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I think he is about to start reading. Now what?

post #1 of 17
Thread Starter 
DS decided to learn all of his letters about two months ago completely on his own. He started asking questions, and also started trying to write them. He has nearly all of his letters down now and can write about half of them quite well. He is also starting to sound out individual letters and his teachers seem to think that he will be reading within the next six months or so.

Does he need some "easy readers" around? Should I encourage him to sound out words? Do I leave it alone and let him decide when he wants to learn more? I am so excited that he wants to learn to read, but I also want to support him in whatever way I can.
post #2 of 17
Yeah, for sure, if he's interested work with him in sounding things out. Why not! Grab some easy readers, read them with him and see if he can figure some of the easier words out with help. Just go at his pace, and stay attuned to his interest level.

Also, if you're not anti-screen time, starfall.com is a great phonics games website.
post #3 of 17


There are several different approaches to learning to read.

My DD's kindergarten used the Guided Reading Levels scheme, and encouraged kids to apply a variety of strategies for reading. Context, pictures, learning sight words, sounding words out, knowing what words would be reasonable to expect, etc. I thought that it was a much better approach than pure phonics.

Starfall is a great website. Our girls both loved it.

A lot of early readers are really boring. Some kids have a real sense of accomplishment in reading a book. Other kids can really be turned off the easy early readers.

I would start by finding some basic books that he really likes... stuff like Dr. Seuss beginner books and the Elephant & Piggy series. Just point to each word as you read.
post #4 of 17
We broke out the old board books like Goodnight Moon and DD used them to piece together words that she knew.
post #5 of 17
Originally Posted by ChetMC View Post

A lot of early readers are really boring. Some kids have a real sense of accomplishment in reading a book. Other kids can really be turned off the easy early readers.

I would start by finding some basic books that he really likes... stuff like Dr. Seuss beginner books and the Elephant & Piggy series. Just point to each word as you read.
Agree with finding books that he likes to read. Having said that, DD loved an early reader that I thought was incredibly boring with pedestrian stories and illustrations. You never know what they will find appealing.

A set of letters (uppercase and lowercase, if you can find them, or you can make them!) is great for playing with building words.

Since he's started to try to write, he may like writing letters and words in sand or a tray of flour or cornmeal or with fingerpaints for some extra sensory input.

Encourage him with lots of opportunities to read and follow his lead. He'll probably start to decode words all around him. He'll identify letters or read words on his cereal box at breakfast or on signs in the grocery shop. Soon, you are hiding the newspaper and putting your adult fiction on the top shelf of the bookcase. It's amazing to watch it happen. Enjoy!
post #6 of 17
Hmmm, I wonder why the "six month" guess? My DS is a few months younger than yours, he learned exactly what you describe above in the same order and roughly the same timing. All with ease and totally based on his own direction, interest, etc.

That was 3 months ago and he's just "sitting" with that stuff, as I put it. Moved on to other skills, interests. He's totally retained what he learned but hasn't taken any more steps.

(I'm personally thrilled as I'd rather he not start reading yet, but I don't want to start a debate, it's just us)

So I was wondering why they think because he's learned his letters and sounds that he'll be reading in six months. Will someone be teaching him and this was them saying "he's ready"--like he's got all the pre-reading skills and now CAN be taught? Or are they saying that in their experience that once kids have their letter knowledge they teach themselves within 6 months?

Totally curious, we're still within that 6 months--so personally curious!
post #7 of 17
Congratulations, Pumpkin! I have 2 early readers in my house, my son learned much later, and my dd is just starting to pick it up now. We have tons of early reader books, some that focus on one particular phonics sound or sounds, some just simple stories. We love bob books w/ cd's to follow along with, too. We keep letter magnets on the fridge and a writing/wipe off board there too, and they seem to get alot of use.

While encouraging the reading itself, I also try to encourage the fun of it by frequently visting the library and checking out books together, or just popping into a barnes and noble and enjoying reading lots of books that we won't actually buy. Continue going to story times with the right age groups as well. Another activity that is fun is making our own short stories with pictures.. have them draw some pictures, then help them write the sentence underneath. We also have high frequency word cards we use sometimes.

Along with starfall, we really loved reading eggs.com.. it costs $, but we really enjoyed our free trial!
Also of course, keep reading to him. And lots of praise.
post #8 of 17
woops, double post...
post #9 of 17
One thing that really helped my son learn to read was getting some sight words memorized/known. I was actually really surprised how many words he knew already when we were in that beginning to read process. We used flash cards on a metal ring, and wrote down all the words that he knew (one on each card). In the beginning he could recognize his sisters name, mom, Dad, I, my, me, stop, go.....eek can't remember what else, but he was super proud of his cards, and loved adding new words to it. He is a very organized little man, and flash cards are his thing, but as DD is in the pre-reading stage I am wondering if this approach will work for her learning style.
post #10 of 17
Thread Starter 
I am not sure where the six month thing came from with his teachers, I think they were just trying to say that he seems very driven to completely understand letters/words/reading right now and will likely keep going until he masters it. That does seem to be how he works. This summer he wanted to learn how to ride a bike and one day he just hopped on and rode away and then just rode and rode and rode all...day...long...for days on end until he had completely mastered it and he could "do tricks". He is a very driven kid and will literally obsess about things until he has them down.

I will definitely try Starfall, and I also think he might like the flashcards on a little ring actually. He likes cards of all kinds and I think that memorizing sight words would really be fun for him.

Honestly, I have no preference about when he learns to read, but it is exciting to watch. Seeing him absorb information and figuring things out completely on his own has to be one of the most incredible things I have ever witnessed, just like watching him learn how to ride a bike a few months ago. I do realize that he has no *need* to know how to read for a few years yet, but if it is all driven by him, then I am more than happy to let him go at his own pace. I am very happy that he will be a "reader" though. I was a BIG reader as a kid and had always hoped that he would be too. It is good to know that he is developing a great love of reading already.

Oh, and thank-you to the pp for reminding me about the upper case and lower case letter cards. I have some that I have been meaning to hang up on the wall, or just have out for him to flip through. I will get those out tonight and give them to him. He will be thrilled.
post #11 of 17
My oldest was a bit younger than your son when he essentially taught himself to read. Since he started by recognizing word families (for example, that if you take the word cat and change the c to an h you get hat), we got some of the BOB books for him to look through (they have a big focus on word families) and he came out reading pretty thoroughly by the time he worked through the first two sets or so. He also had an awesome memory for sight words (once it clicked for him, he would ask me one time about words he couldn't sound out or pick up from context and he seemed to remember those indefinitely) and had a knack for applying rules he learned in one word to other more complicated words. He jumped from BOB books to early chapter books in the matter of a couple of months. Some kids operate like that. Other kids will stay at the point your son is for months or even years. I'd say that if he's interested, there's no harm in introducing different readers and even gentle "lessons" in reading/phonics - as long as it's no pressure. I would just say, though, to not necessarily expect that he'll be reading in the next few months. My younger son has known his letter sounds and has been recognizing sight words for years - but he's still not able to sound anything out yet. It just hasn't clicked for him. I think that "click" is what's important, if you know what I mean.
post #12 of 17
I love the 'click' totally get you, Eclipse.
post #13 of 17
DD1 learned all of those skills, gosh, I don't know. At two?

And... stopped. Lost interest. Putting them together into words was just not interesting to her. She loved the symbolism, the names, the drawing. She actually knows two alphabets. The sounding out?

Not so much.

So I agree, go at their pace. I am only posting NOT to discourage, because there are a lot of early readers out there, but also to let you know not to get too discouraged if it does not happen within six months.

In my experience, there are some kids that are just ready to read and they get those letters and take off, and yes, it's a three to six month thing. They want to read, they want to decode, the letters are a means to an end.

Then there are kids that do awesome with the learning of FACTS--letters, numbers, colors, songs, etc. but are not the decoding types. Once they know the letters, they move on to other things: shapes, buildings, facts, maps, whatever. They will get it eventually, of course, but they will work at it.

I don't think it's an either-or thing, but I'm just putting it into simple categories to kind of put that out there.
post #14 of 17
Just get the first set of BOB Books, and if he wants to try reading, they are there. If you do computer timed, you can do starfall.com.
post #15 of 17
Originally Posted by eclipse View Post
I think that "click" is what's important, if you know what I mean.
Couldn't agree more!

My oldest knew all the letter sounds (by 2 1/2), he even sounded out simple words (by 4), but the desire to 'get in there' and really read didn't happen until he was 6.

My daughter is now reading some words (some by sight, others phonetically) but I'm not holding my breath this time....
post #16 of 17
Thread Starter 
I let him play on Starfall tonight before bed and he "read" three stories and was begging for more until I shut him off. He was starting to remember some sight words and had nearly all of the letter sounds down and was figuring out words with very little help. I definitely think we will be using that site again soon. He was talking about how he wanted to do more tomorrow as I was putting him to bed. Thanks for the recommendation!
post #17 of 17
My DS is learning to read, and he likes me to write out short phrases for him to read and do - things like "hug Mom," "pick up a pen," or "stack five blocks." That's just the right amount of text for a really beginning reader who is still sounding out a lot of words, and I can pick words I know he can read (or words I want to give him a chance to practice.)
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