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Could Your Child Read Before Starting School?


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I'm curious, could your child read before their first day of elementary school? I"m not talking about preschool, or prekindergarten, I'm talking about K (if its mandatory) or 1st grade?

 

In your experience was the childs ability to before school a help or a hindrance in the long run?

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One of mine was reading fluently before she started pre-K at age 4.

 

The other started reading right around her 5th birthday, which would have been before KG, except that she started KG a year early.

 

I'm not sure if it mattered at all in KG that they read before others.  It certainly did not hurt anything.

 

In 1st grade, it was definitely helpful because it meant they could read the text/instructions for their non-reading lessons.  For kids who are not great listeners, this can be a huge benefit.

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No.  # 2,3 and 4 knew their letters, one did not (he went to Preschool and Kindergarten in another country).  #1 was fluent within a week of school starting so my inkling is he was self-taught to a certain point before he started school, #2 and 4 were fluent readers by Christmas (were reading chapter books), #3 was fluent by the end of 1st grade but is still a slower reader than the others.  #1 and 2 have superior reading comprehension, #3 is above average and #4 is average.

 

They never asked to learn to read and we did not push it.

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My two cents:  there is a huge difference in expectations between the start of K and the start of 1st.  In my district, a non-reading 1st grader (reading at or below a DR3 level) would be working with the reading specialist, i.e., getting remedial help.

 

Also remember that "reading" is a matter of levels, a continuum.  Many kids have started to "read" before K.  Many have not.  The range of skill is very wide at that point in time.  For many kids, development of this skill, like others, is not necessarily linear and smooth, but may have jumps and plateaus.

 

How reading or not reading would impact a student's K experience will depend on a number of factors, most important being the type of school and the academic expectations.  The expectations for traditional PS K seem to vary widely across the US.  I don't know the extent to which that variety has changed the K experience under Common Core.

 

It's pretty clear that it would be easier to be reading than not, but at 5 y.o. there is often an element of developmental readiness.  In the K classroom, some kids may find difficulty at the other end of the spectrum, reading many levels ahead, though that would be an issue of poor school fit.

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How reading or not reading would impact a student's K experience will depend on a number of factors, most important being the type of school and the academic expectations. The expectations for traditional PS K seem to vary widely across the US.

:iagree:

The expectation in my district is that the child has gone through preschool or Head Start. My kids were the only one out of 120 kindergartners that did not go to any preschool. The math workbook assumes a child could read or have someone help read out to the child.

My kids were early readers which was indirectly why preschool was a bad fit and we pull the older out after a few months. Being able to read was helpful for the local school.

Not being able to read in 1st grade would be tough on a child in my local schools as all the materials require reading and there is no help for remedial reading except for pullouts for LD and ESL.

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Neither of mine did.

DD did not even know the abcs. We had just moved from Germany where kids are not taught letters before starting school at age 6 or 7.

 

It was no hindrance. DD was still the first in her K class to read fluently, by October of K (after which the boredom set in).

DS was reading by the end of 1st grade. No problem either.

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Yes. Both of mine were reading before K, but it is very much expected that students have already attended a preschool program where I live. However, I can't take much credit for either of them. I love books and read to my children a lot as toddlers/preschoolers and books were always strewn about on the floor. I did do some phonics with my son, but the lessons were never longer than 15 minutes. His reading just took off one day less than halfway through the (very expensive!) curriculum I bought. My DD is mostly self-taught after listening in on some of big brothers lessons. I'm always finding books in her bed so I think the words must seep into her brain during her sleep  :lol:

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My oldest could read chapter books fluently (ex. Magic Tree House books) when he entered K. I think it helped him because he could finish his work quickly and go play at a center or he was the first one or second one to be able to go play in the kindergarten yard (there was one other fluent reader in his class). I don't like how some kindergarten teacher emphasize sight words over phonics so I think he benefited by having done a complete phonics program at home before K. The added benefit is that he was constantly rewarded  in kindergarten and first grade for being a good student. He was told over and over again what a great student he was, how smart he was, etc.  He really liked school even though there were days that he probably was bored in class.  

 

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I'm curious, could your child read before their first day of elementary school? I"m not talking about preschool, or prekindergarten, I'm talking about K (if its mandatory) or 1st grade?

 

In your experience was the childs ability to before school a help or a hindrance in the long run?

 

Yes.

And I think it was a help. However, our next door neighbor could not read and her teacher and mother worked with her and she could read by the end of the year -- it just took more work at night, etc.

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I had two who could read prior to kindergarten and one who is still not reading 3/4 of the way through the year.

 

Last year, I volunteered in a general ed kindergarten class during the spring semester. About half the kids were fluent readers by that point, and the other half weren't. The state standards said that kindergarteners should read BOB-type books by the end of the year. What the teacher did to "meet" the standard was to break the kids into small groups and ask the best reader to read the book out loud first. Then all the other kids would take a turn "reading" the same book. So by the time the last student went, he/she had heard the book multiple times and had it memorized. The child appeared to be able to read the book, but a lot of those kids didn't even know all the sounds the letters made.

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No. Both went to German pre-k, one went to German k, so no reading beyond letter sounds. In K, there was very basic decoding but DD2 sadly did not get German K.

 

Now she is in immersion school. She can read but is not fluent. I don't push. It clicks when it clicks and if necessary I will present evidence to the school for not forcing early reading. The yea he is young and big on practice, but we do what we do and it will be ok.

 

I think it's more import an to be outside at that age.

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I'm curious, could your child read before their first day of elementary school? I"m not talking about preschool, or prekindergarten, I'm talking about K (if its mandatory) or 1st grade?

 

In your experience was the childs ability to before school a help or a hindrance in the long run?

My child was reading those "level 3" readers in preK - he was in a Developmental Play based pre-K where they never taught academics but he still picked up reading by himself. In his K class, about 60% of the kids were reading (because of preschool), but the rest were not taught english (because they were ESL and their families wanted them to have language immersion in their first language until 5 years old). The ESL kids caught up after Winter Break. I was volunteering in the class room and noticed that the worksheets and other materials were the same for everyone after Winter Break.

 

In the long run, being able to read was a hindrance - they tested DS and he placed above all the K'ers. So, they pulled him out into 1st grade for reading, where he placed above all 1st graders. So, they could not place him in any of the reading groups with other kids. The teacher "joined" his reading group and he used to read and discuss books with her (he wanted to hang out with the other kids and not sit alone with the teacher). And he got virtually zero instruction because they labeled him as a kid who was "advanced" and hence meeting their base requirements.

 

We had serious issues with lack of work ethic, overconfidence that school was too easy, talking or walking during class because he did not know what else to do and so on. So, we pulled him out of the "best" PS in our area and put him in a private school that provides acceleration. That worked for us. YMMV.

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Btw, DD1 who was not reading at level at beginning of first (from being in a foreign system) is the top reader in her class. Reads at level in 2nd language. Loves to read. Neither is special needs. Only mentioned because I see some non-readers mentioned above had hearing/auditory/sight issues. For us we just spent more time barefoot in the park.

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One of mine had a basic reading level before starting. Things clicked at Christmas break and rapid progress was made with fluent reading in no time and good spelling too. Several kids in class were reading before school started and most were reading well by the time 1st started. Another child of mine struggles more but is technically grade level. I think that child has stealth dyslexia based on other other signs but since the school is using a decent reading method, the teacher is experienced and there is help at home there is progress.

 

It used to be very uncommon to be reading before school started but it seems to be getting more common. My child who is not reading is bored by the content of the class even without reading beforehand since understanding is at a much higher level and it is frustrating having to work at reading and writing. I do not think reading before school is a problem for all kids. For me I rather have my kid reading before kindergarten because I know there are no issues. It varies wildly by school and district.

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My oldest child had a late-November birthday in a district where the cut-off was December 2.  She had been able to name all of the letters before she turned 2 and loved listening to stories.  Despite this, she was not reading before K. She went to a private school that had a more play-based Kindergarten and did not learn to read in K.  She could sort of, barely read at the end of 1st grade, when I made the decision to homeschool her.  I suspect she has mild dyslexia.  Her reading gradually improved over the summer and the next school year to where I would say she was reading at grade level (Magic Treehouse, "ready for chapters" leveled books) 

 

My next two children learned the alphabet and letter sounds shortly before their 4th birthday, and we slowly started working on learning to read after that.  They started K the month after they turned 5, sort of, barely reading (BOB books).  At the end of K, they're reading Frog and Toad.

 

My newly 3yo might know a few letters and is nowhere near learning to read.

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No. In NZ academics prior to turning five and starting school are uncommon. My eldest knew his letters and sounds surprising number of sight words, my youngest knew the same number of words but somehow not all the letters and sounds (he is resistant to correction). We use reading levels/colours but in the low levels they are the same as DRA. Kids have to be at level 12 after a year at school and if they aren't on track for that they get extra help. Both mine were at 12 afer half a year. My eldest was 2 years ahead by the 12 months but the younger perfectionist one has stopped moving up although he is clearly reading better. I heard the other day that level 22 (end of 3 years) is as high as they are allowed to go in the junior part of the school. Explains why the oldest got no instruction for 6 months. The youngest does and extra 3/4 year in junior because of his birthday so he will probably have a year without instruction. Brilliant. And the head of the junior school says they never hold anyone back.

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I can't offer information regarding going to a brick and mortar school, but I had one very early reader and one who was by some people's standards a late reader.  One was three and the other 6.  Now they are 9 and 13.  They are both strong readers . The later reader learned quickly and was up to speed very quickly.  Probably beyond "speed".  Just saying that overall there wasn't much of a difference in general once the later reader got going with it.  I think with him he just simply hated to sit still and look at a book.  He was also my kid who hated being read to when he was very young.  The other kid loved to be read to and could sit still from a very early age.

 

 

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We did very early reading, AKA "baby reading" with my two children using Brillkids Little Reader, readingbear.com, Leapfrog videos (only my older child really watched those) and Preschool Prep materials. I credit most of their ability to Read to Little Reader, which only took about 10 minutes per day, when they were immobilized in their high chairs to eat anyway. I was astonished at how much it helped their speech. They are only 2 and 4 now so I can't comment about school.

 

When I spend time in their preschool classrooms, especially the two year old's, there is so much more understanding of everything with him than the other kids. The other children seem vacant in comparison, just because of vocabulary. There are over 2000 words with pictures and videos in Little Reader. Early learning seems like it makes learning "take off."

 

I was really motivated to do this because I anticipated my oldest, adopted child might have reading troubles because his bio mom, although very intelligent, had reading problems and it affected her entire schooling and confidence in life. I wanted to have ample time to remediate if necessary. I also was always the best reader in my class from the beginning and credit all of my academic success to my ability to read easily.

 

I may have to deal with boredom later and I appreciate other's comments about their own children. They are only in school 2 mornings per week now and it is helpful for things like cutting, pasting, tracing and other fine motor, prewriting stuff, which I am not good at doing with them.

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Yes, my son could read prior to starting K. This was not uncommon at the elementary school he attends. It helped a great deal not to be "behind."

 

His class us just finishing up elementary school (rising 6th graders next Fall). The kids who were early readers are (generally speaking) the ones who are excelling in school and have been accepted into advance studies programs for Middle School. Those that struggled, still tend to struggle. There may be some that "closed the gap." however none come to mind.

 

Bill

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Yes, my son could read prior to starting K. This was not uncommon at the elementary school he attends. It helped a great deal not to be "behind."

 

His class us just finishing up elementary school (rising 6th graders next Fall). The kids who were early readers are (generally speaking) the ones who are excelling in school and have been accepted into advance studies programs for Middle School. Those that struggled, still tend to struggle. There may be some that "closed the gap." however none come to mind.

 

Bill

I'm curious about how you know this.

 

Studies suggest that early reading is less predictive of future academic success than math skills or attention. The nations with the highest pisa scores all teach reading at 6-7. The reading gap usually is closed by third grade if one controls for other factors like outside tutoring, screen time, etc.

 

So your experience seems to be an exception not the rule unless you are ignoring other major socioeconomic factors.

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My kids could both read before K and it was not uncommon where we live either.  When reading groups began in about of October of K they ran the gamut from kids "reading Harry Potter" to kids that could read basic sight words.  Students that did not even know their letters would have been pulled out for special assistance.  By 3rd grade the lowest reading groups were the students on grade level and the highest had tested out of the range (which only went up to an 8th grade level).

 

Things to add -

 

The district cut off is Jan 1st so kids with Sept to Dec birthdays were mostly 4 1/2 entering K.  Redshirting was and still is fairly uncommon.

 

A vast majority of the students attended preschool. 

 

A class of about 18 students would have multiple reading groups.  In some cases a group would only be one or two students depending on their level.

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Both dds read before Kindergarten (ages 4 and 2.5 respectively).  

 

It was fine for older dd.  She did wonderfully in school.  

 

Younger dd was "way beyond" the phonics and reading books the class used and she was moved to the back of the room to do book reports during phonics time.  I get that the teacher was trying to diversify for her, but it led to dd hating reading.  In first grade she was bored, fidgety, and chatty and was kicked out of the advanced reading group.  Needless to say, dd hated reading even more now.  We started homeschooling in 3rd grade, but her love of reading never returned.  

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I'm curious about how you know this.

 

Studies suggest that early reading is less predictive of future academic success than math skills or attention. The nations with the highest pisa scores all teach reading at 6-7. The reading gap usually is closed by third grade if one controls for other factors like outside tutoring, screen time, etc.

 

So your experience seems to be an exception not the rule unless you are ignoring other major socioeconomic factors.

I just know what I've seen in my limited experience. I spent a lot of time volunteering in the classrooms (particularly in Kindergarten and First Grades). It was very apparent which kids were strong early readers and which ones struggled. The strong early readers are all preparing to enter academically challenging programs next year (for Middle School) the struggling readers (then) have not closed the gap. I can not think of an exception.

 

This does not mean that if one took an individual child who might have been an "early reader" and started him or her reading later (as was normal in my day) at they couldn't have closed the gap. I don't doubt it. I'm sure there are all sorts of factors at play, including intellectual gifts and learning disabilities (and the converse) that are critical factors (more than "when" one starts reading).

 

But the question was about early reading in school. In my experience the children in my child's class-level who read early started "ahead" and remained the most successful students. Those that read late and/or struggled are not the strongest student.

 

I'm not arguing that this is "cause and effect," nor that there couldn't be exceptions.

 

Bill

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I taught both of mine to read at home using a combination of OPGTR with AAS tiles, BOB books, and Now I'm Reading by Nora Gaydos. THe first kid was a bit more of a struggle (but went well overall) because I had never taught reading before, but with the second, it was enjoyable for both of us and he learned quickly with very little frustration. I think many preschool age kids have the ability to learn to read given the right environment (I let my 4 yo DS stand the whole 5-10 minute lesson so he could wiggle and run the occasional lap around the coffee table) but I doubt many preschool kids can learn to read well in a group, preschool setting. I think students that young need short, individualized lessons, they just don't have the attention span for more.

 

It has been a great help in school for both. I will say that mine go to a really fantastic school where most of the children come from financially well off families and most come from homes where education is important, so it is hard to compare school experiences with other people. The school really does let kids of all levels work at their own pace. My 3rd grader is encouraged to read whatever she wants and has several reading peers in her class. My kindergartener gets to choose from the big kid books in the school library and the teacher makes a point to differentiate in-class work for him. My K'er loves that he can help other kids with books or read the rules for games when they play in groups and the teacher has encouraged this type of thing.

 

Plus I love knowing that they learned with phonics. I follow up learning to read with AAS to get a good start to spelling with phonics and I can see it paying off in 3rd grade. She made it most of the way through AAS level3  a couple years ago before we stopped due to lack of time. Even now she uses those spelling skills for school and we talk about why the words on her school spelling lists are spelled the way they are. She can figure out words without just memorizing or guessing. They really start writing long pieces in 3rd grade and even when she doesn't know a particular word, her misspelling are very readable because they are phonetic. She doesn't need to pause to figure out words and also has a good vocabulary. My K'er is doing great in AAS level 1.

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Oldest didn't read until almost 7 and youngest taught herself at 3.

 

Youngest actually had the hardest time at ps when she attended Kindergarten (she was then home schooled until middle school). The majority of the students were not able to read well so important things, such as tests, were read aloud. She hated having to go slow for the teacher to read things. It actually affected her grades on tests because she would become so frustrated not being allowed to read the questions on her own and at her own pace so it threw her off. She had a great teacher, though, that started allowing her to do them on her own when she was informed of the issue. Youngest loved the fun part of K but was really rather bored most of the time, which is a huge reason I home schooled after that year.

 

Dd who didn't learn until 7 is the one who loves to read the most. She was in ps for K - second grade and it wasn't much of an issue at all. Some were better readers and some were worse. Both girls entered ps again for middle school in Honor's programs and are A students, so when they learned to read didn't really affect them long term at all.

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As for what early reading does and doesn't predict, I think it depends partly on why the kid is an early reader.  For some kids, they are just wired for reading (my youngest is like this) and that doesn't go away, nor do other kids generally rise to their level over time.  For others, the ones whose parents systematically taught them to read (even if they enjoyed it), the "advantage" is probably more likely to be small/temporary.  My eldest would fall into this category.  But again, it was still beneficial to her to be able to read in 1st since she wasn't such a great listener.

 

My kids' KG taught reading, in a way.  There were only 9 kids in there, and they ran the gamut from really not reading at the end of KG (one of the older boys), to reading 2nd grade + at the beginning of KG (that would be my youngest).  My youngest never complained or had any problems in school, whether about early reading or anything else.  I guess she figured she had the whole rest of the day to devour books.  :P  They did let her do some independent reading, but there was really no instruction for her at all.  Maybe that was a good thing for her personality, I don't know.  :P

 

I echo the experience (in my kids' present school) of "average" readers being the lowest and considered "behind."  My eldest has always been slightly above "average" in reading, yet they had her in Title I tutoring, which kind of bugged me.  She reads the same things her peers read, with better comprehension and more enjoyment than many, but without the speed and passion that some kids have.

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Bill, your school is already an exception if you have a continuous cohort from K through 6th to observe those trends.

 

FWIW in our district they teach letter sounds in K, through CVC words. Early reading may bi a big advantage in that classroom, but not necessarily throughout life. One fascinating study that was really well done which I have cited before:

 

Ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2713445/

 

An overview suggesting that early reading is not predictive:

 

College and Career readiness and success center, at American Institutes of Research: Predictors of Postsecondary Success

 

I also question whether the presence in the classroom of one or more adults who believe that early reading affects later attainment could affect student outcomes.

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I also wanted to add that I have no knowledge of which of my kids' classmates were early readers, so I can't say whether early readers are the best students now.  However, I'm going to guess they are, for a few reasons.  The school my kids go to tends to attract parents who highly value education and have bright kids.  Also, there is a lot of redshirting, so most of the kids were 6yo or close to it at the beginning of KG.  The kids who are "behind" in their class tend to be the younger ones.  I would think it is pretty normal for kids to start reading around age 6 if they have access to books at all.

 

But oddly, the 1st grade reading curriculum started at square one (way below even my slower daughter's level), and they never differentiated reading instruction other than "remedial" pull-outs.  I have no idea why.

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Bill, your school is already an exception if you have a continuous cohort from K through 6th to observe those trends.

 

FWIW in our district they teach letter sounds in K, through CVC words. Early reading may bi a big advantage in that classroom, but not necessarily throughout life. One fascinating study that was really well done which I have cited before:

 

Ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2713445/

 

An overview suggesting that early reading is not predictive:

 

College and Career readiness and success center, at American Institutes of Research: Predictors of Postsecondary Success

 

I also question whether the presence in the classroom of one or more adults who believe that early reading affects later attainment could affect student outcomes.

It is only K-5, but point taken. It is a pretty stable population of kids. We've lost a few students (mostly families who have children who were struggling, and a few that moved) and gained a few. Out of about 70 students in the grade, we've known most of them since K. It is not a school people like to leave.

 

For whatever reason those studies don't match what I observed in my little sliver of the world.

 

Bill

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Bill--I get that and I observe things in my world that don't bear out research as well. I don't want to deny your experience. But you seem to imply that there is a connection when you talk about a whole class, catching up...

 

I post these because I believe there are huge gains to be had by keeping children outdoors and not forcing a developmental task before necessary, hence, not forcing or supporting early reading in large populations. I myself was an early reader, it didn't do me a smack of good in the long run, but I do recognize that early reading happens.

 

I just hate people to get the idea that this is something they really need to focus on. The vast majority of children "catch up" by third grade, but you can never get back the early childhood years of smelling the grass, rolling around in the mud, walking through a little wood in the park, finding a worm. It may seem to those who have early readers that you can have both. But for children who are five and not ready, that may be a choice... either spend another hour in the park, OR spend an hour remediating reading.

 

I am lucky neither of my children needs remediation. But I'll never regret those hours we spent running the water pump into the sand and building castles.

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Honestly, early reading was the easiest thing to accommodate with a good teacher and librarian.  It wasn't a big deal for DD's school to send her up to 3rd grade for reading a couple of times a week and let her read/do the 3rd grade worksheets/workbook the other days while the K class learned phonics. In a different school, that might not have been the case, but we were very fortunate to have a supportive school, an excellent teacher, and an awesome librarian (until she left on maternity leave in January).

 

Everything else....not so much. DD is very asynchronous, and a traditional classroom with 24 kids within 18 months of the same age simply isn't a good fit for her.

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With my slower learner, at age 4-5, I never spent more than 5-10 minutes per day on reading instruction / guided practice.  I don't think that cramped her style too much.  It was part of our evening wind-down routine.  Or I would mix it into an outing, such as a museum visit where they had books in the kids' hands-on center, or a visit to the library next to the park, or reading signs and labels at the zoo or grocery store.

 

With my faster learner, she has been a book fiend since before she could walk.  When she was "too quiet" I would always find her sitting in the middle of a pile of books.  :P  She wasn't one to really take "instruction" but I would just point out something here or there as we enjoyed books together.  So, I really don't think early reading kept her from better pursuits either.  If anything I had to drag her away from the books to get her moving.  (Still do.)

 

But I agree that if a little bit of instruction isn't taking, the solution isn't to take away developmentally appropriate activities in favor of reading lessons.

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Bill--I get that and I observe things in my world that don't bear out research as well. I don't want to deny your experience. But you seem to imply that there is a connection when you talk about a whole class, catching up...

 

I post these because I believe there are huge gains to be had by keeping children outdoors and not forcing a developmental task before necessary, hence, not forcing or supporting early reading in large populations. I myself was an early reader, it didn't do me a smack of good in the long run, but I do recognize that early reading happens.

 

I just hate people to get the idea that this is something they really need to focus on. The vast majority of children "catch up" by third grade, but you can never get back the early childhood years of smelling the grass, rolling around in the mud, walking through a little wood in the park, finding a worm. It may seem to those who have early readers that you can have both. But for children who are five and not ready, that may be a choice... either spend another hour in the park, OR spend an hour remediating reading.

 

I am lucky neither of my children needs remediation. But I'll never regret those hours we spent running the water pump into the sand and building castles.

 

I really think this is a false dicotomy. Reading and playing in the sun are not antagonistic or mutually exclusive choices.

 

I highly value the role of play in children's lives. My son, for example, attended a nursery school that was "developmental" (meaning non-academic) where the emphasis was on "play." They had daily opportunities to do activities facilitated by adults, or were free to just play with other children during that activity time. Being an only child (and an extrovert) having a bunch of children he could play with every day was great. Other than maybe hearing a short story at rug time, all they did was play.

 

He learned to read at home, with me. Even that activity (and our math activities) were designed to be a fun as possible. Leaning together provide good positive bonding time with me, and set up a relationship where parent/child learning was the household norm.

 

None of this took away from time in the sun.

 

I take your point that pushing things that tare not developmentally appropriate on children is a bad thing. the best route IMO is to understand how individual children learn best and meet their needs for intellectual growth. This is preferable to my mind than simple "delay." Young minds are plastic and growing, best to feed their natural curiosity in loving ways.

 

i do understand that not all children may be ready to read before starting Kindergarten. In my day we mostly played, learned shapes, letters, and colors in K, but didn't *read* until First Grade. We did fine. But schools (at least in my neck of the woods) are no longer like that. On a practical level it is a major disadvantage not to be a reader in K. I think it is hard on children to see others  reading with facility, when they don't. Not sure what the answer to this is in a public school setting.

 

Bill

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Wow, it confounds me how different areas are -- in my area, knowing all the basic letter sounds when starting K is considered 'advanced' even for the best schools -- not advanced as in 1/2 the kids are already there either but advanced as in "your DD is already at a half way through K level" (said to me about my DD who ended up being a struggling reader).  

 

I do think just saying "already reading" or "fluent reader" is a bit confusing in this context though -- what does "already reading" mean?  what does "fluent reader" mean?  Reading cvc words?  Reading Bob books?  Frog and Toad?  Magic Treehouse ?  or Charlotte's Web level? 

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Some of our kids could read before K, and some couldn't.  We didn't push it.  If they showed interest, we worked with them.  If they didn't, it didn't matter to us at all.

 

Our personal experience was that knowing how to read before K seemed to be to their advantage.  They were a little ahead when they started, and for some reason that motivated them to keep working hard to stay ahead.  They did very well throughout school.

 

My two who didn't read before school had a harder time in school for a long time.  I'd say that for one of them, the gap closed and she caught up and really excelled by the time she graduated from high school.  Interestingly, part of the deal with her is that she never enjoyed reading children's books, at all.  She didn't begin to enjoy reading until she realized she could read "real life" books, articles, news, etc.  That is pretty much all she ever reads. 

 

For my other one who didn't read before K, she struggled for a long time academically (nothing terrible, but school always came a little harder for her).  She is in college now and she still struggles, though she gets decent enough grades.  She really just isn't very interested in school!

 

 

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No, my kids have not.  We are in a part of the country, too, where it is not expected.  There is one pre-school (or child development center, as it is called, and it is a full-time place) where some of the kids are learning to read before Kindergarten.  Other than that -- the pre-schools and stuff are not teaching kids to read.  

 

Most kids start Kindergarten knowing quite a few or all their letters, how to recognize their name and maybe a lot of names of pre-school classmates.  

 

There are also a few kids from any place, who pick up reading very fast with just a little (from my impression) guidance from their parents.  

 

My kids are learning slowly and steadily.  It would not have been realistic for them to learn before starting school.  

 

But I think plenty of kids are capable.  

 

To me "knowing how to read" in this context would mean -- able to read the little decodable readers that other kids would be working on in Kindergarten.  It wouldn't mean chapter books.  It would mean the more advanced little readers and things like Frog and Toad.  

 

There is a boy at my church who seems like he is a strong reader, I would expect him to be able to read Frog and Toad and also things a little harder than that.  Not chapter books.  He attends the aforementioned child development center and is considered advanced in my town.  He is in K now.  

 

I think it is nice for him.  He can read some Bible verses with the older kids, he can read some (most to all) the words for songs.  For part of our kids church they are K-6 and I think it would be easier to be able to read, to read the Bible verses and learn the songs (they show both of these on a slide projector kind of thing).  But my daughter is great at learning songs and learns songs very quickly without being able to read.  I don't think it matters for her.  I think it is nice for this boy, I think it does make things easier for him.  

 

In school I don't think it matters.  I think it is nice for the kids who are reading, they are in a higher level reading group and do fun things.  My daughter is in the average reading group and does fun things.  

 

She has a friend she plays school with, and her friend reader better and knows a lot of sight words.  So, her friend teaches her reading lessons when they play school.  They both really enjoy it.  

 

I don't think that the kids who are reading have an easier time, b/c they are placed in a different reading group.  I think all the kids are similarly challenged in their reading groups.  I have not heard of kids being bored, they will move kids up.  

 

My older son was behind in reading in K, and that was difficult, but it was not a matter of me teaching him at home prior to school starting.  It was not that kind of situation.  He struggled to learn to read and it took him time and specialized instruction.  But he is doing well now.  

 

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Yes both of mine were at least a DRA 3 by their first DRA assessement of their kindergarten year (which is done in october shortly after school starts)... our district wants kindergarteners to  be ~DRA 4 when they leave (so mine had already met reading milestones for kindergarten within the first month of kindergarten). It helps a lot because now they can focus on reading comprehension without having the a lot of pressure on decoding. 

 

Now because my kids (kindergarten and 1st grade) are advanced readers their writing skills are ahead of the game.

 

FYI I used reading eggs with both kids no later than 4  years old (I started earlier with my daughter because she could do it). 

 

My kids are very motivated to read all sorts of things... because they like that they can read... so I also get feedback recently that my daughter (who is the 1st grader) comes out with all these facts and 95% of the time she is correct (I assume this was in their science and social studies lessons). 

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I'm curious, could your child read before their first day of elementary school? I"m not talking about preschool, or prekindergarten, I'm talking about K (if its mandatory) or 1st grade?

 

In your experience was the childs ability to before school a help or a hindrance in the long run?

 

DFS/DGS29 was also already in school when I met him.  From things he and my husband have said I am guessing he was not reading in kindergarten and not really excelling with reading in first grade. I know he expressed his concerns regarding his own little boy based on his experiences but he is reading well and seems to be doing well.  Having two proactive loving parents and a mom who is an elementary educator probably have helped on this front.

 

DSS28 was already in school when I met his dad (and him).  However, he remembers being all excited that he could pick out words and sometimes even read entire portions of the law contracts his mom was reviewing at home.  Sadly, she died when he was four so I presume he was reading quite fluently by kindergarten.

 

DD19 grew up with books and being read to (and running around outside, kicking soccer balls, and riding horses). Although her dad and spent a lot of time reading to her and answered and encouraged her many questions we didn't do formal instruction or try to teach her to read.  Something clicked when she was around three and she made the connection that letters came together to form words and wanted to understand more. We just kind of went with it all and she was reading fluently by the time she started kindergarten when she was four.

 

DFD6 was just beginning to read a little when she started kindergarten in Fall 2013. She had turned five the prior May and at that time had not been reading at all (and I really had no idea whether she even really knew numbers, letters, or anything) but she was profoundly depressed and I think she had a lot of skills regression and no interest in anything for that reason.  School readiness was so far off our radar at that point but once the antidepressants kicked in or a miracle occurred and she became a child again it was clear that she was a bright kid (not a total surprise given that her older full sister tested PG). We did do more specific prep for school stuff with her that summer because she wanted to go to kindergarten.  I admit I had my reservations, there was a part of me that just wanted to keep her home, love her, and enjoy that she was no longer miserable.  But I also thought that it would be good for her to have a peer group beyond her siblings (and both her caseworker and the child psychiatrist thought school could be good especially if she could get into the part time hybrid track--which she did). She gained a lot of ground over that fall between kindergarten and what we did at home. She was reading fluently by Christmas 2013 and there has been no stopping her since.

 

DD5 also grew up with books and being read to---by many people who loved her.  This didn't cut into play time.  She also had plenty of time to run around outside, nurture the family horse gene, and swim many miles (no not at a time but over the course of her childhood so far that has definitely happened this is the child who thinks she was born with fins). She also was making the first steps to reading around three so DH and I helped and encouraged and she was reading well when she started kindergarten last fall at age four. We did do a little more formal phonics with her because we were working with DFD6 (when she was DFD5 and DD5 was DD3/DD4) and we often let both girls participate in whatever we were doing.

 

DD2 learned her letters playing scales (she has been entranced with the piano since she could sit and DH taught her scales to divert her preferred activity of banging on keys). She has yet to meet a book she doesn't want someone to read. She also wants to do everything her big sisters do and loves trips to the farm to see her favorite cows.  She can read some simple phonetic words (animal sounds are easy to sound out) and has good letter recognition. I suspect she will be reading soon but we're in no rush for that. 

 

DD15 and DFD10 came into our lives when they had already completed fourth and second grades so I'm not sure where they were before kindergarten.  DFD10 has a lot of memories of books she loved when she was little that her biological parents read so I suspect she grew up in a literature rich home before her parents' death.  I know that DD15 attended full day academic pre-school at ages three and four and I get the impression that she was taught to read there.

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I'm curious about how you know this.

 

Studies suggest that early reading is less predictive of future academic success than math skills or attention. The nations with the highest pisa scores all teach reading at 6-7. The reading gap usually is closed by third grade if one controls for other factors like outside tutoring, screen time, etc.

 

So your experience seems to be an exception not the rule unless you are ignoring other major socioeconomic factors.

 

I think there is another potential explanation as well.

 

If kids are expected to read early, and they don't because they aren't ready developmentally yet, in some schools they are still going to be treated like they are behind, with all that entails.  My guess is that is likely in the case of children who are just slower to develop that it negativly impacts their later schooling - they become, in their own eyes and those of their parents and teachers and schools, struggling readers and struggling students.

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Bill, for a child who learns to read easily, there is no dichotomy between outdoors and reading. For the child who will not be there developmentally until seven, they spend hours a day doing a developmentally inappropriate task and feeling behind.

 

I think that's detrimental.

 

FWIW in our district when people realized reading was expected in K they just started entering kids later.

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Actually in my experience, reading ramps up all of a sudden once the "click" occurs.  My kids are not the only ones who grew more than a grade level in several months, after putzing along for some time before that.  In my kids' case, the "click" happened at a young 4 and a young 5.

 

Vision development may be a predictor, but vision problems usually aren't suspected until after reading lessons begin.

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