The right books and the right way to read books - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 10 Old 10-15-2012, 04:40 PM - Thread Starter
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Hi all,


My toddler of 2yrs 8 months(nearly 3 yrs) is very fond of books. Every night he gets a book by himself and asks us to read it. 


But I am in a dilemma. He even gets big books not meant for toddlers. Like the other day when I went to a library he picked up a fairly advanced book on cars and wanted to take it home to read to him. There were a lot of pictures of vintage cars and other things related to cars like gears and stuff and we explained him some of it. He also got a lot of books on Bees, Spiders and other general stuff but all these are very big books. Like books for elder kids. But they did have big colorful pictures and when ever I read these books I explain what is going on in those picture and ask him a lot of questions. And ask him to count and other stuff. Some he gets them correct some he does not.


He did pick up some story books too. 


So my question is If it is OK for me to read books of this type or should i only stick with books designed for toddlers. That is books with just one line and big print. 


As it is he has a lot of general awareness on nature, volcanoes., earthquakes etc...But he does not even spell or read on his own. whereas my nephew at 3 can spell a lot of words but his general awareness is a bit restricted. 


My son can recognize all the alphabets and numbers and can count to some extent. But when i try to teach him words by spelling he does not show so much interest. He is not interested in writing too. I try to give him many things crayons, doodle pad, chalk water paints and other stuff to write and paint but i can hardly get his attention for more than 5 min. I keep trying but so far no results.


So I am scared that by reading him books meant for older kids I am actually hindering his reading skills. But I love his enthusiasm for learning new things about nature and every day general stuff and can't stop myself from reading those to him. He has an extensive vocabulary and speaks well. 


So please advice if i am doing the right thing with him. Should i push him to read words and spell or just let it be and wait for him to catch up. Meanwhile writing wise there is nothing much i can do to force him but again I am trying my best to get him color and write with nil results.


Thank you very much!....Any advice hugely appreciated.


Thank you!

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#2 of 10 Old 10-15-2012, 04:45 PM
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Everything sounds great to me! One thing I would suggest is to do a "picture walk" of some of the books - do a discussion dialogue of the pictures before you read. Stop to talk, like you've been doing. Your child doesn't need to read or write yet. At this age I think following his lead is the way to go. Great job, mama!  


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#3 of 10 Old 10-15-2012, 04:51 PM
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All books are great! Well, barring inappropriate adult subjects and pictures of course. Sure you can pick some too, things you like to read aloud, things to teach him to pay attention to a story you're reading, but fostering a love for books means letting them pick what they like. Most kids don't learn more than recognizing a few letters, maybe a few letter sounds before age 4, letter sounds at 4-5, and reading words after they master that. Some are ahead or behind the avg timing and get there when they get there, but no need to push anything of his actual reading along. If he shows an early interest you can teach it step by step. Keep reading to him, no work involved on his part just listening and looking. Even when he is learning to read later, don't make storytime be work for him always.


Also, skills to purposely form straight lines, curved lines, and circles come naturally sometime in the 2-4 age range, again it varies, when that happens if they'll take to it happily you can encourage handwriting.

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#4 of 10 Old 10-15-2012, 08:24 PM
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Read whatever he wants and will pay attention to! Heck, I read aloud to my daughter when she isn't paying attention at all. I'll read her whatever novel I happen to be reading, or older kid books like Redwall and Harry Potter. I think it will really help with vocabulary and just the rhythm of language, and most importantly (like the previous poster mentioned), encourage a love for reading. Toddler books are kind of boring and limited, so if your kid is curious about more, by all means encourage him! Learning and reading shouldn't be competitive or a chore, but something we love to do and can do at whatever pace we are each comfortable with.

Kids that "read" (often I think it is just memorization of what words look like, not actual comprehension) early aren't going to be better readers, students, or enjoy books any more than other kids. I started walking at 7 months, and I certainly don't walk better than the average person. ;) 

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#5 of 10 Old 10-15-2012, 08:51 PM
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Originally Posted by Oread View Post
I started walking at 7 months, and I certainly don't walk better than the average person. ;) 


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#6 of 10 Old 10-15-2012, 09:42 PM
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I would let go of the idea that your child is somehow behind in his learning. At this early stage it's all about fostering a love for books. It's not about refining reading skills. Reading at three is highly unusual, and there is no evidence to support it being better for a child.


If he's interested in "big kid" books let him pick those out. You sound like you're doing a great job keeping the exploration of these books to the level that he can handle at this time. If he's not interested in actually listening to you read a bunch of facts from the book making up your own story using the pictures and condensed information and involving him in telling it is just fine. This age is all about letting kids be kids.

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#7 of 10 Old 10-16-2012, 01:38 PM
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Everything sounds great to me. You read to him regularly and take him to the library and allow him to pick out books that appeal to him. It is fine for him to express interest books for older kids and for you to read them to him. Maybe he doesn't understand everything and that is fine. If he will sit there with you and listen and/or look at the picture that is a great learning experience. In fact, that is a more age-appropriate learning experience than trying to interest him in spelling when he isn't. If it was the reverse, that would be fine. Allow him to build on the interests he has and he will fill in the others later


You might also be interested in the following suggestions for someone who is really interested in books:


expand your night time reading period or make sure to do one at wake up

he chooses a book and you choose a book in another genre, for instance a traditional picture story-book paired with volcano book

find the best children's librarian in your area and always return to them; ask for suggestions for titles in his interest areas and don't be suprised when you are sometimes handed exactly what he might have picked or a storybook with a strong science theme

mix up what you read and make sure you are reading across a wide range of genres like fairy tales, poetry, longer length and shorter length story books and don't just abandon board books and the ones he liked when he was little-- there is no reason why a three year old can't enjoy material designed for a much younger and much older child

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#8 of 10 Old 10-16-2012, 01:53 PM
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He can just look at the pictures if the book interests him. Or read a bit until he loses interest. I think this is one of the areas where we parents can overthink things. I'd just follow his interest, wherever that leads. And try not to compare him to your nephew. Different kids learn different things at different times. Your nephew is learning some things, and your ds is learning others. They don't have to both be interested in and learning the same things at the same age.
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#9 of 10 Old 10-17-2012, 09:54 AM
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So my question is If it is OK for me to read books of this type or should i only stick with books designed for toddlers. That is books with just one line and big print.


Hi, I'm a reading teacher, so I can't resist responding to your post...and as it so happens, my kid's about the same age as yours.  Sounds like your child is pretty normal--maybe he just got more advanced interests than average.  So roll with it.  Boys, by the way, often prefer non-fiction to fiction anyway, so this is a very normal pattern.


As an adult, I personally tend to get really tired of "toddler" books, and endless cute-sy little stories, so I get a mix of fiction and non-fiction when I go to the library.  I pick my non-fiction topics over in the early reader/elementary section most of the time, and just base them on whatever kiddo's currently interested in:  bugs, cars, whatever.  I just don't read all the text.  I usually just make up my own, label the objects, ask him questions about the pictures (like you are), or read only the first sentence (since that's where the main idea usually is!)


There's no need to limit reading material to "kiddie stuff".  After all, we're all different, and not all kids are into that.  One-size-fits-all rarely does....And anything that encourages reading should be encouraged, IMO.  Boys in general tend to struggle with reading a bit more than girls, so I think the more you do to encourage them to engage with it in a positive manner, the better.  Nothing you're doing will "hurt" any.  It's better not to push too much in the beginning, but encourage gently by allowing kids to discover that reading is a means of exploring things they're already interested in.  He's less than 3 years old, so there's no need to worry too much about whether or not he's reading yet.  Exposure to ideas is more far important at this stage than mastery of specific language decoding skills (which will be endlessly drilled in grades K-3). 


If you want to focus on reading and decoding, you may want  to look into "reading games", phonics games, flashcards, etc, but only to the extent that your son is showing interest in it.  Three letter words are a good place to start with that.


Happy reading!  One of the best things you can do (and the surest ways you can keep your kids out of my remedial reading classes) are to do exactly what you are already doing--demonstrating to children that reading can be a fun way to explore anything in the world that they may find interesting. 

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#10 of 10 Old 10-19-2012, 02:45 AM
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My son's favorite book is a book about motorcycles that is not meant for toddlers. So what? He enjoys it. When we read it, sometimes I read the whole thing through, pointing here and there. Other times I just read sections and highlight the word "motorcycle" or go through and say the letters (he knows all the letters). A lot of times I read a small section of the book and just point at the pictures talking about how the motorcycles look. It's one of many books he has, many are geared more for his age. We read 2-3 books each night and sometimes it includes that book. I don't worry about reading him books like that because his interest is so strong. He does actually learn about motorcycles and he knows he learned it from a book. Plus it's a fantastic way for us to bond - we both learn together and it's exciting. What could be wrong about that?

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