What is the average age for reading? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 26 Old 02-13-2013, 04:12 AM - Thread Starter
 
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I guess I'm curious because I know my husband and I were both early readers, 4-5 at least.

But then I hear that they're not expected to read in Kindergarten in public school and if my DS went to ps he would be 6 before he started.

Then I overheard a parent in my sons speech waiting room on the phone saying "And her 4 year old can't even read yet!" as if 4 is too late!

Then on here I've seen parents with kids who are 8-12 barely reading.

 

So what is the actual ideal age to begin reading? My 4 yo has started sounding out words but is probably a long while off (a year or more) from reading sentences or anything like that.

Being an avid reader myself I feel as if he needs to learn to read asap because once you can read, whole worlds are opened up to you..you can read and learn about absolutely anything..


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#2 of 26 Old 02-13-2013, 04:55 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Ok I was doing some reading and see that most people/experts agree 5-7 is the best/average/ideal time frame to learn to read..do y'all agree or disagree?


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#3 of 26 Old 02-13-2013, 05:42 AM
 
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Originally Posted by micah_mae_ View Post

I guess I'm curious because I know my husband and I were both early readers, 4-5 at least.

But then I hear that they're not expected to read in Kindergarten in public school and if my DS went to ps he would be 6 before he started.

Then I overheard a parent in my sons speech waiting room on the phone saying "And her 4 year old can't even read yet!" as if 4 is too late!

Then on here I've seen parents with kids who are 8-12 barely reading.

 

So what is the actual ideal age to begin reading? My 4 yo has started sounding out words but is probably a long while off (a year or more) from reading sentences or anything like that.

Being an avid reader myself I feel as if he needs to learn to read asap because once you can read, whole worlds are opened up to you..you can read and learn about absolutely anything..

 

I always read aloud to dd and taught her about the alphabet early on. My dd specifically asked to learn to read words at age 4. She demanded we have captions on our TV. We went at her pace with actual lessons and by the time she was 7 I think she was pretty much able to read anything. She did not turn into an avid reader even though she has the ability to read.

 

I can't remember a time when I couldn't read and I love reading. I do think it is an important skill but not important that 5 year olds are reading whole books alone.

 

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Originally Posted by micah_mae_ View Post

Ok I was doing some reading and see that most people/experts agree 5-7 is the best/average/ideal time frame to learn to read..do y'all agree or disagree?

 

I feel that learning to read is a process that you begin from the moment your child is born- not lessons but reading to them, teaching them the alphabet & phonics and finally how to put it all together. I guess the best time is when they are ready but I would expect most kids to read some words by 6 years.

 

http://www.pbs.org/parents/education/reading-language/reading-milestones/


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#4 of 26 Old 02-13-2013, 05:50 AM
 
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I am a teacher at a public school and help out with kindergarten testing at the beginning of the year and we do ask the kids to read for us :( . I think we are pushing our little ones way too hard too soon. I'm always questioning if the kids are developmentally ready to do some of the things we are asking them to do.

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5-7 sounds right. Back in the mid to late 70's we weren't taught to read until first grade, so 6-ish. I recently researched what kindergarteners are being taught in the public school to use as a comparison, and was somewhat surprised that they are expected to be able to read and do math at this age. Simple reading and math, of course. It made me stress out, as my 5-year-old, who we homeschool, can't read or do simple math just yet. She just turned 5 at the end of December. My stress was brief, however. My DD is on the cusp of being able to do these things so I will proceed on as we are. thumb.gif


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#6 of 26 Old 02-13-2013, 08:22 AM
 
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I've watched a lot of unschooled kids grow up and they seem to achieve *fluency* in reading at an average age of about 7.5 (mine were considerably earlier, but that's about an average). Often they obtain reading fluency all in a rush, because they're truly ready. In schools I think it's similar: kids become fluent readers somewhere between 2nd and 4th grade, averaging about 3rd.

 

Many curriculums, whether at school or otherwise, like to start the process of learning to read much earlier than that, and expect kids to be "beginning readers" quite early -- starting at age 4 or 5 or so. I don't think it changes the final outcome much, but it gives the grown-ups the satisfying sense that they're on their way. A few kids are ready to be really solid readers at age 4 or 5, but for most starting the learning to read process that early simply makes them beginning readers for a longer period of time, until they reach the age when it really clicks for them.

 

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#7 of 26 Old 02-13-2013, 01:13 PM
 
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I've seen quite a lot of kids now go through the process of beginning reading. I think that there are two things I personally want for my kids in terms of reading. First off, I want them to be able to read, by which I mean the mechanics of decoding words (if the phonics approach suits as it did with my dyslexic son) or just that weird thing of knowing the words (my daughters and, as far as I remember, dawn of time and suchlike, myself).

 

But second, and personally I think this is the more important, I want them to love reading, to see it as something they want to do, they enjoy doing. 

 

Now I think that there are a number of ways to get to the first step and I'm not all that sure that it matters much how you get there. For my son, systematic phonics instruction was basically the only way for him to learn at the age he was when he wanted/needed to learn. For my daughters all I've really done is occasionally tell them a word or maybe point out that certain patterns tend to make the same sound. But knowing how to read was really not the end of the process. In order to become fluent and fast and get to that stage where they could literally look at a word and not have the choice of not reading it, they had to put in-I don't even know how many hours of reading, mainly on their own. At that point, all the other, really important, prereading skills that they had gained-a sense of how a story works, characters, the simple ability to sit still through a longish narrative, and so many other things-came to the fore and they were able to put them together to become effective, slightly obsessional, readers. 

 

I've seen so many times now kids go from no reading to fluency AND reading at or ahead of their age group in a matter of months. Its worked for my kids, certainly. I think the reasons for this are twofold. First, as others have said, tbh reading isn't that hard once you are ready, assuming that there are no learning issues. Its not necessarily significantly harder to read fifth grade words than first grade words, the issue is more that if you are a first grader you might actually not be so familiar with the fifth grade words and so find them harder to sound out. Actually as words get longer and less frequent they often obey the rules of phonics much better. Second, kids who learn later often are highly motivated to get through the stage of practice-they probably don't even notice themselves practising, rather using a skill which of course IS what they are doing. 

 

At the end of the day, in a homeschool environment, I just personally don't see much disadvantage to a little kid in not being able to read. And for some kids, there are disadvantages in learning. They need to manage to sit still for a bit of time each day for a start which mine were never very good at. Its interesting to me that my only kid who has shown any real sign of reading before age 5 is my youngest, who is also by far the most sedentary (in my house that is a very relative concept!). In school I agree that reading is pretty vital, but at home? Its something that can be managed. Personally I'd rather wait til they are ready then do it quickly.


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#8 of 26 Old 02-14-2013, 05:19 PM
 
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I think there is only an "ideal" time in a school environment. Outside of school, there was no disadvantage for my son being a late reader. He started about age 8 1/2. My husband learned at age 3 and I started at 6 1/2. My husband didn't have any advantage over me despite a 3 year head start. I did better in school. He is an incredibly fast reader though I am far from slow.

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#9 of 26 Old 02-15-2013, 11:52 AM
 
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Ok. So what do we consider reading?
Are talking reading Lobel by ourselves or identifying the word HANDS on the sign in the bathroom?

Things to consider:
Reading is not hard wired like speech so it will range.
An 8 year old still struggling may likely have an issue like a little dyslexia that didn't get caught early yet has amazing critical thinking skills.
But an early reader being taught to read too early may not develop an intrinsic love for literature.
The child may be really busy (or lazy) so reading is not a priority.
Many Waldorfians don't think reading should be taught until adult teeth start to come in. (While this would not work in house, I know many kids where I strongly recommend this to parents)

If your 4 knows the difference between letters and numbers, can tell when a letter is upside down or backwards, is starting to identify which letters make what sound thus identifying them s/he is in fine shape without flags or concerns.

I can't tell if you are just asking or if you are concerned.

If it makes you nervous or you can't let it be (no judgement, I can't let everything just be), make sure you use your finger under each word when you read. If it is the 500th time you have read the book, read each word instead of each sentence but still maintaining the rhythm of reading. There are also other things you can do that might be fun for all. But make you keep yourself in check. Don't push and don't force or the backlash will be far more inconvenient.


Does that help?

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#10 of 26 Old 02-15-2013, 12:36 PM
 
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I think it depends on the child my son just started to learn at age 6 and is now doing so well.


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#11 of 26 Old 02-15-2013, 04:09 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I was worried about my 4 yo being too young, but if he wants to learn what can I do? 


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#12 of 26 Old 02-15-2013, 04:25 PM
 
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If he wants to learn, you can feed that interest gently, but without putting any expectations on him. It's sometimes described as informal structured learning: you put some intentionality into what you offer him, but you don't get hopeful or expectant about any particular response from him, whether staying "on task" or rate or direction of progress. Desire to learn something does not necessarily correlate at all with the developmental readiness to do so. If stuff doesn't stick, or if he doesn't get it, or if his enthusiasm never lasts more than a couple of minutes, or if he gets angry that it isn't clicking for him, you just shrug and smile and say "You're a clever kid; reading will get easier to learn when you're a bit older."

 

Three of my kids learned to read at 4 pretty organically, without any direct instruction. So I know that some kids are ready at 4. Most are not, though, so don't build up expectations of progress.

 

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#13 of 26 Old 02-16-2013, 01:59 AM
 
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I don't think 4 is necessarily too young. But I also tend to think that wanting to learn, per se, does not necessarily signal readiness. My son also wants to be an astronaut but at 9 he is not ready for that :-) (as his mother I think I'd say he will NEVER be ready for that ROTFLMAO.gif). I think I'd take the fact he wants to do it as a kind of sign as to the direction he wants to go in, that's all.

 

I don't think 4 is too young necessarily. I think, tbh, its really impossible to say, it totally depends on the child. I think that, even if your child wants to learn, he might still not be cognitively ready. I'd say at 4 that the odds would be that he was not cognitively ready, but they are more like 80:20 than 99:1. And you can probably still teach him-I don't think my 5 year old is ready but my 7 year old disagrees and has taught her bits and pieces ROTFLMAO.gif. But IMO she's not ready to put it together, she's not going to be reading fluently for a few more years because she just isn't really ready. I mean you can teach a chimp to read...

 

Do you have a strong sense yet of the kind of learner he is? Of the way he approaches other tasks? Is he highly logical, sequential, or more of a diffuse, overview type learner? At this age I think its possible, even likely, that you won't have that sense yet but you'll get it.

 

When my kids say things like "I'd like to learn x" I turn the question back to them. As an adult I have a strong idea of what learning most things is. But my kids often have a very different idea. When my 5 year old says, "I want to do maths" what she actually often means is "I want to watch that cool program (her brother) does on the computer" (Khan academy). She does not mean, "I want to engage with a sequential program of mathematical learning". Or she might mean, "wow, I want to learn to draw those cool shapes like (her sister)" (thanks Vi Hart joy.gif). A 4 year old who wanted to read might want to be reading their own books, or might just really want to read and write a little, say their name. My feeling wiht kids is that its exactly as if an adult came to me and said, say, "I want to understand chemistry and I want you to help me". I would not think, "well then I will help them work through a comprehensive program of first year undergrad study, since that is, to me, what I feel is necessary to say you understand chemistry.". I'd say, ok, what is it you want to know? What, for you, does "understanding chemistry" look like-do you want to understand how atoms fit together, how crystals form, how molecular structures operate in a biological context? Do you want to know what an atom looks like? Are you interested in ideas around entropy/enthalpy? Is there some research or some statement you want to understand better? Or do you want a bit of a taste of everything, since ultimately it is all interconnected. What is it you are really after? And I try to extend that courtesy to my kids with their learning.

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#14 of 26 Old 02-16-2013, 08:15 AM
 
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I was worried about my 4 yo being too young, but if he wants to learn what can I do? 

Go at his pace. If he stops being interested in "lessons" then drop the lessons. Continue to read aloud to him though. Point out words and letters in books and signs. Get letter blocks or letter magnets and make words with your dc. Don't stress about it.

 

When my dd came to me at age 4 and said she wanted to learn to read we got the Teach Your Child To Read in 100 Easy Lessons book. She wasn't asking to read Shakespeare by herself but definitely wanted to read words she encountered in her world. She was interested for awhile and then her interest flagged so we shelved it. I continued to read aloud to her daily. We played I-Spy with numbers or letters on signs in our environment. We played around on Starfall when she felt like it. We always had captions on tv. We pulled that book out again when she was 5 or 6 and went through at least half of it. We never actually finished all 100 lessons. She still learned to read before age 7.


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#15 of 26 Old 02-16-2013, 03:03 PM
 
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I had 2children  learn to read around 6 and one at 8.


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#16 of 26 Old 02-16-2013, 05:06 PM
 
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Originally Posted by micah_mae_ View Post

I was worried about my 4 yo being too young, but if he wants to learn what can I do? 

A 4yo has no preconceived notion of what a reading lesson looks like, if he is asking.  You can ask him if he wants a reading lesson or if he just wants to be read to.  They might end up looking exactly the same to you, but to him, whoa, Nelly!  He's getting a reading lesson!  You could also ask him if he wants you to point to the words.  My oldest *hated* this, but my youngest liked it (dd1 is inclined to be a sight reader, dd2 sounds her words out more, BTW).  You could ask him if he wants to read some words-- you read, then he "reads" the next word (use a book you know well.)  Returning to baby books with one word one each page was a favorite here for a long time-- so rewind and revisit old, familiar favorites.  He might not actually read, but he will not be the wiser.  He's getting lessons!  Hopefully, he's having loads of fun.  One day, even though he's been "reading" a book faithfully for months, suddenly he'll be stumbling over words, even though he has the entire book memorized.  That's when you'll know he is starting to pay attention to the words and not his memory.

 

When he says "no", respect that and read with no finger pointing-at-words, nothing.  Some kids are reluctant to learn to read because they are afraid they will lose storytime.  I like to let my girls know every now and then that I will *never* want to stop reading to them.  And it's true so far.  I've read my way out loud through the entire Harry Potter series, 2 Percy Jackson books, the Hobbit 3 times, the Lord of the Rings once (what a treat!), Hound of the Baskervilles, and onward.  I love reading out loud, love the theatrical-ness of it all, love the narration.  (I am a very slow reader, and I have a movie running through my head at all times and I have always read like this--such a rich experience!)

 

Good luck, and enjoy!


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#17 of 26 Old 02-16-2013, 05:51 PM - Thread Starter
 
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A 4yo has no preconceived notion of what a reading lesson looks like, if he is asking.  You can ask him if he wants a reading lesson or if he just wants to be read to.  They might end up looking exactly the same to you, but to him, whoa, Nelly!  He's getting a reading lesson!  You could also ask him if he wants you to point to the words.  My oldest *hated* this, but my youngest liked it (dd1 is inclined to be a sight reader, dd2 sounds her words out more, BTW).  You could ask him if he wants to read some words-- you read, then he "reads" the next word (use a book you know well.)  Returning to baby books with one word one each page was a favorite here for a long time-- so rewind and revisit old, familiar favorites.  He might not actually read, but he will not be the wiser.  He's getting lessons!  Hopefully, he's having loads of fun.  One day, evsanen though he's been "reading" a book faithfully for months, suddenly he'll be stumbling over words, even though he has the entire book memorized.  That's when you'll know he is starting to pay attention to the words and not his memory.

 

When he says "no", respect that and read with no finger pointing-at-words, nothing.  Some kids are reluctant to learn to read because they are afraid they will lose storytime.  I like to let my girls know every now and then that I will *never* want to stop reading to them.  And it's true so far.  I've read my way out loud through the entire Harry Potter series, 2 Percy Jackson books, the Hobbit 3 times, the Lord of the Rings once (what a treat!), Hound of the Baskervilles, and onward.  I love reading out loud, love the theatrical-ness of it all, love the narration.  (I am a very slow reader, and I have a movie running through my head at all times and I have always read like this--such a rich experience!)

 

Good luck, and enjoy!

He wants to "practice reading" meaning he wants to practice sounding out words. It's his favorite thing right now and he's doing pretty well but I do totally love reading out loud to them as well. :)


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#18 of 26 Old 02-17-2013, 08:17 AM
 
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It all depends on what you mean by reading.  Out of my 4 children, one was reading Dr Seuss by herself at age 4 (pre-K), 1 at age 6 (1st grade).  Both semi-fluently.  The other 2  could read Dr. Seuss at age 6 (1st grade) but with a lot of help and frustration.  They were reading semi-fluently at age 9 (4th grade) and 11 (5th grade).  But all of them were capable (if not actually interested in) of reading and understanding Shakespeare by 7th grade (ages 11-13).  And if there had been books that he was interested in and gave him the information he craved, my son would have been reading independently earlier than 5th-6th grade.  Unfortunately, military subjects for the younger grades were so simplified that he considered them fiction.  He is also an auditory learner and learns a great deal from documentaries.
 


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#19 of 26 Old 03-23-2013, 07:10 PM
 
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5-7 seems pretty common.

 

My DS  could read (sounding out 3 letter words and sight reading, like "The cat is red. I am on the pig. The sun is up.") around 2.75 years. At age five, he is now an extremely fluent reader, reading and comprehending books like The Hobbit.

 

My DD, age 3.5, recognizes her letter sounds. :) That's it! They are all so different!


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#20 of 26 Old 03-23-2013, 10:05 PM
 
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I think each child is different. If your child is ready (and not just you wanting them to be ready) then they will pick it up from reading with you and your gentle interactions. If they are not ready and you try to force it you could cause damage. You could extinguish a love of reading (I know kids that went to school who had that problem.) 

 

According to this article forced premature reading could cause a reading disability: http://www.lilipoh.com/past_issues/2007/fall2007/teaching_children.aspx

 

 

My husband taught himself to read at 4. I do not remember learning to read, but I was probably six. Our son is 7 and has resisted learning to read. He just wasn't ready. I recently discovered www.ookaisland.com and he LOVES playing the games that are helping him master reading. I know lots of unschoolers who said their kids learned to read around 8. Then they grew up and graduated from college.

 

As long as you are reading to your child and they are having fun, it's all good. When there is some resistance, stop what you are doing. You do not want to damage their reading future.


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#21 of 26 Old 03-24-2013, 08:43 PM
 
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i don't know what schools or other parents necessarily consider average, but with my own kids they are reading fluently by age 8. i start to teach reading when they are kindergarten age (about 5 1/2). we start with letter sounds, then digraphs, & build up to sounding out words and then decoding sentences. but i don't consider them actual "readers" until they are fairly fluent (reading actual books well with comprehension - not leveled readers or beginner chapter books).

 

this has been achieved by age 8 here (well, my son was actually by age 7 - he has read phenomenally well for quite some time & he just turned 9).  if it happens earlier or later for other kids, i imagine that's totally normal. even in public school, kids are all over the place with reading in elementary K-3.


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#22 of 26 Old 03-25-2013, 09:12 PM
 
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Do keep in mind that finding the average from the low end to the high end doesn't mean there's one ideal. I've heard of 2 yr. olds learning to read more or less on their own and very bright 9 yr. olds struggling at in spite of having been exposed to a love of reading from parents in a positive and enthusiastic way all their lives. It's highly individual - and most children are reading by the time there's anything all that special for them to read. If parents read a lot to children, they're sharing wonderful experiences and adventures, and they're able to enjoy all that together  - they're also able to read material that's much more advanced than a young child would be reading on his own - so there's no special advantage in a child reading independently at an early age. Take a look through some of the articles written by homeschoolers, former teachers, and other professional educators on the subject - there's a lot of strong disagreement with the idea that early is better:  preschool and kindergarten


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#23 of 26 Old 04-03-2013, 07:07 AM
 
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I tried with my son from pre-k....I shouldn't have bothered that early.Only this year has his reading taken off, although he hates practicing. I long researched delayed learning, Waldorf....and I have to say that the theories fit my son well. He is now 7. I should have just stuck with Reading Eggs for his early years...or Ooka Island.

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#24 of 26 Old 04-03-2013, 11:09 AM
 
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I was 3 when I could read some words, was reading little books at 5 in kindy and I read for fun almost constantly from age 8 to 21. I taught my older son at age 5. He turned 7 yesterday and doesn't read for fun yet, but pretty fluently reads what he encounters in games and signs and labels. My middle son is 3 and writes his name and some other letters, recognizes letters and identifies some letter sounds. I haven't been working with him on it I just answer what he asks me. If they can read before they're 8 I figure it's fine, readiness does vary.

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#25 of 26 Old 05-02-2013, 03:25 PM
 
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My first now 8 was a natural reader.  She picked it up right away and was reading easily right after she turned 5.  She now falls asleep every night reading long chapter books on 5-6 grade level. She is the type of kid that reads while she is walking and doesn't even get dressed in her PJ's before she starts reading at night. 

 

My second now 5 almost 6 is not reading yet. She knows all her letters and their sounds. She can read all 3 letter words and some sight words. She was/is resistant when it comes to school work.  I had to teach her in a completely different way then I taught my first. I do realize I have not had the dedicated time I had when teaching my first.  I also have a 3yo.  When I taught my first she was it and I could occupy her little sister.  Now I'm trying to teach my oldest and my second while I have a crazy 3 yo who must be involved with school. 

 

However I can tell she does not have the same maturity and natural ability my first had.  I think all kids are different and can "learn" things better at different times.  After all not all adults love to read.  I am a horrid speller and enjoy math and science more. So it just depends on the individual.  We are all different. 


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#26 of 26 Old 05-04-2013, 11:15 PM
 
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my son is 7 and barely took off on reading this year. i worried and stressed for a long time...

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