What is the average age to start reading? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 14 Old 03-04-2009, 12:44 PM - Thread Starter
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I am curious. My daughter just turned 4 and has started to read simple books and is starting to sound out words. Is this about average?
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#2 of 14 Old 03-04-2009, 01:55 PM
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Depends on what source (study, gov't resource, etc.) you check if this is average or not. Generally between ages 4- 5 is normal to start beginning reading, but even by age 8 it is not considered late to learn how to read from a brain development standpoint.
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#3 of 14 Old 03-04-2009, 02:32 PM
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I don't know what average is-both of my daughters started when they were 4.
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#4 of 14 Old 03-04-2009, 04:58 PM
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IMO there really is no average for something like this. There is a WIDE range of "normal".
I was reading fully before I turned 5 but my son is 5 and has NO interest in sounding out words or remembering small sight words at all. He knows his name and his letters and most of their sounds and I think that he is perfectly normal. But even if he were 6 or 7 and where he is now i wouldn't be worried.
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#5 of 14 Old 03-04-2009, 05:57 PM
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I think 4 or 5 is average, though I do remember when I was in Kindergarten that a lot of the kids still couldn't read.

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#6 of 14 Old 03-05-2009, 02:42 PM
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I think between 4 and 7 is a typical age for reading.
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#7 of 14 Old 03-06-2009, 06:35 AM
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even if they collect data and say what age kids read from i dont buy it. that is such a individual thing.

i have a couple of kids in my dd's first grade class who are suffering from this 'average' data (so pardon me if i vent coz those two boys are my v. favourite in the class and its v. unfair how they are being treated?

for instance if you look at a couple of threads going on here about reading into K you will find most kids enter K not reading.

so is age 4 the average? probably not if i go by how many kids enter K without reading.

but that doesnt say anything. everything has to do with individual interest. when they are interested they will take off. one of the little boy who is suffering in first grade and now has a tutor, his brother went thru the same thing. he didnt learn how to read according to grade level till second grade and then he took off and the next year he was in GATE.

so i would say 5 or 6 might be more of an average age.

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#8 of 14 Old 03-06-2009, 02:20 PM
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There's also the question of what everyone considers reading to be. Is it being able to recognize a few words on sight, like "exit," "stop," and so on? Is it being able to sound out three-letter words? Is it being able to string several of those together to be able to read a really basic BOB book (like, "Mat sat on the cat.")? Is it being able to read a basic Dr. Seuss book (like Red Fish, Blue Fish) independently? Is it being able to read a Henry and Mudge-type story? Is it reading an easy chapter book like Magic Treehouse? Is it being able to read a book to find information?

Because people have different ideas about what being able to read means, people will not always be talking about the same thing when they talk about when their children learned to read. I might say my child learned at 4 and mean he could sound out three-letter words, but my neighbor might say her child learned at six, when he could read an easy chapter book.
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#9 of 14 Old 03-06-2009, 02:29 PM
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I agree, it's individual. I knew someone whose 7-year old was barely reading. On the flip side, my 5-year old taught himself to read at age 4, starting with a few words he knew and taking off from there. He would be K-age if he was in school, and he currently reads on a 3rd-4th grade level, according to the books I have him working with.

My 3-year old is taking off, too, sounding things out and getting angry if I tell her what the word is before she asks. She mastered the alphabet about two months ago and has a sight-knowledge of about 20-25 words now. Trying to sound out many more. (She's also excessively independent... at this moment trying to clip her own fingernails... )

I was reading at a 6th-grade level, self-taught, in Kindergarten, which is notably rare (and in fairness, I've always sucked at math ). I haven't had a child who doesn't read early, but I do have one son who doesn't enjoy it as much as the others. He's 11 and would rather play video games (which his dad, unfortunately, allows).

So I guess it depends on the child's interest in reading as well as the parents' working with them (IMO!!).

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#10 of 14 Old 08-24-2012, 08:20 PM
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I think depends on the kids. My son start recognizing word when he was about 3.5 years old. HE starts reading simple book such as Dr Seuss book : Cat in the Hat, Fred and TEd Road Trip, when he was 4 years old. But my daughter she started recognizing words when she was 2 years old. She recognized about 80 to 100 words when she turned two and she was very eager to read on her own. SO It depends on the kids. But the more you read books to them the more they get expose to read. Reading with them as much as  you could. I notice  that Kids that  watch TV less and spending time reading with their parents more likely to read earlier than KIds that watch too much TV. I think generally kids like reading but they can start less interest in reading when tv being introduced too much in the house.

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#11 of 14 Old 08-24-2012, 10:51 PM
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It very much depends on the child's neurologic wiring, on the environment, and the way the two fit together. And of course, as others have pointed out, it depends on what you consider reading, and how early you start saying "beginning to read."


My observation of schooled and unschooled kids suggest that the average age to achieve reasonable fluency (say, being able to Magic Tree House books aloud with mostly-fluent flow) is around age 7.5, with a range of normal variability of about 3-4 years. So it's normal for a few kids to attain fluency at age 3 or 4, and it's normal for a few kids not to learn until age 10 or 11. Perfectly normal bright capable kids. My eldest dd became fluent at 4. Her closest friend became fluent at 10. Both girls ended up graduating at the top of their respective high school classes with copious other talents and marketable skills. Both are considered gifted.


So, not only does it depend: it really doesn't matter. Unless a child made to feel like a failure for being on a later trajectory.



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#12 of 14 Old 08-25-2012, 10:31 AM
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Like everyone else had said, it all depends. There are many factors. For example, most babies are born far-sighted and takes about 6 years for them to normalize. No coincidence this is when, historically, kids started to read. As a society, we've attempted to push that down to preschool/kindergarten with limited success (many more preschoolers/kindies knowing their letters and having some early reading skills due to heavy exposure and instruction but I haven't seen evidence of more truly fluent readers earlier than they would happen in the past.)


Personally, my kids were totally different. My DD started writing sentences phonetically at 3, didn't read a book until after turning 5 but was reading high level novels easily a few weeks of sounding out her first word. My DS started pointing out words at 2, could read any individual word by 4 but struggled to read a full page of text until age 7. One he clicked, he jumped many grade levels in reading ability in 2 languages.


So, to answer your question, 4 is earlier on the spectrum but how it develops from here is still a toss up. Could be she ends up very advanced in reading. Could be she's advanced during K and 1st but once her peers "click" she is more average. Hard to say. Just keep reading to her even though she can read to herself. You can still offer her higher level material to contemplate and enjoy than she could read to herself.

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#13 of 14 Old 08-25-2012, 12:39 PM
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Check out the PBS development tracker. It will give you info on the wide range of development across many areas.
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#14 of 14 Old 08-25-2012, 01:00 PM
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This is a really old thread. 

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