My DD is 20 months old tomorrow and I am at a loss about where to go with her major obsession; literacy.
She has known all the upper case letters and their sounds for nearly two months now. She knows perfectly well that the letters on the pages of her books are the source of the words we say when we read to her. She is starting to get a few sight words. I know you all will believe me when I say I did not torture her with flash cards; this is just her big thing. She has always been a fanatic for books.
But now what? All the sites I look through for ideas seem to think that this stage of knowledge comes somewhere between three and four years old so they give ideas like writing games that DD will be totally incapable of doing. And how on earth do you explain phonics to a one year old? She knows about sounding out words but I don't have a clue how to explain about things like how "oo" doesn't sound like "O."
So what have other people done for their kids at this point? I know I could just ignore this issue and let DD puzzle things out on her own but I feel pretty strongly that DD should be supported in figuring this out if that is what she wants to do.
Beth, wife to Cass and SAHM to the little french goose, 6/17/09...and now also mom to a second wee girlie 2/6/12. Nursing with low supply, domperidone and a lact-aid.
Another way to think about it is that rather than seeing it as an "issue" you must attend to, it is simply a part of her development that is not your responsibility to fix. Puzzling it out isn't something to save a child from. Puzzling is what learning is made of. It isn't something you need to save a child from and you aren't being unsupportive to allow her to move at her own pace without directing here. There isn't an issue or a problem to be fixed.
And, for what it is worth, I will note that kids progress to reading in very different ways. There are kids who learn all their letters by 18 months but who aren't ready to learn to read until first grade. There are kids who go from not knowing their letters to learning to read the chapter books in a month. Both of these paths of development (and countless others) are appropriate and okay. One good reason I see to hang back and allow your child to progress on their own, is that you really don't know what way is best for them to learn. I have a pretty strong sense that our son would have learn to read later and with a lot more difficulty if we'd spent time teaching letters and phonics. I say this because when he was a strong reader and was exposed to this kind of standard teaching approach he found it confusing. It wasn't in a form that made sense to him. Over the long term what is most important is that kids become confident learners who don't fear tackling new things. One of the best ways to help support that process is to not try to step in and stop a child from puzzling it out.
I wouldn't worry to much about phonemic awareness, etc and just continue to read, read, read! It is great that she loves to read and with as much as she loves to read, she will gain more and more reading abilities through seeing the whole language. If you are feeling a need to progress, spend some of your time reading to her more sophisticated literature and see how she responds. Many kids learn to read without ever learning much phonics, etc and it sounds like you are doing great at fostering her love of reading.
So true! My youngest somehow learned all of her upper and lowercase letters and sounds by 20 months. She was sounding out simple words at 3 and attempted to sound out complex words like "chiropractor" and "supermarket". I have no clue how she picked it up. By age 4 her interests turned to different things and she put reading on the backburner. She just turned 5 and we do read books together at night and she's reading at about a grade 1.5 reading level. Not nearly as advanced as I thought she'd be given her early start.
The best thing you can do is to continue to read a lot to her. Let her pick the pace and just follow her lead.
And, for what it is worth, I will note that kids progress to reading in very different ways. There are kids who learn all their letters by 18 months but who aren't ready to learn to read until first grade. There are kids who go from not knowing their letters to learning to read the chapter books in a month. Both of these paths of development (and countless others) are appropriate and okay.
My DD is 20 Months and she loves anything with letters.
She really loves magazines and the newspaper very funny to see @ 14 months wanting the newspaper evry morning. She will sit there for a half hour flipping through and saying what everything is. I don't know if you go on Starfall it is a wonderful site she askes every day to go on starfall. Hope these might help. I don't do flash cards or anything. I just read to her and let her sit in the corner with her books. It seems a lot more she wants to sit by herself and look through them by herself. We have suspected for a couple of months she is starting to decode words but not really sure if its memory.
DS is 22 months and letter crazy too. We read tons of books, and I've started asking him what letter words start with so he starts to pay attention to letter sounds in the words he's hearing. We've started watching the PBS show "Read between the Lions". He loves it and I feel like it's a good entertaining way to gain some pre-reading skills like tracking left to right and phonics. I'm not trying to teach him, I'm just exposing him to lots of different ways to look at words and I figure something will click and he'll figure it out on his own. That's how he's done everything - I can't force it. When the light bulb comes on, he just does it.
Life is strange and wonderful. Me , DP , DS (3/09) , 3 and 4
Just follow her lead and make it fun, answer her questions & expose her to whatever you think it appropriate but don't make it about learning a certain way or on a certain timeline. Incorporate letters & reading into your everyday life, but you don't need to make it the FOCUS of your life, if you KWIM? She needs to run and jump and climb and sing and pretend and all those other 'kid' things... (this is coming from a reading-obsessed adult who never fully learned to enjoy anything else besides reading lol!)
You said you have no idea how to explain that /oo/ is different from /o/. I would say that there really is no way to explain such concepts other than saying "two o's make an /oo/ sound." If that does not work then I would argue your DD is not ready for reading instruction. So, you need to wait for some maturation. I think typically this happens around 3 or 4. For your DD it might happen sooner. Who knows, she might puzzle it out by herself in the meantime.
I also want to ask if you think she is really obsessed with literacy, or if she is just enjoys learning things. Leaning letters and phonics was just another example of my DD's desire to learn things. I never really thought of it as an obsession with literacy. I took it an example of how good she was at rote memorization. More than that, I realized how much she seemed to enjoy memorizing simple information. When DD was your DD's age we taught her the planets and simple facts about each one. Now how different is that from learning the names of the letters and what they say? It is very similar. We have done the same with dinosaurs, continents, animals, states, presidents, crystals. Anything she showed an interest in, we have offered her something to learn. Each time we revisit these subjects, we expand.
I think that 99% of DD's "instruction" comes in the car, 10 minutes here, 10 minutes there. Our car is our classroom! Half the time we listen to music, and the other half I will just ask her what she wants to talk about. And, we go from there. We have gone over all her beloved interests in the car ad nauseum, and we also play word games like opposites, rhyming, phonics, and now spelling. That is it. That, and we read. A lot. About everything. Oh, and we play together.
Lastly, I would caution turning something so loved and special as reading a good book and turning it sour. (You don't sound like you would. ) It sounds like your DD loves book as much as mine. I'd recommend steering clear of early readers until she is actually reading. I would also recommend finding some really good long books to read together. I am a huge fan of children's literature done right. There are so many awesome books out there. But, for every one good book I find at the library I swear there are 300 hundred 'junk books'. The books we read these day last about 20 minutes each, and they are filled with rich vocabulary that would challenge some college students. Maybe, DD has learned to read a bit later because I didn't point out every word I said in those boring early readers every night, but I believe the benefits have greatly outweighed this cost.
DD just turned 2.5 and has actually only now shown some interest in reading things. She does seem almost ready for reading instruction. She does seem get that two Os say /oo/, that SH says /sh/, that doubling a letter really doesn't do anything, that you just need to know that 'the' says 'the'. What are we doing? I let her play with my iPhone for a couple of minutes in the morning while I sleep. I help her sound out words in her environment. I might point out some words I know she can sound out. Things will just happen. She has known all her state names for a while now, but is now wanting to match the names of the states with the puzzle pieces by reading their names. Of all things, state names! It has been the states that really seemed to have gotten her on a roll.
Your DD sounds amazing! You will find a lot of wisdom for yourself here on these boards.