Please share how your child(ren) learned how to read! - Mothering Forums
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#1 of 24 Old 05-16-2011, 09:09 AM - Thread Starter
 
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I'd love to hear stories about how your child(ren) learned how to read.  Anything specific I should know and look out for?  Any advice?

 

DD looks like she's going down that path (although I say that knowing full well that her learning is definitely not linear at times so who knows what she'll be doing tomorrow!).  She's constantly asking what signs says, how to sound out words we see day to day, and she'll ask me to read the same page/sentence over and over and over again in her books while pointing to each word as I read.  I know she has some sight words but I'm not sure how many at this point and she likes to guess what new words are too (although she's  still highly inaccurate and will normally guess a word that just starts with the same first letter winky.gif).  She'll also make comments sometimes when reading a book that makes me wonder if she understand more than she's letting on... We're definitely NOT pushing her in any way, just trying to follow her lead here.  At school I doubt she's getting any real reading training since from what I understand they don't introduce the sandpaper letters until the 3-6 classroom (but things have gotten MUCH better at her preschool, she's made some friends and seems much happier about the situation so that's good). 

 

We're not sure, really, how to handle the whole sounding it out thing because she asks about words in both languages (and I actually don't even know all the alphabet sounds in the language here, I learned it almost entirely aurally so my reading/writing skills are pretty poor innocent.gif).  I guess, I'm just trying to do my best to stumble through it!

 

Anyways, just wanted to hear about other's experiences. 

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#2 of 24 Old 05-16-2011, 10:06 AM
 
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DD started writing before she started reading. Around 2, she started writing letters. That is how I found out she knew them. At that point, she'd ask me how to spell things. By 3, she was writing phonetically (multiple sentances.) However, she didn't decide to read herself until just after her 5th birthday. Within a few weeks she was reading 5th grade level novels easily. Obviously, she'd laid a strong foundation for herself. I believe it was her desire for more complicated material than kept her from reading earlier. I was reading her classics at 3 and 4 and she just couldn't get enough. She'd want to discuss them in a very mature manner. What she could have read to herself at that age wouldn't have been nearly as engaging.

 

DS knew all his letters from one sitting at the library alphabet puzzle. At 2, he started collecting sight words. By 4, he could really read any individual word it seemed but reading even 2 pages of an early reader exhausted him. We didn't push it. He was still considered advanced but he was SOOOO frustrated with reading. He complained of the words moving or changing on the page. It didn't make sense that he could read scientific words on zoo placards but reading a few pages of "Hop on Pop" would exhaust him. It didn't make sense that he'd read "stop" correctly on one page only to read the same word as "pots" on the next page. His teacher suspected dyslexia in which he had many other markers for. We also had his eyes checked and he had visual tracking issues. He was given reading glasses which helped with his stamina. Everything seemed to fall into place at 7. The visual tracking resolved itself and while he is dyslexic, it is mild enough that he's compensated. He's a very advanced reading at the age of 10 in both English and Spanish (he's in an immersion school.)

 

Niether of my kids progressed like I thought they'd progress. DH and myself were both reading well by 3 and so it surprised us that our kids didn't really. However, both my kids ended up much more advanced in the long run than either of us. I thought DD, with her writing skills, would have been a fluent reader long before 5 but she just didn't go in that direction. With DS picking out words at 2, I never would have guessed he'd be 7 before he really became what I consider a fluent reader. My best advice is to not try to predict. What you are doing now is GREAT! Keep reading to her. When she asks questions, answer them. If she stops asking, let her be. Do what you can with the other language but it's ok to be honest with your deficiencies. Good luck and have fun!


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#3 of 24 Old 05-16-2011, 02:30 PM
 
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DD had every appearance of a child who would learn to read very early--all letters by 14 months, letter sounds soon after, many small sight words in the 18 months-2 age range, ability to sound out at 3...but she didn't actually learn to read till almost 5. I haven't any idea why. Maybe it was an eye thing. In any case, once she started, she was reading 3rd grade level chapter books within a few months.

DS has had a somewhat similar trajectory, though everything is a bit later. I sometimes think he is on the verge of a break-through, but then not. I have no idea when he will learn.

Although I did buy BOB books and read them somewhat instructively to both kids, that's about the end of it as far as instruction went.

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#4 of 24 Old 05-16-2011, 03:56 PM - Thread Starter
 
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loraxc and whatsnextmom- thanks for sharing! 
 

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Do what you can with the other language but it's ok to be honest with your deficiencies. Good luck and have fun!

Thanks for that.  I think I get a big of perfectionism when it comes to the local language here and I'm so scared that I'll mispronounce whatever word she's asking about and that will mess up her speech! eyesroll.gif In reality I just need to stop worrying about it because she'll figure it out in the long run despite my bumbling.  lol.gif
 

 

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I sometimes think he is on the verge of a break-through, but then not. I have no idea when he will learn.

I feel like that sometimes too.  It's funny how these things go... Then other times DD will do something that completely comes out of left field. 

 

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#5 of 24 Old 05-16-2011, 05:02 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Something I also forgot to ask... DD has been getting extremely frustrated lately that she's not "big".  She doesn't like being "little" because there are too many things that she wants to do (at the moment she's mostly complaining that she doesn't like being little because she wants to read and be an astronaut).  I told her that she can read if she's little she just has to learn and there are kids out there that do read when they are little.  She asked me to help her learn so I guess I'll try to do the best I can?  With the astronaut thing I told her that she had to learn math and physics first and exercising also helps so that even playing outside and counting can help her to become an astronaut someday.  She doesn't seem very satisfied, though...

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#6 of 24 Old 05-16-2011, 06:59 PM
 
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One day DD got interested in sounding out whole words. She was just all of the sudden able to do it. A few months later she hit a period where she became obsessed with learning how to read. She wanted to talk about all the digraphs and the way letters behave. She also kept breaking down words into their phonemes. This obsession only lasted a few weeks. She'd still rather talk about reading in a theoretical way rather than actually reading, but thankfully she no longer does it all day long.

Now that summer is approaching we spend most of our time outside. She reads a bit out and about, but these are mostly those easy sight words she now has memorized. She will rarely stop and sound out a word. When we do find ourselves sitting down with a book she can sound out a nice variety of shorter words (CVC, CVCE, CCVC etc.) She is slow and steady and only has about fifty sight words. But, she is really good at what she can do. She can read a beginner BOB book in it's entirety, but they are way too boring, and she will not read them more than once. But, any other book I have tried is way too overwhelming. She has the most success when I print out my own funny little sentences. But, this happens like once every two weeks now.

DD is very much phonics oriented. It took many months between being able to say letter sounds and sounding out a whole word. But, there was also a clear progression of skills in that department (like wordplay with alliteration and rhyming and figuring out initial/ending sounds, filling in the blank.) And, despite being able to read words and even sentences now, she does not have the stamina or the eyes to read a book comfortably. And, she really does not have the drive or motivation to overcome these deficits at the moment.


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#7 of 24 Old 05-17-2011, 07:40 AM
 
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My son told me he learned by watching my finger as I read to him.  He read his first book when he was 3 1/2.  My dd learned to read by first learning her letters and sounds--probably from leapfrog toys-- and by 18 months she was pointing out letters in signs.  At 2, she wanted sight words to practice while her brothers were doing homework.  I think she had the fundamentals so early, so just took her time figuring out what the words were.  But she could read easy-readers by 3 1/2, too.  I had more books, alphabet toys and understanding of early reading with her than her brothers, so I think she probably got more help from us that her brother. She'll enter K in the fall and reads on 2nd grade level.

 

 

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#8 of 24 Old 05-17-2011, 09:48 AM
 
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I haven't a clue how he learned to read, he's not one of the early reader gifted. Just one day he couldn't and the next he could. He never showed interest in letters and honestly didn't even enjoy books until he was nearly 3, but had a huge vocabulary. It is quite possible he knew how to read before we knew he could. We found out he could read at 5 when he started reading the wall street journal over my husbands shoulder. Honestly, I don't try to teach my kid things unless he asks, it's a disaster otherwise. Now at 7 though, most of his questions I can't answer so he googles them smile.gif
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#9 of 24 Old 05-17-2011, 10:51 AM
 
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I have one early reader and one regular reader. (Both gifted.)

 

My early reader was in an academic preschool. They did letters and letter sounds. ("A" is the first sound in "apple.") He also watched Between the Lions a lot. He could read fluently at a second grade level by age 3.5. 

 

My regular reader has been in a Montessori preschool and they didn't start him on phonics until this year. I didn't start, either, because he hasn't been interested. We did "Hooked on Phonics" at home last summer (K level) and we'll do more this summer. He is currently working on phonics at school. He is reading a little and is just fine for a K student, but not fluent.

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#10 of 24 Old 05-19-2011, 04:23 AM
 
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DD1 was using starfall around a year old because she was so interested in what I was doing on the computer. By 18 months she knew all her letters/sounds. We left it at that until 3.5 and we did a about a month or so of Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons. When she got bored of that we stopped. Around 4 she just started reading everything around her. She's 5.5 now and reading 5th-6th grade level books.
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#11 of 24 Old 05-19-2011, 11:34 AM
 
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My eldest picked up her alphabet early and one day at 3.25 sounded out a word she saw, asking what it meant, making it clear she was learning to read. That's the only clue I had. She disappeared into her bedroom with a stack of National Geographics and mail order catalogues for a few weeks when she was 4.5 and shortly after that she was able to read aloud at a 4th or 5th grade level with fluency and expression. So somewhere before age 4.5 she learned to read, but I don't really know how.

 

My other kids were pretty much the same. I don't know how they learned. Being less private they showed me more evidence that they were along the way to literacy. They wrote phonetically (my favourite ever was ds, age 4, when told by me that he had to get off the computer NOW, gave his saved game file the name U_R_A_BADE_MOME / i.e. 'you are a bad mommy'), they asked questions about letter-sounds and spellings, they read things aloud (like recipes, street signs) when they were just learning. 

 

No programs, no direct teaching, no learning toys (unless you count the crepe rubber alphabet puzzle), no TV or DVDs. We're unschoolers and they never asked for structured programs or anything. I guess they just kind of absorbed it from a literate environment. They were all were reading Harry Potter level stuff by age 5 at the latest.

 

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#12 of 24 Old 05-21-2011, 07:57 AM
 
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my DS spontaneously was recognizing most of the alphabet before he was 2 (we never did anything remotely instructional with him about it) and around 2.5 began writing his name and copying other words/signs. He loved books of all sorts (and we were reading chapter books like moomin books, little house books, every night before bed, starting a month or two before his third birthday). He was an early and articulate speaker with a gigantic vocabulary, excellent memory, and detailed recall for stories. I assumed he was going to be an early and spontaneous reader, but he was not.

 

He didn't learn to really read until recently though (he is 6.5). And he had IQ testing for school admission, and he tested quite high, particularly in the visual/spatial areas (so it sort of makes sense when I look at stuff on visual/spatial and kinesthetic learners, which seems to be him, that they don't generally read young, and sometimes actually delayed, which he technically is not since he actually reads somewhat above grade level).

 

He was *able* to read for a while (many things he could read at 4, like signs, names, etc) but he just didn't do it much. And he resisted if I tried to "work" on it with him. And he really wasn't interested in reading text to himself. He spent hours and hours pouring over comics and picture books without reading them. So I backed off. When he started kindergarten at a very academic school for gifted kids, at 5y10m, they did reading in class. He still had no interest in doing it at home, though the teachers said he was not at all delayed (when we expressed concern). He quickly developed a lot of reading ability and now, this spring, at 6.5, for the first time has been reading to himself for pleasure- has been working his way through a series of star wars manga translated into English... that is what really clicked for him... as with everything for him, it has to be his own interest/motivation. I don't even think these are particularly kids books. He is not interested in doing things to please adults and never has been, but that is kind of off-topic.

 

I was sometimes surprised/worried, because I was an early reader. I can't remember not being able to read. But I am surrounded by smart family members with LDs (mother, sister, and husband), who were all late readers, and are avid readers now as adults, I kept that in mind and tried not to get attached to him being able to do something or not (though I will admit it was sometimes hard to see his other smart friends reading years before he did.) He got a bit insecure about it this year, and is hyper aware of what other kids can and can't do. I assured him that within a few years, it will largely even out and he and his friends will be exchanging favorite books and reading the same things. I do think that is true.


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#13 of 24 Old 05-21-2011, 08:01 AM
 
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glad to hear DD is liking preschool too :)


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#14 of 24 Old 05-21-2011, 09:33 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks everyone for sharing your stories! I've read through all of them and have enjoyed hearing all the variations. winky.gif

 

 

Miranda- Your son's name file cracked me up.  I'm sure it's not a reflection on your mothering! 

 

Emma- It's funny about what you said about your son being an articulate speaker because I don't think DD is very articulate and goodness know her grammar has a ways to go too.  I kind of wonder if she just has fun with the decoding part?  Oh, and DD is really comparing herself to other kids in her class but in the reverse.  greensad.gif  She keeps saying that she is "too little" to read and that she wants to get bigger so she can read.  I was thinking of trying to find a video or two of young readers on youtube so she doesn't feel like her age  matters.  I'm pretty fine with her not reading yet but it really bothers me that she has this idea that she's too little to do it....

 

As for what she's actually doing she's been asking me to full along with books with my finger and actually recited (read?) about two sentences on one of her books today while following along with her finger.  So we're just trying to follow her lead at this point. 

 

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#15 of 24 Old 05-21-2011, 08:20 PM
 
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oh, do not worry too much about your language skills in the local language! I had so many friends growing up who were children of immigrants with imperfect and sometimes fairly limited English, and they were excellent, fluent speakers, readers, etc. And isn't your DH a native speaker anyway, so she can get that at home? I am sure DD will be FINE. I am thinking of quite a few kids who really only learned English at school and you couldn't tell at all by any age where I would have noticed. And my middle/high school was full of the children of non-native English speakers and these were smart kids who had to take a high stakes test in 6th grade for admission (which included an essay portion). 
 

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Thanks for that.  I think I get a big of perfectionism when it comes to the local language here and I'm so scared that I'll mispronounce whatever word she's asking about and that will mess up her speech! eyesroll.gif In reality I just need to stop worrying about it because she'll figure it out in the long run despite my bumbling.  lol.gif

 


 

 


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#16 of 24 Old 05-27-2011, 06:51 AM
 
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Ds1 didn't talk until he was 2.5, but I knew he understood me and so was not worried.  He was just always with me and I understood him (I remember translating his body language to dh) so he had no need to talk.  Then he spoke in complete sentences.

 

He has always loved drawing.  When he was in kindergarten, he wanted to caption his art, and he would say, "How do you spell 'Spiderman saves the day'?"  We would dictate the letters to him.  Then one day he was just reading at a 4th grade level.  Ds2 is 5 and he is now doing the same thing with his art, but he usually asks ds1 for spelling instead of us.  Dd is only 3 but she wants to learn the letters so we may play some games with that.


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#17 of 24 Old 05-27-2011, 03:21 PM
 
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My son learned to recognize all the letters and the sounds they made before he turned two and I have no idea how. One day he just showed them to me. He does have some leap frog toys and he got a leap frog video after that that he loved so those may have helped. After he showed me he knew his letters he started asking to play a "spelling game" in the car. I would say the letters and he would say the sound it made then he would put them together to see if he could find the word. (What does "D" say? What does "O" say? What does "G" say? What is that word?) He would also try to pick out words on signs. By 2 1/2 he was picking out children's books and reading them in the library (sounding words out he didn't know, but at that age he had a hard time if there was more than 4 letters). Now he sits and reads small chapter books (3 1/2).

 

I would say 90% self taught. Games in the car are always fun though if they are looking for something to do :) And, if you are looking for toys or videos then I have always loved leap frog for him. They seem to give him just enough information for him to put it all together.

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#18 of 24 Old 05-29-2011, 10:12 PM
 
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My daughter recognized all the letters, lowercase and uppercase,  before she turned 2 and knew before 2.5 that letters made words, and words were what people read from books. She had a few sight words around that age -- can't remember what they were, now.  For whatever reason it never occurred to us to tell her that letters had sounds as well as names, but she learned that pretty quickly when she started in a Montessori preschool at 2.75.  She was reading CVC words around age 3 and had all the right keys to reading and clearly wanted to read, so it was somewhat frustrating that she didn't seem to be able to progress over the next few months.  One day around 3.5 she complained about how she couldn't see the TV well enough from the couch, and we took her to an opthalmologist.  A week later she was wearing glasses, and before her second year of preschool started at age 3.75 she was reading Level 1 and Level 2 early readers. Vision has been a continuing problem for DD, who is now 5 and recently got bifocals. I'm not sure what her reading level is now, at least 3rd grade but likely higher. We've been working on a 2nd grade level reading comprehension/writing workbook for the last few weeks and she breezes through most of it.

 

DS, who is 19 months, is DD's polar opposite in many ways -- he's physical where she is very NOT physical; she was talking in sentences at this age and he's just said his first 2-syllable word ("doodle", of all things!!). But oddly enough, he recognizes and names several letters, mainly the letters in TRISTAN and letter O. If only he has an O in his name I think his life would be complete, LOL.  He'll also name the "-" character ("dash" -- all the cars here have one on the license plate, which he loves to point out to me) and can pick out numbers, though he calls them all "nine".  This is, I swear, a third of the kid's entire vocabulary!  Well see about the reading, I guess.  DD liked to play with a letter puzzle around this age, which is probably how she learned her letters, but DS can't be trusted with small pieces.


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#19 of 24 Old 05-30-2011, 04:47 AM
 
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My kids learned to read in the most unremarkable way - I taught them.  I didn't sit them down and make them pay attention while I gave lessons, but I did give them information they hadn't asked for.  I pointed out letters and told them what sounds they made, and eventually explained that you read a word by putting together the different letter sounds.  And once they understood how to do that, I gradually explained the various phonics rules. 

 

DD knew letters and letter sounds by the time she was 2 and could sound out CVC words before she was 3.  DS was a bit slower, but he could sound out words as a 3 year old.  DD really looked like she was going to be an early reader, but she was very, very slow to become fluent.  She had a good understanding of phonics, but it just wasn't becoming automatic.  It eventually became apparent that she must have a learning disability, or at least a difference bordering on disability.  She's 8 now, and reading probably just barely at grade level.

 

DS has progressed in a more normal way.  For quite a while after he had the basic idea of sounding out simple words, he wasn't interested in learning more.  Then this past fall, a couple of months before he turned 5, he suddenly began to get interested.  Since then, he's learned a lot.  He often asks me what words say, or tries to sound them out.  The other day, on a whim, I let him try reading one of the DIBELS oral reading fluency assessment passages I've been using with DD, and counted the number of words per minute he could read.  I was a little surprised that he hit the benchmark for the middle of first grade.  He still doesn't have the stamina to read very much at once, but he seems close to hitting a breakthrough point where it's going to be a lot easier for him.  I expect he'll be reading at a 2nd grade level by the time he's old enough to start kindergarten in the fall.  Fortunately, we homeschool so I won't have to worry about whether he'll have to waste his time doing letter recognition worksheets.

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#20 of 24 Old 05-30-2011, 07:57 AM
 
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DS1 basically taught himself to read. I still don't entirely understand it. I mean, I read to him. He'd ask me what things said and I'd tell him. We sang the ABC song. We read ABC books. He watched a little bit of Sesame Street(we didn't have cable, only a handful of Sesame Street DVDs). That's about it.

 

And one day, he brought me a piece of paper where he'd written out the alphabet. And then another day, I heard him reading a book out loud. 

 

I really wish I could take credit it for it, but I don't see how I could. I don't think I had anything to do with it, except perhaps for providing an environment conducive to learning. I love to read, and he would see me reading often. He knew it was something I enjoyed doing, and so he desired to be able to do it, too. And like I said, I read to him frequently. We also often went to the library and to bookstores. He has always owned a lot of his own books. 

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#21 of 24 Old 06-01-2011, 07:57 AM
 
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I found this case study intersting.  This boy started learning to read right at age 2 and was reading pretty fluently by 3 1/2.  http://gcq.sagepub.com/content/37/2/78.full.pdf 


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#22 of 24 Old 06-05-2011, 04:46 PM
 
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DS learned to 'read' via the closed caption on his movies.  We also had some 'Leap frog' learning movies he would watch.

One night I told DS it was bedtime and he needed to turn off the movie he was watching, his reply?  BUT MOM- I'm READING and sure enough he had the sound off and the CC on.... he was not 3 yrs old.  I lost the debate and don't think I've 'won' one since then.  DS is 10 now.


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#23 of 24 Old 06-13-2011, 04:35 AM
 
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My daughter watched a lot of Sesame Street from age 2 months-5 years.  She learned her letters before she turned 2 and knew how to read by 3 and I didn't really teach her.

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#24 of 24 Old 06-14-2011, 07:18 PM
 
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I think it's wonderful that you are following your dd's lead.  I dismissed my son's requests to learn to read (because I was afraid of him "getting too far ahead"), and now I realize that my attitude was very destructive.  At 2 yrs 3 months, ds started begging me to teach him to read.  When I didn't respond, he literally spent at least 8 hrs per day asking me to spell various words.  (Basically, it was constant until I finally declared no more spelling for the day--I had to or my sanity would have been GONE.)  At 2 yrs 9 months, he had memorized how to spell about 200 words and started to recognize phonetic patterns.  He never had any reading instruction whatsoever, but went from reading CVC words at 2yrs 9 months to reading National Geographic and science encyclopedias before his 4th b-day. 

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