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What exactly do you mean naturally without formal schooling? My kids learned primarily by listening and watching me read aloud and I occasionally talked to them about synthetic phonics stuff as it came up. We didn't follow a curriculum or schedule and they've never schooled outside the home.

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One of my boys taught himself to read around 3.5yo without me even noticing. I'm not entirely sure how he did it, but I know it started with light switches (he noticed the tiny words on and off on the switch and that the light was either on or off when he could see those words). I wish I'd been paying more attention to him at the time, but I was very preoccupied with his special needs little brother.

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Back in the early 70s, I learned to read without instruction at some point before entering kindergarten.  I have no idea how I learned, but I just did.  Reading was like breathing.  We never went to the library, but we did have a book about the 3 little kittens who lost their mittens 🙂 (probably some other books, too, but I don't remember them). Someone read the kittens book to me over and over and I think that's how I figured out the code.  Once I knew the code, I just took off from there. 

My younger daughter is a pretty natural reader.  I don't remember doing anything formal with her.  For fun, she watched the Letter Factory videos, PBS programming, and played early levels of Starfall.  Her reading naturally improved the older she got.  

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I also taught myself to read back in the early 70s. I can remember the exact moment I figured it out - it was a book about a dog called "A House for Little Red", and I ran through the house yelling, "Hey, I can read!" I read it out loud to my mom and brothers and they were shocked because no one had taught me. I just picked it up on my own by paying close attention when other people were reading out loud. When I went to kindergarten, the teacher would have me read to the rest of the class while she took a break.🙂

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Ii also self-taught when I was barely 3.  I don't remember it... in my memory span I could always read.  I think my siste played "school" with me one day.   I was always interested in books, pictures of me at 18 months or 2 years old generally have me holding a book or looking at a book.

I also have no clue how I managed it as my eyesight was so bad...  I often saw double and I know how blury text is if I don't have glasses.  My earliest memory is my mom looking at me and asking what I was seeing (my one eye was turned in).  And one of my next earliest memory (age 3) is at the opthamologist appintment, and the doctor being astonished I could read (I always read outloud at that age).  It affected the prescription. (I got bifolcals so I could see to read as well as distant...  that would have waited until I was starting school normally.)

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I'm not sure if this counts or not since I did teach my daughter the letter sounds, but she basically taught herself to read by looking at Dick and Jane books. I heard her reading them one day and was shocked that she knew what the words were. I had never done any formal phonics program with her. 

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One of my children did; print rich environment.  I suspect Lego had a big part in it as the code from the Bionicle line presented the idea that voice to text was something that could be easily cracked. 

 Authors such as J.K. Rowling made literary devices very obvious, and of course being around mixed age groups expanded that intro.   The only 'teaching' needed was AP English -- the intro to modernism was helpful.  The rest was easy, especially after the Kindle linked dictionary was available to overcome our public school district's total lack of dictionaries in the classrooms.

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My youngest learned to read by listening in on his older brother's lessons.  When he was three he stated that he could read and proved it by reading a page from the Magic Tree House book his brother and I were buddy reading.  Older brother was not pleased.  Older brother was also an early reader, but not quite so early, and he progressed through obvious stages.  I did run through a phonics program with him when he was five (kindergarten).  

We have a print-rich household.  Children were read to from birth, pre-birth in the case of the youngest. 

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On 12/30/2018 at 11:30 PM, mykidsrmyjoy said:

I'm not sure if this counts or not since I did teach my daughter the letter sounds, but she basically taught herself to read by looking at Dick and Jane books. I heard her reading them one day and was shocked that she knew what the words were. I had never done any formal phonics program with her. 

This was my dd10.  She did hear me giving some reading instruction to her older sister.  One day I saw her holding a book and chattering on and on and on... until I really listened to her.  Run, Jane, run.  See Jane run.

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On 12/30/2018 at 4:00 PM, Cake and Pi said:

One of my boys taught himself to read around 3.5yo without me even noticing. I'm not entirely sure how he did it, but I know it started with light switches (he noticed the tiny words on and off on the switch and that the light was either on or off when he could see those words). I wish I'd been paying more attention to him at the time, but I was very preoccupied with his special needs little brother.

 

My son taught himself to read  -- probably by me reading to him. We had no curriculum. I read to him so much he memorized the books. Sometimes we played with letters and he'd rearrange them and ask me "What does that spell" and I'd sound out the nonsense word he created then rearrange and say "But this is <word> which is <definition>" and one day I started to realize maybe he hadn't just memorized books but could actually read them himself when he read the words on a box sitting in the room that I was pretty sure we had not previously read to him. And after that, he flew!

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My DD started picking out words on signs before 18 months and was able to read new to her books at a 2nd-3rd grade level by age 3. By kindergarten, she was able to pick up and read college textbooks as long as the print was big enough. No formal instruction. She did love being read to and looking at books early on, and especially loved the kind of board books with lots of labeled objects, which she would read to herself identifying the objects. I assumed she just had a big vocabulary and a good memory-I hadn’t realized that she was teaching herself to read until she did it. We did phonics for spelling when we started homeschooling at age 5, which may have not been needed, but I felt better doing it. 

 

 

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My oldest was largely self taught - learned at age 4 mainly from learning letter sounds (remember that annoying Leapfrog letter sound fridge magnet set?) and  following along when I ran my finger under the text I read aloud. My other three kids were not this way! She did eventually need to learn phonics for spelling, which she found incredibly tedious.

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