Early readers: How long from reading words to reading sentences/books - Mothering Forums

Thread Tools
#1 of 19 Old 08-08-2011, 07:43 AM - Thread Starter
pranava's Avatar
Join Date: Aug 2007
Posts: 958
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 6 Post(s)

For those of you with children that started to read early, how long was it from the time they could read individual words until they were able to read a 3 or 4 word sentence? 


Just wondering because my DS is doing remarkably well reading even longish words like "watermelon"  and harder words with silent e's and things, but he really has no interest in reading strings of word or sentences.   I though he might enjoy some of the "We both read" books where there is a paragraph on the adult page and then 2 or 3 words on the next page for the child to read.   His attention span for it is just not there yet. 

Life is strange and wonderful.  Me read.gif, DP lady.gif, DS (3/09) blahblah.gif , 3 dog2.gif  and 4 cat.gif

pranava is offline  
Sponsored Links
#2 of 19 Old 08-08-2011, 07:59 AM
whatsnextmom's Avatar
Join Date: Apr 2010
Posts: 2,013
Mentioned: 3 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 34 Post(s)

It's child specific really. My eldest didn't read anything until after her 5th birthday but then was reading 5th grade level novels flawlessly within 3 weeks of sounding out her first word. To be fair, she was writing phonetically from like age 3. Don't know why that didn't translate into reading earlier but whatever. My youngest started picking out individual words (even big long scientific words off the zoo signs) at 2 but then didn't sit and read an early reader until 4. Even then, he wasn't what *I* consider truely fluent until after his 7th birthday. At 10, he's post-high school and a speed reader (the only one in the family.)


Just go with the flow. It'll happen when it happens.

Married mom, DD 18, DS 15, and a Valentine's surprise on the way!
whatsnextmom is offline  
#3 of 19 Old 08-08-2011, 08:01 AM
KCMichigan's Avatar
Join Date: Jul 2009
Posts: 927
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1 Post(s)

DD1 did it all at once. Reading small words alone and in a sentence format, reading silly made up, small words, etc.  She did CVC words and some sight words and fairly quickly added longer words and individual patterns (th, silent e, vowel combinations). She did a combination of memorization and sounding out. She started easy readers as soon as she could read the basic words and took off from there. Prefers longer text and fiction. Long reading stamina.



DD2 could do much longer words before she would attempt strings of words or sentence. She tended to memorize whole words (such as dinosaur, school, her long name, library, etc) vs sounding them out. She had an extensive sight vocabulary before she tackled easy readers. She still prefers shorter books with rich vocabulary and pictures (non-fiction). Short reading stamina.




Different kiddos different techniques. Both were eager to read and knew letter sounds very early. They simply put together the pieces differently. We did not do direct instruction but rather learned through play and conversation. They each took the play and used it to learn in their own way.


A few years later- they are both very strong readers, strong sight word vocabulary, rich word knowledge, and the ability to sound almost anything out. Though they have been reading independently for a long time - sometimes they will use a word (spoken) and the pronunciation is all wrong (DD1 called a pier a 'pie-ear' and yearn  'year-earn' correctly in context, but the pronunciation is so funny sometimes!)

KCMichigan is offline  
#4 of 19 Old 08-08-2011, 08:15 AM
purslaine's Avatar
Join Date: Feb 2006
Location: Canada
Posts: 6,771
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)

Mine took a few months to a year.  


reading words in isolation can be easy - stringing them together with enough speed so they flow with any fluency takes time and practice.


I have actually found the skill of reading words individually easier for my kids than stringing them together.  YMMV



purslaine is offline  
#5 of 19 Old 08-08-2011, 08:28 AM
loraxc's Avatar
Join Date: Aug 2003
Location: In the Truffula Trees
Posts: 4,388
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
This is going to really throw you off, but DD had 50+ sight words at 18 months but didn't actually read sentences and books till late 4, nearly 5.

She could not have read a word like "watermelon" in that sight word stage, though.

grateful mother to DD, 1/04, and DS, 2/08

loraxc is offline  
#6 of 19 Old 08-08-2011, 11:44 AM
meemee's Avatar
Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: Norther California
Posts: 12,633
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 24 Post(s)

dd knew her letters by 18 months, had some 4 letter sight word  and many logos (for instance she could read the Starbucks logo as well if someone wrote starbucks she recognised it) at 2. at 4 she struggled to read everything but a book - cereal boxes, shampoos, menus, etc - random words. i am not really sure how much she could read when she started K. i know she could read sentences (and random big words) before K. in K i discovered she could read all of dr seuss. BUT her reading didnt take off till she was almost 6. in a month she went from dr Seuss to Eragon and she has never lost her love of reading. 


her good friend's reading didnt take off till second grade. he did the same as dd and got into GATE the next year. sadly thru 1st and 2nd he was way behind in reading and was in a remediation class. 


both dd and her friend were whole language learners. they hated and still hate phonetics and sounding out words. they instead take pot shots of what the word could be like. 

 treehugger.gif Co-parent, joy.gifcold.gifbrand new homeschooling middle schoolerjoy.gif, and an attackcat.gif 
meemee is offline  
#7 of 19 Old 08-08-2011, 04:33 PM
MJB's Avatar
Join Date: Nov 2009
Location: United States
Posts: 1,563
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)

It took both my kids about 6 months. My oldest was 6 when he started reading words and then easy readers (becoming a fluent reader at 7), and my second was 2.5-3 (becoming a fluent reader at 3.5). 

MJB is offline  
#8 of 19 Old 08-08-2011, 06:06 PM
LynnS6's Avatar
Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: Pacific NW longing for the Midwest
Posts: 12,447
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1 Post(s)

A lot of it may depend not only on on the attention span, buton the ability to focus the eyes on smallish print for long periods of time. It takes considerable amount of eye coordination to be able to follow a line of print. It wouldn't surprise me if your 2 1/2 year old took a year or more to read paragraphs, and another 6 months after that to read chapter books. Then again, it could happen in a few months' time. (Which, I suppose, is another way of saying it depends on the kid.)

Lynnteapot2.GIF, academicreading.gif,geek.gif wife, WOHM  to T jog.gif(4/01) and M whistling.gif (5/04)
LynnS6 is offline  
#9 of 19 Old 08-08-2011, 07:16 PM
Daffodil's Avatar
Join Date: Aug 2003
Location: Vermont
Posts: 3,611
Mentioned: 2 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 14 Post(s)

DD first sounded out CVC words at not quite 3, and within a few months (can't remember for sure how long it was) could read at least some very simple 3-4 word sentences - but still slowly sounding out each word.  It was about 3 more years before she began to be able to read a sentence somewhat fluently.  (I think she may have a learning disability.) 


DS could sound out CVC words at 3, but wasn't interested in doing more until he was nearly 5.  Once he became interested in doing more reading, it didn't take him long to be able to read 3-4 word sentences.  Maybe a month or two?   Maybe less.  Going from one short phrase or sentence to multiple sentences at a time was a lot slower.  He's 5 1/2 now and still not interested in reading very much at a time.  About half of a Little Bear story is probably the most he's read in one sitting.


Both of my kids could read short sentences before they could decipher a word like "watermelon."

Daffodil is offline  
#10 of 19 Old 08-08-2011, 09:55 PM
moominmamma's Avatar
Join Date: Jul 2003
Location: In the middle of nowhere, at the centre of everything.
Posts: 7,454
Mentioned: 11 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 524 Post(s)

For my various kids, 12-24 months. My eldest is the one I remember most clearly. She did her first phonetic reading around age 3 (words like "press" and "reverse"), but there was no further apparent progress until just after 4.5. At that point she suddenly began reading fluently at a 5th grade level or beyond.



Mountain mama to one great kid and three great grown-ups
moominmamma is online now  
#11 of 19 Old 08-09-2011, 07:36 AM
whatsnextmom's Avatar
Join Date: Apr 2010
Posts: 2,013
Mentioned: 3 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 34 Post(s)

Originally Posted by LynnS6 View Post

A lot of it may depend not only on on the attention span, buton the ability to focus the eyes on smallish print for long periods of time. It takes considerable amount of eye coordination to be able to follow a line of print.



Yes, vision is a big one. I believe the main reason DS wasn't fluent (which to me is like 5th grade level) until after age 7 is that is also when his visual tracking issues resolved themselves. Most babies are born far-sighted and it can take 6 to 7 years for their vision to normalize. It's not a coincidence that 6 and 7 is the age the majority of kids are starting to click with reading.

Married mom, DD 18, DS 15, and a Valentine's surprise on the way!
whatsnextmom is offline  
#12 of 19 Old 08-09-2011, 08:56 AM
ollyoxenfree's Avatar
Join Date: Jun 2009
Posts: 4,903
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 4 Post(s)


DS was 2 when he recognized simple CVC words. He was reading the kind of books you describe at about age 3. We had a terrific series from Ladybird Books in the U.K. DD was about the same ages, just a little bit older. 


If you are looking for some fun word play to move from reading simple words to stringing them together into something meaningful, we enjoyed the magnetic word poetry sets. There are lists of nouns, verbs, adjectives etc. They sell kid-friendly versions, as well as adult. We had them on our refrigerator for the kids to play around with. Very helpful when you are trying to get a meal ready  thumb.gif. Visiting adults loved to play with them too - leaving messages or creating free verse poems. 



ollyoxenfree is offline  
#13 of 19 Old 08-09-2011, 01:25 PM
bec's Avatar
Join Date: Dec 2002
Location: Illinois
Posts: 6,008
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)

All three of my kids learned to read differently.  My eldest was about halfway through 1st grade.  She had all of the building blocks, but couldn't put it all together.  When she did, she went from a preschool level of literacy (really just letter sounds) to reading above grade level in about a month.  She is 10 now, and reading at about an early high school level. 


My middle (and only child to be identified as gifted at this time) went from learning the ABC song (I didn't know if she actually knew her ABC's or just the song) at around18 months, to identifying letters around 2, to letter sounds, 2.5.  When I saw that she was learning the sounds around 2.5-3, I was trying to keep her occupied one day while I was nursing my youngest and wrote a couple of 3 letter words on a piece of paper.  She sounded them out.  She was reading early readers by about 3.5.  Then, something happened in the next year, and she went from sounding out BOB books, to reading EB White (Trumpet of the Swan).  I am not sure how that jump happened, but it seemed like an explosion of comprehension.  She figured out the code, and then was able to make her mind blossom.  She's 7.5 years old now, and reading at an upper high school level.


My youngest is funny.  She knew her letters and sounds by around 2.  I thought for sure she would be reading by 3.  She loves books, and I showed her the BOB books.  Somedays she would ask me to teach her to read, but others, she wouldn't.  I followed her lead. I suspected that she was starting to read about when she was 3.5 years, maybe 4, but she was keeping it to herself.  When she went into Pre-k, I mentioned to her teacher (the same teacher all my kids had for preschool), that I thought she might be reading.  After a few weeks, she agreed with me.  This past spring, she has decided that she NEEDS to read.  She went from beginning BOB books to the 1st/2nd grade easy readers in about the span of 2 months.  It's amazing. 

Mama to: Katie, Emily , and Abby
Not perfect, Just amazing!
bec is offline  
#14 of 19 Old 08-09-2011, 04:07 PM
KaliShanti's Avatar
Join Date: Mar 2008
Location: Lindale,TX
Posts: 2,284
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)

Depends. My son read words at 2, sentences at 3, books before turning 4.

Jesus-loving Doula/Birth Photographer Mama to Tor 4/2007, Zion 11/2009, Enoch 11/2011, and Zephyr due 12/13/2013

KaliShanti is offline  
#15 of 19 Old 08-10-2011, 09:23 PM
ellemenope's Avatar
Join Date: Jul 2009
Posts: 704
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)

DD(3) has documented vision problems.  She has strabismus, and you would only know it after watching her read a sentence in a book.  She starts rubbing her eyes, and that left eyes goes wonky.  It is something I get upset about frequently, but I am glad we know what is going on, and can actually see when she is obviously fatigued.  So, we know that her eyes are not strong enough for the tracking necessary to read a book and have backed off considerably.


We have stumbled upon other outlets for our DD.   One is starfall.  She can read all the books on that site without getting too tired.  


We also spell out words to her every. single. day.  I remember when she was 2.5, I would give her words broken up into the phonemes.  A few months later, we naturally transitioned into just giving her the letter names.  


I think it is real reading.  Say B-I-T, she reads "bit".  Say B-I-T-E, she reads bite.  And, then will do the same for any novel word in that word family.  She can "read" CVC, CVCE, CCVC, CCVCC, CVVC, CVCCer, CVCCy, words with /SH/, words with /CH/, words ending in /LE/, and words with vowel teams, all in this manner.


Now when I ask her to spell out words with letters, she cannot.  She still just breaks them down into the phonemes, even words like "cat."


We also just talk about words a lot.  We have spent an entire car trip talking about the differences between "but," "butt," "butter," and "button."


So, to answer your question, DD has read many sentences since she started reading (which was about 6 months ago,) but she is not just picking up books and reading sentences for fun at all, yet.  But, there is still progress.

ellemenope is offline  
#16 of 19 Old 08-11-2011, 06:48 AM
mom2reenie's Avatar
Join Date: Nov 2006
Posts: 113
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)

DD started doing phonics a little after she turned 3 and was reading chapter books by age 4 (at 3.5 she was reading the beginning phonic books--like Dick and Jane).  


DS1 is 4 and started being about to sound out words a couple of months ago and still needs help.  I don't expect him to be reading, reading until at least next fall. 


I think there is something that has to click and once that clicks, they take off.  It clicked early for DD, but hasn't clicked yet for DS. 

mom2reenie is offline  
#17 of 19 Old 08-11-2011, 09:10 AM
FarmerBeth's Avatar
Join Date: Mar 2011
Location: Northeastern Nova Scotia, Canada
Posts: 808
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)

I guess it depends on the child.  DD went immediately to reading books.  It started with her re-"reading" books we had read to her that day or the night before by memory.  Then at some point at age three she started picking up new books and actually reading them.  So in our case we never had a gradual process.  The boys weren't in the early reader category to compare.

Busy keeping up with three children and an awful lot of chickens!

FarmerBeth is offline  
#18 of 19 Old 08-14-2011, 08:39 PM
moonbeam7627's Avatar
Join Date: Jan 2006
Location: Van Buren, OH..just N. of Findlay
Posts: 185
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)

In my case, dd2 recognized letters and could even pick out certian letter combinations (knowing the sound taht oo made together) before she was 2, fluently read single words just before she turned 3 and within 6 months was reading the beginner books with one simple sentence per page. She (now 4) will read simple chapter books, can read easy chapter books like Junie B. Jones, but prefers to have me read them to her and she likes to read picture story books and more books like someone would read to a pre-schooler. As far as how long it takes, just like reading to begin with, its all up to the child. They have to understand that the words somehow fit together before they can read sentences too. One thing that all people with gifted children have to remember is that no child is gifted in every way, therefore some may be able to read words (dd1 was like this) very early, but for some reason the part of the brain that tells them that all of these things go together to give you the information you are looking for is a little slower (in dd1s case it was slower than the other kids too).


I'm sure your dd is doing great and will move along in her reading just fine, if you think she is truly ready to move on and seems to want to however, there is a book series called BoB books, this did help dd2 when we knew she was ready to move on, but I had a lot of running to do in the car, we borrowed the book/cd from the library.


moonbeam7627 is offline  
#19 of 19 Old 08-17-2011, 07:58 AM
Geofizz's Avatar
Join Date: Sep 2003
Location: Running with the dingos!
Posts: 7,987
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 2 Post(s)

In the converse, DS at age 5 reads books at a grade 1-2 level.  He cannot recognize many sight words out of context and he cannot sound out CVC words.

Geofizz is offline  

User Tag List

Thread Tools
Show Printable Version Show Printable Version
Email this Page Email this Page

Posting Rules  
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are On
Pingbacks are On
Refbacks are Off

Online Users: 11,023

15 members and 11,008 guests
BerylSaer , Dear_Rosemary , Deborah , emmy526 , IsaFrench , jamesmorrow , JElaineB , kathymuggle , Lydia08 , Michele123 , moominmamma , RollerCoasterMama , sarrahlnorris , Skippy918 , Springshowers
Most users ever online was 449,755, 06-25-2014 at 12:21 PM.