How I Started My 4 year old Son on Reading - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 19 Old 04-11-2013, 08:18 AM - Thread Starter
 
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My son is 4years + but he hasn't pickup much reading until recently. Since I started to teach him reading at home, I am very pleased with the results. Sharing my experience on coach young child to read at home.


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#2 of 19 Old 04-11-2013, 09:20 AM
 
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Interesting...but what you don't say is why you are so keen that such a young child should be learning to read. That's more the debate for me really. 


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#3 of 19 Old 04-11-2013, 12:57 PM
 
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Interesting...but what you don't say is why you are so keen that such a young child should be learning to read. That's more the debate for me really. 

 

I agree. I worry a child pushed into something at such a young age has a hard road ahead of them.

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#4 of 19 Old 04-11-2013, 07:43 PM - Thread Starter
 
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it really depends on how you coach. if you see from my blog, he finds fun at reading and never felt pushed. i would like to hear from you at what age would you like to start you child on reading?
 


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#5 of 19 Old 04-11-2013, 08:39 PM
 
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From your blog it seems like you're prodding him with sticker rewards. 

 

I prefer that my kids start reading at the age when they are self-motivated and developmentally ready to lead the process in an organic, interest-based fashion. If that's 4, so be it. If that's 9, so be it.

 

In the case of my kids, they all learned pretty much on their own and were reading proper novels by well before age 6. That's just the way they were wired. My friend's dd learned at 9 -- achieving fluency beyond grade level within about 6 weeks. And you know, despite the late start, that kid is incredibly erudite and well-rounded, plenty gifted in language areas (graduated top of her class from high school last year with AP English and a course in French Lit.), and also has an incredible aural memory -- flexed to great skill when she was still not reading and had to actually learn things that she otherwise could have looked up.

 

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#6 of 19 Old 04-12-2013, 12:53 AM
 
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When they are ready. I would never, ever start teaching a kid who wasn't enthusiastic and asking to learn, and an enthusiastic kid would not normally need stickers. Even with my son, who had reading delays, I waited til he was ready and asked. 

 

TBH I don't see any point in teaching a 4 year old to read. I can see the argument for an older child. But I don't think a homeschooled 4 year old typically has any need to read. And there is no evidence I know of that early reading confers any advantage. There are so many posts on this but speed of reading aquisition is related to maturity, to having gained the reading soft skills, which is why, IMO,  kids routinly go from 0 to adult reading in the space of weeks. Phonic decoding is not hard if you are cognitively ready, but nearly impossible if you are not, just as learning to walk is impossible for a newborn but easy and natural for a one year old. 


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#7 of 19 Old 04-12-2013, 07:16 AM
 
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When they are ready. I would never, ever start teaching a kid who wasn't enthusiastic and asking to learn, and an enthusiastic kid would not normally need stickers. Even with my son, who had reading delays, I waited til he was ready and asked. 

 

TBH I don't see any point in teaching a 4 year old to read. I can see the argument for an older child. But I don't think a homeschooled 4 year old typically has any need to read. And there is no evidence I know of that early reading confers any advantage. There are so many posts on this but speed of reading aquisition is related to maturity, to having gained the reading soft skills, which is why, IMO,  kids routinly go from 0 to adult reading in the space of weeks. Phonic decoding is not hard if you are cognitively ready, but nearly impossible if you are not, just as learning to walk is impossible for a newborn but easy and natural for a one year old. 

Thank You for posting this.  I was getting kind of down on myself and my 6 yo and I needed to hear this again :)


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#8 of 19 Old 04-12-2013, 08:03 AM
 
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My young son was able to observe so much more than my literate self when we went on outings. I was too busy reading every sign we passed trying to get us where we were going whereas he was actually seeing the environment and able to point the way more quickly. I think early literacy is hugely over rated. Just like there are better things a child can be doing than watching tv, sitting still reading for hours can take a child away from other valuable activities. Giving my child conditional treats or stickers only ever made him feel manipulated and resentful, but I understand not all kids are as sensitive to that as he is. He learned to read around age 9, skipping over easy readers (he always thought they were inane.)


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#9 of 19 Old 04-12-2013, 12:03 PM
 
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Here's an article on why young kids= brains aren=t ready for early reading/writing instruction:

http://www.lilipoh.com/past_issues/2007/fall2007/teaching_children.aspx

 

Here=s an article that discusses how children who start academics at later ages do better in the long run:

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/wales/2752895.stm

 

 

This book addresses how preschool kids learn and looks at studies that show why play is more important than academics for preschoolers:

http://www.amazon.com/Einstein-Never-Used-Flash-Cards/dp/1579546951/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1304057852&sr=8-1           

 

Here=s an article about how play will help children get into Harvard:

http://www.cnn.com/2010/OPINION/12/29/christakis.play.children.learning/index.html 


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#10 of 19 Old 04-12-2013, 02:37 PM
 
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Here's an article on why young kids= brains aren=t ready for early reading/writing instruction:

http://www.lilipoh.com/past_issues/2007/fall2007/teaching_children.aspx

 

Interesting article. Tell my four-year old who spontaneously started to read a few months ago that he isn't developmentally ready. He picked reading up solely by listening to his older sister's Spalding lessons and then studying books. Systematic instruction like Spalding removes the need to guess words, and actually turns reading into a whole-brain experience.

 

There are lots of theories on reading instruction. Yet, wouldn't claiming that kids are not developmentally ready essentially make said skill impossible? Many, many four and five year olds start reading by themselves or with instruction. Not all are exposed only to a sight-word reading method and are thus forced to guess.

 

I strongly disagree with the author's recommendation to teach capital letters first, and to do so by drawing pictures out of them. Both delay )the reading process by making it more complicated than it needs to be. (A = picture of apple = "short a sound", for example. Yet, A actually makes at least four sounds. And lower case letters are encountered much more frequently than upper case ones). 


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#11 of 19 Old 04-12-2013, 02:39 PM
 
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My young son was able to observe so much more than my literate self when we went on outings. I was too busy reading every sign we passed trying to get us where we were going whereas he was actually seeing the environment and able to point the way more quickly. I think early literacy is hugely over rated. Just like there are better things a child can be doing than watching tv, sitting still reading for hours can take a child away from other valuable activities. Giving my child conditional treats or stickers only ever made him feel manipulated and resentful, but I understand not all kids are as sensitive to that as he is. He learned to read around age 9, skipping over easy readers (he always thought they were inane.)

 

I don't like the sticker method either. But you probably acknowledge that reading can bring immense joy, and that reading doesn't have to happen for hours at a time, or while sitting still all the time?


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#12 of 19 Old 04-12-2013, 09:37 PM
 
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Interesting article. Tell my four-year old who spontaneously started to read a few months ago that he isn't developmentally ready. He picked reading up solely by listening to his older sister's Spalding lessons and then studying books. Systematic instruction like Spalding removes the need to guess words, and actually turns reading into a whole-brain experience.

 

There are lots of theories on reading instruction. Yet, wouldn't claiming that kids are not developmentally ready essentially make said skill impossible? Many, many four and five year olds start reading by themselves or with instruction. Not all are exposed only to a sight-word reading method and are thus forced to guess.

 

I strongly disagree with the author's recommendation to teach capital letters first, and to do so by drawing pictures out of them. Both delay )the reading process by making it more complicated than it needs to be. (A = picture of apple = "short a sound", for example. Yet, A actually makes at least four sounds. And lower case letters are encountered much more frequently than upper case ones). 

 

My husband taught himself to read at 4. Some kids are ready, some are not. My point in referencing the article was to illustrate that if a child isn't motivating himself there may be a reason and it may cause harm to try and get him to develop the skill.

 

My kids are 7 and 4. My son is doing Ooka Island and learning both phonics and sight word skills. My 4 year old wants to do whatever her big brother is doing. I am not concerned about her because she is doing it on her own. Of course, at three she wanted me to play phonics games with her, which I did, so perhaps she has some level of readiness.

 

However, I'd much rather my kids play than work on academics, especially the 4 year old. Playing is just too important in focusing creativity and learning problem solving.


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#13 of 19 Old 04-13-2013, 12:55 AM
 
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My husband taught himself to read at 4. Some kids are ready, some are not. My point in referencing the article was to illustrate that if a child isn't motivating himself there may be a reason and it may cause harm to try and get him to develop the skill.

 

My kids are 7 and 4. My son is doing Ooka Island and learning both phonics and sight word skills. My 4 year old wants to do whatever her big brother is doing. I am not concerned about her because she is doing it on her own. Of course, at three she wanted me to play phonics games with her, which I did, so perhaps she has some level of readiness.

 

However, I'd much rather my kids play than work on academics, especially the 4 year old. Playing is just too important in focusing creativity and learning problem solving.

 

Ah, I see your point. Thanks for elaborating, because the author of the linked article says that "kids are not ready before 6 or 7". That is just too much of a generalization. Of course play is enormously important. I'd say most kids have about 10-12 waking hours in a day. That would give them plenty of opportunity to do a little bit of reading and perhaps other academic stuff (for, like, 10 min) as well as to play for most of the day. IF they want to. I'm not talking about a tiger mom approach :). 


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#14 of 19 Old 04-13-2013, 02:22 AM
 
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Yes can I just be clear too. I have no issue with a child who happens to be 4 and who is asking for help with learning to read being given help. I think that it should remain low key, and that the parents should not become invested too much so that they are prepared to back off if the kids stops being interested or needs a break. But I don't think there is anything fundementally wrong with a 4 year old learning to read.

 

What I feel is more than, in many ways, reading is quite akin to walking or weaning or whatever in that its a skill that kids tend to start signalling quite clearly over when they are ready to learn. If a kid signals at 4 then great. The only thing I'd say is that some kids do this, they learn even quite fluently to read at 4 but then are held back by their lack of the other skills needed to read, vocabulary and so on.

 

I don't think this is at 100% at all and if I had a child of 8 or 9 who had no interest in reading, who was turned off learning it or whatever then I'd start giving that matter a serious amount of thought. (And I might well conclude that it was not necessary to do anything as yet...or might just up the level of reading I was doign with them...or might aim to clear a bit more time in the day to play board games...but I think I'd start seeing it as something to keep an eye on around this age. I don't really like to make quick decisions though unless I need to-I prefer a long thinking, observing time).

 

I read very young (like 2 1/2) and so did my partner. For better or worse, it makes you a different person. Its hard to be certain about these things of course-did we read young because we had certain chacter trails or did the traits follow? What I'd say is that we were far more sedentary kids, far, far more likely to go look something up or read about it than get out there and experience it. My kids are far more physically capable and daring than I was, certainly, or anecdote suggests my partner was. They have a far better kinetic sense and very, very developed imaginations compared to us.


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#15 of 19 Old 04-13-2013, 11:22 AM
 
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Sure some kids are ready to read very young. My dh learned at 3 without any instruction. And one doesn't need to sit still for hours to read. I've seen my husband walk while reading often enough. But there is too much emphasis on early reading. If a child isn't interested or needs rewards to be motivated, there is no rush. Reading can be learned at any age. There is no sensitive period for reading.

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#16 of 19 Old 04-18-2013, 09:16 AM
 
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I see this topic posted all the time. I don't understand why there is such backlash against learning to read if it's desired. Even if you spend an hour reading to your child there's still tons of time during the day for them to play. If a few periods of ten or twenty minutes here and there during the day are cutting into creative and play time that much, I really have to ask what else the child is doing all day???

I do not recall anyone here ever condoning forcing a really young child into hours of structured learning a day, especially when the child is hesitant but there are certainly tons of ways to incorporate learning to read without sitting down and demanding memorization from a child. Being snuggled up and reading to my dd is one of the most enjoyable experiences we have had over the years. She totally agrees. I didn't do much to teach her to read other than constantly reading to her -which again we both enjoyed immensely- while showing her the words with my finger and things like that. Her reading ability exploded when she was turning 5 and now she is reading amazing well at almost six.

It's a HUGE benefit to her. HUGE! I can't always be available for play or to have playdates, etc. and she will spend some of her time that I can't spend with her playing and some reading. I'm not saying reading is necessary at this age but it's certainly opened up a whole world for her. She doesn't have to wait for me to read directions when she wants to play a new game. She loves being able to check the weather on her own. She gets such a kick out of reading street signs, the menu on her own, etc. She can learn about anything at all that she wants, whenever she wants. She doesn't spend all day doing this. She still has tons of play and games and outings. We always eat together and talk about anything she wants. I don't really see the disadvantage here. If she hated it, I wouldn't have pushed her but - IMO if a child is open to learning to read and you help them along in an appropriate way, it's only going to benefit everyone. 


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#17 of 19 Old 04-18-2013, 12:21 PM
 
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hi ilovemygirl. Just to clarify-if you look at the replies to this thread, including mine, I don't think anyone has had a problem with kids learning to read early, either because they want to and ask for instruction or because they just pick it up, which sound like what your daughter did. I've made the point, and I think other posters have, that early reading may make them a different kind of learner-and that's based on fairly solid ground, I think- but that's not a good or bad thing, its just a thing. Its expedient for you to teach your kid, for me, with three, there's always someone on hand to read to the remaining non reader so its not a big issue.

 

What I think people have taken issue with with the original post is not that the OP taught her child to read, but how she did so. And, tbh, more than that, because she came on here to promote a particular model of teaching which we do not all agree is beneficial, the response was to argue against it. I doubt anyone would have said anything if she hadn't been beating a drum for stickers and rewards-if, say, she'd just mentioned that that was how she taught her own child and left it at that, the responses I think would have been very different.

 

You say "If a few periods of ten or twenty minutes here and there during the day are cutting into creative and play time that much, I really have to ask what else the child is doing all day???"

 

Let me try to answer that. The issue I have is not with those twenty minutes here and there cutting into creative play. Its introducing, in the OP's case, the idea that learning is top down and that reading needs to be promoted with stickers. I'm in no way at all criticising the OP for doing that with her own child, by the way. We all have our own judgement calls to make. But I strongly disagree with linking rewards to learning for kids this age-I feel about as strongly about it as I feel about CIO, if you can imagine-and so if someone comes on here to promote it I will try to present an opposing view. I can totally accept that a particular family might feel compelled to use CIO, it doesn't mean I'd want to use it on my kids and I'd argue against it as a norm, because for us it would not be a helpful experience at all, ditto pushing early reading with stickers and the rest in a child who showed little interest.

 

To be clear then, its not the time involved, its the example being set.


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#18 of 19 Old 04-18-2013, 01:00 PM
 
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To be clear then, its not the time involved, its the example being set.

 

Yes, I think it is so much better for children that they be allowed to love to learn instead of being forced to learn. 


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#19 of 19 Old 04-18-2013, 01:17 PM
 
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Totally agree with Fillyjonk. It's the top-down nature of what was being described that rubs me the wrong way.

 

But there is one other thing that has to do with the time and attention invested by the parent. When parental attention, energy and emotional investment are being placed specifically on this particular academic pursuit I think that sends a subtle but powerful message. When parents preferentially provide attention for academic-style activities, kids pick up on that because they want, more than anything else, to please the people they love most and to earn their attention. The take-home message is "Mom thinks my learning to read is very important. Physical and musical experimentation, imaginary play, sorting matchbox cars ... not so much." Since I happen to think that for a 4-year-old the latter categories are if anything more important than the former, I would not want to send that message.

 

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