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How long did it take to teach your child to read fluently?


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How long did it take your child to learn to read, from the time you started trying to teach your child to read (letter sounds and CVC words) until they were able to read a chapter book fluently? And what was the age range?

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6 months from beginning to reading at a 4th grade level easily.  He didn't like chapter books.  He preferred picture books still.  He had just turned 4 when we started, was 4y3m when we finished reading lessons, and 4y6m by the time he had picked up on 99% of the phonics patterns (French-based words threw him off for another year or so).

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DD1 - about 1.5 years

 

DD2 - 2 years

 

DD3 - 4+ years We're at just about 4 years now. She just last week finished reading her first simple chapter book (Yay!), Puppy Pals, but it took her 3 weeks to read it. She has made huge strides in reading over the past year (could only manage the simplest level 1 readers last summer) but it's still a struggle for her and she gets tired easily.

 

DS - going on 1 year and we're still a long way from chapter books. I don't expect him to take nearly as long as DD3 though. He seems to be picking it up like DD2 so I'm guessing that by this time next year he'll be reading Magic Tree House. But that's just my guess of course.

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What do you mean by fluent?

 

My first child went from his very first reading lessons shortly after he turned 5 to about a 2nd/3rd grade reading level in 6 months. A couple months later he was reading EVERYTHING, including the bible. I think he's a bit unusual though. He did know his letter sounds when we started.

 

My daughter was 5.5 when we began in September. She knew many but not all of her letter sounds, she couldn't even consistently recognize certain letters. By January she was reading most of the Bob books. I feel like she is really taking off now, she reads random words on signs, cereal boxes, and over my shoulder. She is reading Annie and Snowball books and Mr. Putter books. She hasn't made the jump to more difficult books yet and she still doesn't read in her head. I'm not sure if that is considered fluent but I do consider her reading.

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I see now you are asking about chapter books, I think my daughter is still a least a few months off from being ready. She will read 2-3 pages of the Ramona books with me, but she gets really tired. If we each read every other page we can make it through a chapter.

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How long did it take your child to learn to read, from the time you started trying to teach your child to read (letter sounds and CVC words) until they were able to read a chapter book fluently? And what was the age range?

 

I began Officially teaching younger dd when she was 5 or 6--I have forgotten, since that was around 1984--and she was not reading at her age level until she was 9 1/2. She was taking classes at the community college when she was 14, BTW, so I guess my slow-and-go method didn't hurt her any, lol.

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We are not there yet. DD started reading Cvc words a couple of months before turning 4. She's 4.5 now and we are a little over a third of our way through our reading curriculum (ordinary parents guide) and she's not fluent. She can read most of an Elephant and Piggie book and most of the Bob and Nora Gaydos books, but she does get tired sometimes. And she still sounds a lot out. I suspect it will be another year or two (or more) before she reads simple chapter books such as Kingdom of Wrenly.

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DS9 could read CvC words before age 2. I knew he knew some sight words, but remember driving around town just before DS7 was born with MiL who was asking what sounds various words started and ended with... he nailed all of them and could read simple words on demand. MiL was familiar with DW who was a stealth reader who went directly from not reading to chapter books around age 4 so took it all in stride. That said,DS9 had *no* interested in "learning to read". We kept having breathless preschool teachers tell us how he knew how to read quite advanced stuff... what level he was at was never clear. At the beginning of kindergarten he was reading guided reading aloud level J, "Henry and Mudge" and such. By the point we pulled him from PS to HS he was back to guided reading level G books, so "Biscuit" etc. I remember driving from Minneapolis to St Louis and back at Thanksgiving and he read maybe 18 Magic Tree House Books on that trip. In the Spring he read all ~13 Oz books. By the end of kindergarten he was reading "The Hobbit".

 

DS7 is in PS and was ready at ~4 and started K reading Bob books and finished K reading Magic Tree House books. That said he just spent the most annoying(perhaps typical) possible year after that. He spent the entire 1st grade year reading crap... I really wanted him to just push through to better stuff but he was sand bagging it and his teacher was still impressed. Towards the end of the year he found some friends who were reading "I Survived" books which are probably twaddle but written at the level of "real" books. That finally pushed him over the edge and now he's reading Emily Jenkins' "Toys" and "Inkling" books and "Clementine" and other real quality chapter books. Currently he is devouring "Boxcar Children" books and I'm thrilled.So for him 2 years is about right.

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I'm going to define reading "a chapter book fluently" as being able to read pretty much any elementary level chapter book and being able to read those chapter books aloud with expression and without having to pause to sound out any words. So the time from first starting to teach letter sounds until reading fluently was:

 

Child 1 -  less than a year

Child 2 -  3 years

Child 3 -  2 years

Child 4 -  18 months

 

With my first child, I started instruction at around 5 yrs old. With my second child, I started instruction at around 5.5 yrs old. With the last 2 children, I started instruction at around 4.5 yrs old. 

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Well this makes me feel a lot better. It seems like I've been teaching my DD7 to read for the longest time, over 2 years, and she's still not fluent. I don't know why I've been led to think that teaching reading should be.... faster? Lol. But this makes me think this us normalast. Thanks!

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Both son and daughter 3 -4 yrs. My daughter took a long time to build confidence, my son just struggled. My 2nd daughter seems to be catching on pretty well, I expect that she'll be reading very well by the end of 1st grade, whereas the other 2 it wasn't until the end of 3rd. So happy to have one to be easy to teach!!! Just one more to go, no idea how she'll be yet. Teaching kids to read has not been terribly enjoyable, I'll be glad to be done.

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I think we started CVC stuff around at 4 years old. About a year to a year and a half later she was independently reading early readers like Fancy Nancy, though it took her a while to make her way through them and her stamina was not great. Now a year after that, she is independently reading books up to a 4th grade level independently and quickly. 

 

So 2-2.5 years. A huge part of the final push (to reading fluently and quickly) was finding a series that sucked her in (the Kingdom of Wrenly). It made a TREMENDOUS difference.

Edited by Sk8ermaiden
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Well this makes me feel a lot better. It seems like I've been teaching my DD7 to read for the longest time, over 2 years, and she's still not fluent. I don't know why I've been led to think that teaching reading should be.... faster? Lol. But this makes me think this us normalast. Thanks!

We started very young with Letter Factory like about 2.  By 4 we were working through phonics lessons.  Dd has read aloud to me a lot from picture books and worked through 1 chapter at a time of chapter books for at least a year.  Less than a month ago she picked up a chapter book for the first time on her own and sat down and read it over a couple of days.  She then picked some easier chapter books and read them in a matter of hours.  She is now working on Black Stallion and that one will take her a few days.  She just turned 6 last month.  Something just clicked and it at least partly involved reading a chapter book that she really wanted to read.

 

ETA:  She is understanding what she is reading because we regularly ask for updates about where she is in the book or what is happening.  I doubt that she gets every word right yet, just because now and then she will tell us something or read aloud something to us and miss a word.

Edited by Mama Geek
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I didn't try to teach either before they could read CVC words on their own (seemingly spontaneously but they did watch that leapfrog video...) My older daughter didn't really need to be taught... but for what it's worth she read her first real chapter books (e.g., Catwings, My Father's Dragon) 1.5 years after I noticed her reading. My younger daughter read CVC words then asked for help learning more, she needed more help with syllables, etc. and 1.5 years after she read that first C-A-T she's finally reading stuff like Mercy Watson fluently.

 

Edit: missed the age range thing... my older daughter learned at 3 and could read fluently at 4.5, but her comprehension probably stopped at about 3rd grade with the exception of fantasy-type stuff and (weirdly) science books (she didn't have the frame of reference for many others... ). My younger daughter was probably 3 years 3 months before she started reading to me, and asking to learn more --  and at 4.5 isn't as far as her sister was, but can read very early chapter books. 

Edited by tm919
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Ds took 2 1/2 years.

 

Dd has been at it for a year so far and is looking like she is picking it up a bit faster. I am thinking another few months and she will be able to read chapter book type stuff. She is way more motivated to practice than ds was so that has helped tremendously.

 

 

Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

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Older one: The kindergarten teacher who was a saint taught him letter-sound correspondence, though not perfectly, at age 5.  By the very end of third grade he was able to read Boxcar Children books for pleasure--so about 4 years.  He has dyslexia (which we did not know until he was almost 11).

 

Younger one:  I started teaching him to read at age two because he seemed ready for it.  He was reading fluently on a first grade level at age 3 and a second grade level at age 4.  Before he read chapter books he preferred picture books, the ones that the authors assume that adults will be reading aloud to children (and that are usually written at about a 5th grade reading level).  By the time he was 6 he could read anything I handed to him, and that included chapter books.  So if you're talking about initial instruction to chapter books, my younger son also took about 4 years.

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We start letter sounds/CVC early (around 2?) with puzzles and fridge magnets... not seriously... just fun...

Two of my kids were reading early elementary chapter books by 4 or 5. That's 3 years for them.

Two of my kids took longer (until 7 years old). One of these has dyslexia. Maybe the other one does, too. Not sure yet. That's 5 years.

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For my oldest, who I believe has dyslexia, it has taken 3 years and he's almost there. The free "I See Sam" books online helped tremendously. The online reading program for dyslexia, Nessy, has been very helpful as well.

 

My middle child is five and is progressing much faster. It is becoming more clear to me that my son has a reading disability the more I work with the middle child and see how effortless it can be.

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It seems like forever (like potty training always felt).

 

The kid matters more in our house than how old you start. One kid only took 1 1/2 years. Others took 3+. Ages 6 1/2 (for the 1 1/2 yrs one) to almost 10 when they could read fluently (according to MinivanMom's definition, which is pretty close to mine). Still working on the youngest two. The older three are all big bookworms, even my previously audiobook-only child. 

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Two of mine taught themselves. One started reading Dr. Seuss books at 4.5 (completely skipped the CVC stage - just jumped into Go, Dog, Go! one day out of the blue!). He was able to read at a 4th-5th grade level by the beginning of first grade, but stamina for chapter books was closer to the end of first grade. By the end of 2nd grade, he could read anything you put in front of him (he read the entire LOTR series that summer). The other that taught himself started reading CVC words at 3, really kicked into reading at 4.5 (random picture books), and at 6 he was reading chapter books. He started reading the Harry Potter series at 6.5 and had read it 4 times through by time he was 7. The kid that didn't teach himself to read... He could read CVC words at just turned 4, but he stayed at that stage a LONG time. Around age 7, he started to read better. At age 9, reading really clicked and he could read chapter books. He still doesn't have the stamina for Harry Potter and LOTR, but he is reading things like Doctor Dolittle and a 4th grade level Junior Classics version of The Time Machine (he obsessed over that book for WEEKS). One big problem he had in the early reading days was that he would sound out a word, then when he encountered the word again, he couldn't remember it, so he had to sound it out all over again - even if it was in the same line! That was frustrating for both of us. But we lived. He can read now. :)

 

Now everyone has a Kindle and I have to tell them to stop reading while walking. :lol:

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Well this makes me feel a lot better. It seems like I've been teaching my DD7 to read for the longest time, over 2 years, and she's still not fluent. I don't know why I've been led to think that teaching reading should be.... faster? Lol. But this makes me think this us normalast. Thanks!

 

For my ds, it was about 3 full years. He was 9 when he started to read fluently. I kept reading threads where other kids would move quickly and it was discouraging. We explored some dyslexic issues, I really pinpointed where he was having trouble and used the REWARDS (this was several years ago, so not sure how the program is set up now). He didn't move from Magic Tree House to Little House length. He moved from Magic Tree House to something like A-Z mysteries. 

 

I continued to read aloud to him and then slowly increased reading level and length. I would lay out about 3-4 books and he got to choose. The next book would try to stay with the same reading level but increase the length. 

 

He's now almost 19 and in college, so doing okay. Looking back, I think part of it was personality. He's still not an avid reader of anything but math  and science books and manga. He doesn't like "boring" stories or overly flowery language. It was hard to find interesting books at a lower reading level. The first series he read on his own and really liked was the "Keys to the Kingdom" series by Garth Nix. He was about 12 then, I think. 

 

We read aloud all through high school and he appreciates a good story, even if he's not the one reading it. He also has a respect for books and his bookcases are about the most organized thing in his room. I hid my frustration a lot when he was little because I didn't want to burn him out on reading completely. It seems to have worked, as Ellie said, the slow and steady. 

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My eldest about 3 years, she kind of stalled out early on a couple of times and in hindsight may have benefitted from starting a bit later. My youngest about a year maybe just a bit more. He suddenly just got it with far less effort than my eldest. They were both around 7 when it really clicked. 

Edited by lailasmum
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Both of my kids could decode at 3, but didn't read even simple chapter books on their own until 6 to 6 1/2. If you handed it to them, they could read it, but they didn't. 

 

It varies quite a bit and I don't think it means much. If a 6-yr-old is truly struggling with letter sounds and decoding CvC, I would be . . . not necessarily concerned, but certainly alert to potential problems. If they know letter sounds and can do some decoding, not reading chapter books would not worry me. 

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My two oldest kids went from decoding CVC words to fluently reading Magic Treehouse type books in around 6 months. One did it from 3.5 to 4 and the other from 4.5 to 5.

 

My special needs child has taken 2 years to go from decoding CVC words to slowly reading books like Fox in Socks and Green Eggs and Ham. She is not yet a fluent reader at 7.5. She is probably not dyslexic per se but she does have language-based learning disabilities.

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Psh. Took two years to get to CVC words comfortably (from 4 until right before 6th bday). 1 yr later, he reads chapter books easily, but still prefers picture books. For him, it just had to "click" I think (and we needed a better system than the ones we tried for the first two years). We'll see how it goes with #2 starting Kindy next year! She'll be 5 and I didn't even bother torturing us both with trying to start earlier! lol.

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I started all of my kids somewhere around 4.5-5.

 

My oldest could read when we started. I knew it, she knew it. She just didn't want to. I basically dragged her through lessons and she was off. Within six months (so maybe just turned five) she was reading Magic Treehouse. She'd get them from the library and read two before we even finished our errands.

 

My second...sigh. I highly suspect he's dyslexic. I also highly suspect he's gifted. So he reads slightly above grade level, but nowhere near where he is intellectually. Teaching him to read was painful. We used many different curricula (and ALL of it; we weren't jumping around). He CAN read chapter books (plods through them with me) but never does for pleasure. Thank goodness for audible with this child.

 

My third has been reading well for about two years and is just making the jump to chapter books. She could have done if long ago, but she's a highly visual child who loves good quality picture books.

 

My fourth is one of those stealth readers. He asked me a few times to teach him to read, but after teaching children #2 and #3, I didn't feel the push to plod through all of that with a 3yo. So I put it off. When he was newly 4, he started spelling words with foam letters and I realized I should really teach him. I took him through phonics, but nothing really was new for him. He is newly 5 and reads extremely well (almost as well, if not better than, #2 and #3). If I pushed chapter books, he could do it. But he's just 5...

 

So... Somewhere between nearly no time and about two years.

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I didn't start my younger son reading until he was 5.  It took him about 2 1/2 years to learn how to read fluently, but he has some dyslexia issues.  It took a long, long time to get beyond simple CVC words.  There were many times I thought, OK, if he doesn't make some progress, I'll have to go out and get some help.  And just at my biggest point of desperation, he'd make some advancement, and so we'd continue.  His big break came at Christmas when he was in 2nd grade.  He got the Magic Treehouse books for Christmas, and he sat down that night and just started reading them.  I was amazed.  By the end of that next summer he was reading books like the Percy Jackson series.  When things click, they can take off fast.   I was kind of amazed because many of the books I had bought for him to read with his Grade 3 curriculum really ended up being below his level.

  

My older son started learning to read in public Kindergarten.  I only finished up the job so I don't think I can take full credit for teaching him to read.

 

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Ds - Started in Kindergarten and was reading Harry Potter at the beginning of second grade. So, 2 years?

Dd1 - Started in Kindergarten and it wasn't until the end of second grade for her to read simpler chapter books. She'll be in 3rd grade this year and she's been slowly working her way through Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle.

Dd2 - remains to be seen.

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Oldest could read CVC words on a Montessori movable alphabet at age 2.5 He played Reading Eggs for fun at 3. We started buddy reading at 4.5. By 5.5, he was reading fluently at a 3rd-4th grade level. At 7.5, he can now read anything. He is my gifted child (more interested in STEM though).

 

Youngest will be 3 in August and understands that letters make sounds. Although he plays an iPad letter sounds app for fun, I don't think he really knows which letters make which sounds yet. I was planning to start Reading Eggs with him in the fall, but he may not be ready. He is my very physical, kinesthetic child.

Edited by SeaConquest
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One of my kids made that progress in about 6 months (she was 4yo).  The other one, who started shortly before she turned 5, took about 1.5 years to get to the point of reading princess type storybooks.  (If you're talking Frog and Toad, it was more like 9 mos for my slower reader.)

Edited by SKL
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My first child took about a year and a half from the very basics of phonics to a chapter book.

 

My second child has had 3 years of instruction, and he struggles with CVC words.  He's going to start Barton next month, and I have high hopes.

 

My third child seems to be following the path of #2.  One solid year of insruction, and he can barely read his name, and he does not know all his letter sounds.

 

My fourth child has taught herself letter sounds from leap frog videos.  I have my fingers crossed that I will not have a multi-year challenge for the third time.  

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Mine both started in kindy -- oldest was 5.5 then. By 6.5/start of first he was moving into Magic Treehouse. Now entering third he's 8th grade level, the tests tell me. Second kiddo is entering first at just-6 and still a beginner reader, comfortable with Dr. Seuss-type books. Not what I'd call 'fluently' yet.

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