Reading too early - Mothering Forums

 
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#1 of 13 Old 09-17-2009, 06:55 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Hey, I have an interesting question which I am x-posting in special needs forum, but thought the homeschoolers may have interesting insight as I had first read it here that it may be unwise to teach a child to read too early.

I have two sons ages 3.5 and 1.5. My 3.5yo has Down Syndrome. We started very early with him exposing him to the alphabet, letter sounds, introducing sight reading. Up until now we have done so very casually. He is not home taught, for now we have him in two different preschools. One is special ed (M,W,F), and the other (T, TH) is just a regular preschool. He is doing lots of pre-reading learning at his special ed school, and we have also begun a home learning program with him on a more formal basis. Kids with Down Syndrome tend to be very strongly visual and tactile learners, and learn to read best by sight reading. We feel like we are on the right track with him introducing reading early, so that is not my question.


What I am wondering is about my 1.5 year old. Learning in our home is very fun. We don't do any drills or flash cards. We mix things up quite a bit. We do use 15 minute DVD's with sight words and alphabet letters and sounds, and both boys watch them. In total we probably spend 20-25 minutes of time working on reading skills a day at home, about 4 days a week. That time is spent together and both boys enjoy it very much. If either of them is just not feelin' it, we skip it. Our 3.5yo is doing a great job picking up letter sounds and naming a few letters. What I had not intended to happen is that our 1.5yo is also picking up the letter names and in some case the sounds too. Is this okay? I mean, if it is a fun time together interacting with each other is it okay that he be learning this stuff? The program does not use phonics. It does sound out the words, but it is designed specifically for kids with Down Syndrome to teach them to sight read.

Our little guy is actually doing a lot of things early because he has kind of become the unintended participant in many of our older son's therapies. IDK, what do you guys think? He does pretend play very well, he seems emotionally very grounded, and a well rounded, spunky little guy. Anyway, I just wanted to know what other folks thought about this. Thanks!
Kim

Kim. My heart is full! Wife to Ray, Mama to 3 boys!  "Big C", our boy with designer genes, "Little C", and "Baby M" 11/2010.
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#2 of 13 Old 09-17-2009, 07:26 PM
 
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why would you feel the need to teach a 3 yr old how to read? Most 3 yr olds are working on colors, maybe a letter or counting to 10 but reading? Way to young even for kids that don't have DS.

Seriously?
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#3 of 13 Old 09-17-2009, 07:46 PM - Thread Starter
 
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The idea being that it is going to take him thousands of repetitions to learn. We start early to give him a leg up for when he gets to elementary school.

Kim. My heart is full! Wife to Ray, Mama to 3 boys!  "Big C", our boy with designer genes, "Little C", and "Baby M" 11/2010.
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#4 of 13 Old 09-17-2009, 07:56 PM
 
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I wouldn't worry about it. Just be aware that if he's learning to sight read, you may need to put a little more emphasis on spelling instruction once he's school age.

On the other hand, don't be surprised if he stalls or completely loses interest at some point.
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#5 of 13 Old 09-17-2009, 07:58 PM
 
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i don't have any experience with ds but i was reading a bit at that age. why not? do you really want to count on a public school education installing a love of books? especially when there's a special circumstance like this.
the idea of being too young to read just reminds me of the kindergarden teacher who scolds scout for reading in "to kill a mockingbird."

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#6 of 13 Old 09-17-2009, 08:06 PM
 
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I think it's great! For my next children, I plan to start introducing them early - learning alphabet and letter sounds at 1-2, just reading alphabet books to them... Showing them starfall.com at age 3 and the Leapfrog DVDs...

- Angela
mama homeschooling Satori, dd6 in the beautiful CO Rockies
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#7 of 13 Old 09-17-2009, 08:25 PM
 
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I figure, for most things, if they're able to learn it, then it's probably not too early.
I "taught myself" (my parents' description) to read by 3, so there would have to be letters or something even earlier...though I don't remember. Maybe you just have a bookworm in the making!
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#8 of 13 Old 09-17-2009, 08:29 PM
 
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I think you should let your kids read whenever they are ready. My dd asked to learn to read when she turned 3. We started starfall.com then and I labeled the house.

She learned her ABCs before two years old and her sounds shortly after 2.5. As long as they aren't resisting and are having fun, go for it and let them absorb everything!!
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#9 of 13 Old 09-17-2009, 08:36 PM
 
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My first daughter read her first word on her 3rd birthday. She now reads on a high school level (she is 7). My son was less enthusiastic about reading but in the summer before he turned 5, he went thorough Rocket Phonics in 3 months and was reading independetly after that (he is almost 6). My second dd is 3 1/2 and she knows her letters and about 15 sounds. She wants to read so bad because she sees her sister and brother reading.

EVERY child is different. I didn't push anyway of my kids. I just read to them since they were babies and exposed them to letters(magent, bath,etc).

Heather
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#10 of 13 Old 09-17-2009, 08:59 PM
 
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My youngest learned the alphabet before he was two, and a few months after, he had pretty much figured out which letter makes which sound. I didn't teach him. He just enjoyed watching his brother's phonics video with them, and playing with his letter puzzle. He loooooves starfall and can navigate through the letter activities on his own, even the ones where he has to pick the correct letter for a sound given.

Nothing wrong with that. If they learn by listening and observing as their older siblings are learning, more power to 'em.
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#11 of 13 Old 09-17-2009, 09:15 PM
 
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Of course it's OK. He's having fun doing something together with his brother and his parents.

It might not be what you would have chosen for him to do if his brother didn't need extra help with these things, but it's a natural part of your lives together.

For the record, I'm not one of those people who thinks kids ought to be receiving early instruction in letters, letter sounds, numbers, colors, shapes, blah, blah, blah. I do not make any particular effort to teach these things to my kids (but they learn them anyway). But if I were teaching something to my older child, I also wouldn't be making a special effort to prevent my younger child from learning it if he wanted to.

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#12 of 13 Old 09-18-2009, 12:01 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by skueppers View Post
It might not be what you would have chosen for him to do if his brother didn't need extra help with these things, but it's a natural part of your lives together.
Thanks for the input. I just remember reading somewhere that urging young toddlers to read was detrimental, I think probably because it monopolizes their play time when the parents are pushing flashcards and drills and DVD;s and stuff. But you are right, if it is a natural part of our lives together, than why not.

Calvin, DS2, has benefited from all of his brothers therapies. Cal has over 100 words (a guesstimate) and about that many signs too, as we use sign language with DS1. If DS1 did not have Down Syndrome, I don't know if I would be so sensitive about introducing academic type stuff. But kids w/o special needs just learn so effortlessly that I feel like why not let them just learn through their natural interactions with their environment. But of course we are doing academics very intensively with Charlie (DS1), so Calvin gets it "second hand" anyway.

Thanks for all your supportive comments. I think I just like to worry.

(BTW, I think I should brag on DS1 who is doing very well with his little letter and reading studies. He knows many of the alphabet letters and sounds, and even likes to sing the alphabet song, but insists on doing so in a high squeaky voice. He can sight read two words: "hug" and his name "Charlie." He likes to try to write his name, and I am so proud of him.)

Kim. My heart is full! Wife to Ray, Mama to 3 boys!  "Big C", our boy with designer genes, "Little C", and "Baby M" 11/2010.
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#13 of 13 Old 09-18-2009, 10:59 AM
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Yay Charlie!

And I think it's fine - you're not invested in Calvin reading young, you're doing something he thinks is fun and including him. It may not translate into his reading fluently at a younger age, but who cares? That's not the goal, right?

 
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