say, "I'm going to support you now" and make an adjustment like moving them closer. They don't use time-out and I'll tell you, those classrooms ran like well oiled machines. One girl broke down when she didn't get her choice of centers, and he sympathized, and told her when she was ready to make a different choice to let him know. She dried her tears and picked something else.

 

So I think my kid could do well in a classroom like that, but I don't think the academics would be a good fit. I could ask if I could put him in part-time so he could go to school in the afternoon for specials and centers.

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There was a study done by the U.S. Dept. of Education on the literacy skills of incoming kindergartners a few years back that found only 3% of incoming K students could decode words phonetically and only 1% were fluent readers. A very large percentage (something like 1/3) didn't even know the letters of the alphabet.

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Both of my kids were reading fluently before starting kindergarten. My youngest was especially advanced, and had good intonation and comprehension. Within a week of starting school his teacher requested my permission to have his reading level checked. He scored at the highest level they could test to, which IIRC was around 7th grade. He spent a LOT of time in kindergarten "tutoring" other kids on their reading. While several of the kids in his class had good reading fluency and comprehension, there were others who couldn't even recognize letters. So lots of variation. And despite being so far ahead in reading/comprehension, there were other areas where he greatly benefited from being in kindergarten. He was a very shy kid, so "tutoring" others helped bring him out of his shell and boosted his ego a little. He also needed work on his fine motor skills.

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There was a study done by the U.S. Dept. of Education on the literacy skills of incoming kindergartners a few years back that found only 3% of incoming K students could decode words phonetically and only 1% were fluent readers. A very large percentage (something like 1/3) didn't even know the letters of the alphabet.

 

 

I was just coming to link that study. They tested 19,000 incoming K kids in a representative national sample and found that 2% could recognize sight words and 1% could read fluently. That was in 1998, though, before the aggressive extension of reading lessons to preschool.

 

http://nces.ed.gov/pubs2001/2001035.pdf

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I was reading fluently (chapter books, no stumbles) before I arrived in Kindergarten. I apparently just taught myself, my mother had no idea how I did it, rofl.

 

Once the teacher found out, I was the one reading to the class (book facing them, so I was reading the book "upside down" and still reading fine). The teacher was amazed, but I was never put in any program. Developmentally, I was still a child. My writing was big and scrawly, I loved to write stories, and the teacher was fine with "handling" me (although she had been a teacher for over 20 years at that point, and loved to teach).

 

My brother was the complete opposite. I had to help/tutor him with his reading when he was 20/21 (I was around 11/12 at the time) so it really wasn't an environment based thing (or might have been, who knows. My brother was the only planned one in the family, I was the mistake/accident, so I was pretty much a Matilda, having to take care of myself, which may have made me somehow learn to read because I "needed" to in order to function/deal. I loved escaping into books growing up, and mostly read from an old collection of books my parents had stored away (including lots of long fiction books, australian history/bushranger non-fictions and humour books from the late 1800's that spelled stuff like "laff" and was not funny at all, rofl)

 

I really think that anything inside a wide range is normal, and that it can widely differ based on home environment, the type of schooling and support the child is receiving, their access to books that interest them, and learning problems. It really makes a very wide boundary.

 

If the child is showing signs of giftedness from the beginning, and the parent is paying attention, its more likely the parent will try to find a program or school that would fit him/her well or may try hs-ing. So there can, of course, be more variables because of that. Other parents who are busy "know" there child is going to be educated by the school they will go to, so may not do pre-reading activities with them, other parents are so busy they may not read to the child much.

 

So it may seem like early averages are happening in homeschool, but its probably because the interaction between parents and child is higher, otherwise the children (unless in the case of teaching themselves, like me) don't learn to read until the teacher provides instruction.

 

So in that field, people like me are the odd ducks out (how do you teach a child that has already been taught? It scares the teacher in some form, and they cannot deal with it, so say "I don't know what to do with your child". In the homeschooling field, its rejoiced, hugged & celebrated, and after that brief period, you move on, the child can move at either its own pace, or the parents mixed pace. In a school, the sardines must wait for the "go ahead" to learn. Everyone must learn at one pace, those who fly past & fall behind are swiftly removed to keep the pace cohesive and orderly.

 

Disclaimer: All are my own opinions, from my weird mind. Take with a large dose of salt. No offence is meant to teachers, schools, homeschoolers, bears or the octopus sitting in the corner (although he is giving me the evil eye).

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Depends on your circles I guess. On the Wtm board it's very normal...even expected.

 

At my local homeschool group? Well most of the families are doing Waldorf or natural learning or Charlotte Mason and I'm the only classical homeschooler. My kids are some of the youngest in the group and besides one other 8 year old girl.... The only ones who can read. There is also a 10 year old girl who is reading well below her grade level. None of the other kids their age or younger can read.

 

My kids went to public PreK. My DD was starting to read just before age 5 and my DS taught himself to read at age 4. They were the only readers in the class. In fact they were the only kids who even knew their alphabet. I remember taking my DD for an eye exam at age 4 and the woman was very surprised my DD could read the regular eye chart. She said it was unusual.

 

Considering that here in PreK the kids are not taught anything academic and don't even learn the alphabet until K I just knew I couldn't send my kids to school. My DS is currently in K and reading at a third grade level and doing first grade work for everything else. I don't consider him gifted...just a quick learner. He is one of those kids that once he has the concept he has it...he doesn't need to practice it. How could I send him to school where they were learning the alphabet over and over?

 

We live in a low socio economic community.. Some of the kids I interacted with at their PreK hadn't even seen a book before. Some didn't even know what sound an elephant made at age 4.

 

So anyway...I consider my kids normal for kids that have been exposed to books and reading from birth....but they are not normal for the area we live in. Adults are always so amazed when they see how well my kids read for their age but I don't consider them gifted or even above average...just well exposed and lucky enough to have a mum that taught them early.

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When I taught kg, it ran the spectrum. In all that time I can remember I had one student start school reading at close to 1st grade level. (He was HSed for PreK while mom and dad traveled around the world.) Some might have started knowing "Apple starts with A" and I was thrilled when I got ones that knew all of the letters. Made my job much easier.

 

I also had students who had not gone to PreK and did not know colors/shapes/letters. Luckily I had an aide, so she would do some intensive small group work to bring them up to speed.

 

But if we had the kids reading frog and toad by the end of the year, they were in a good place to start 1st.

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Early readers are not at all unusual outside of the homeschool community.

 

I used to teach ps kindergarten. There was always a handful (20% or so?) of kids who came in reading the classic early-reader books (Frog and Toad, the I Can Read it All By Myself books, Little Bear, etc.).

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i would say it's fairly normal for 5 year olds to be working through beginner readers in public school. i didn't even begin to teach reading until my children were public school kindergarten age (closer to 6) and i'd say my kids would have been considered behind compared to most PS kids (most had exposure to reading prior to K). by age 7, both of my children were reading frog & toad type books and leveled readers, etc. i personally felt they were on target, so it didn't bother me at all. but in the eyes of the PS system, they would probably have been on the lower spectrum at the time. they are both phenomenal readers now, so i feel children pretty much catch up to one another after 3rd grade anyway.

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they are both phenomenal readers now, so i feel children pretty much catch up to one another after 3rd grade anyway.

 

 

I absolutely agree that most children who learn to read a little earlier or a little later end up reading to similar standards a few years later. However the 'pretty much catch one another up after 3rd grade' doesn't take account of children who are already reading above 3rd grade level in kindergarten and are unlikely to regress. Unless they have to sit around with no suitable books to read while others catch up.

 

A quotation from Calvin's teacher when he was five, 'What? You expect me to go to another classroom to get him books?' In fact, I didn't - I was happy to save her the trouble and provide books myself. I wasn't prepared for him to grow bored with reading due to unsuitable material, however.

 

Laura

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I absolutely agree that most children who learn to read a little earlier or a little later end up reading to similar standards a few years later. However the 'pretty much catch one another up after 3rd grade' doesn't take account of children who are already reading above 3rd grade level in kindergarten and are unlikely to regress. Unless they have to sit around with no suitable books to read while others catch up.

 

A quotation from Calvin's teacher when he was five, 'What? You expect me to go to another classroom to get him books?' In fact, I didn't - I was happy to save her the trouble and provide books myself. I wasn't prepared for him to grow bored with reading due to unsuitable material, however.

 

Laura

 

 

i simply mean most kids after about 9 are usually reading well (assuming they don't have learning obstacles).

 

usually the large gaps we see in early education tend to even out over time, that's all i meant. for example, my son is 9 years old. if you compare him to a child that was reading well at age 4, you would see no difference. my son reads phenomenally.

 

as kids become older and especially as they exit elementary school, usually the gap in reading is no longer prevalent. i'm speaking of the "norm" though & not the exception. i certainly don't think advanced children should be stifled in their learning while others "catch up" though, not at all.

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I wonder if part of it, is the tag-along, listening in factor? In that the younger kids gets an extremely gentle introduction to stuff more advanced by listening in to older sibling's instructions.

I wonder if it is because those very involved/concerned in the education of their kids, are more likely to be homeschoolers.

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Here it is pretty unusual. Our kids start school on their 5th birthday (or the day after) whatever time of year it is and reading instruction starts then. Before that they can attend kindy, preschool, day are etc but academic teaching at this level is frowned upon. It does happen to some extent but it is totally child driven. My son (who is highly gifted) started school knowing his alphabet, some sight words and fairly good basic maths. Other kids could recognise 6 letters and count to ten. My younger son will likely know more because I have decided to ignore the advice about not letting them learn too much because they will be bored at school.

 

I have had several teachers tell me that I should not teach my ds to read because he would be bored in K and I was shocked to be told this! We decided against public school and decided to homeschool! Ds is 5 and he can read pretty much all the Bob books but sometimes he does have to sound words out still but honestly I have no idea what reading level he is.

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I think the advantage that early readers have (as long as they keep reading) is that by age 9 while both children may be reading well, the child who started earlier will have taken in far more (quantity-wise) than the child who only reached that stage at age 9 - and because of that their spelling and punctuation will, in general, (everything has exceptions) be better. It is also likely that children who read early have been read to a lot more than children who read later (again there are exceptions to this) which again places them at an advantage as far as hearing good writing which implies that writing itself should be easier for these children (this is after all the basis of WWE - copy good writing to learn good writing).

 

My second child initially was slower than my first to pick up on vocabulary and letter sounds and other things and I wondered if having less one-on-one attention was affecting things. However more recently she has been moving ahead faster than her sister was at the same age and I have wondered if it is all the stories she has heard when I read them to her older sister and all the times she has seen her older sister reading to me and by herself. I have no idea about younger sibling issues yet, but I do think they are affected in a positive way by having their older siblings around so much - something that homeschooled children are lucky to have.

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My second is certainly more advanced than the first (who turned out to be more advanced than I thought) but I cannot decide whether is is having an older sibling or just his personality. There are things the older one did that he didn't though so I hope he didn't miss anything essential.

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My son is in 1st grade in PS. He can read pretty much anything he picks up. He's definitely not the only one in his class, and the teacher is absolutely accommodating. In his class, when they do "read to self" thy choose from books based on their current reading level. We are also allowed to send books in if we want.

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This question is like one that asks,"My child was walking well at nine months. Is that normal?" Of course it's normal--for that child. But it's also normal for Suzy Q's daughter to not be walking until 15 months. It's totally developmental, and we all know that little ones learn to walk when they are ready. Reading is similar--most kids who are given the right skill base will read when they are developmentally ready. Some don't even need the basic skills and will just read, seemingly hard-wired to figure reading out at a young age. Others have issues like processing delays or dyslexia, and will take much longer and struggle much more with the process.

 

So yes, it's normal for some kids, no matter how they are schooled, to be reading well at a young age. But I don't think that the push toward early reading in the schools is doing anybody any favors. Kids who are ready to read, will. Kids who are not will just be frustrated by expectations for which they are not developmentally ready.

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