advantage/disadvantage of early academic skills ?! - Mothering Forums

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Old 01-24-2010, 08:18 AM - Thread Starter
 
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hello!

i have ongoing discussions with my boyfriend about the need of academic skills for toddlers. our dd is turning 4 yrs. in february and he thinks that dd NEEDS to learn how to read (and in that matter how to write also).

i see things more holistically. if there is a great interest from the child i would offer learning how to read - but it has to be on a fun-level, without any pressure.

what do you think: is 4 years old a good age to start to read or is it unnessecary?

Me with the wonder of my life (2/06) * : * : * * * ...surfin' together on the wave of life : ...
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Old 01-24-2010, 11:15 AM
 
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I say, don't push. Kids that age learn through play. If she shows interest in early literacy, great, but if she's not, let her learn by make-believe and play-acting, by painting and doing puzzles and building with blocks. Also, in terms of building a foundation for literacy, I feel that you're doing much more for her if you're reading books and discussing them and using them to make connections to life and to other books you've read, movies you've seen, etc.

Disclosure: my DD (4.5) is reading, but she's kind of done it on herself without any pushing or really any instruction from us. I'm definitely following her lead. I'll tell you, though, that she was interested in writing way before she showed interest in reading (like, 2 years before). She likes to write letters on her drawings and has been asking for a while for me to write down words so she can copy them.

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Old 01-24-2010, 11:55 AM
 
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My DH was also very big on our DD learning stuff as early as possible. However, we "exposed" her to it, but never pushed it and did it in a playful manner and she just picked stuff up at her own pace, with both reading and writing. For us, 4yo was a good age because DD's own interest in both reading and writing started to develop at that age. I tried to make it as fun as possible, but she took a liking to worksheets so she also does a lot of "formal" learning. Again, that is her choice - she asks to me to print them up for her all the time - and I would never give her a 50-page workbook at this age (or any age!) but she loves them and they seem to "work" for her style of learning, so we go with it.

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Old 01-24-2010, 12:08 PM
 
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Neither of my kids were interested in reading or writing at that age. We homeschooled in a relaxed way for a long time, and one DD started reading at 7 and the other one at 8.

When they eventually started school at ages 10 and 12, they were top readers. The one who started school at age 12 aced the reading placement test they gave her and tested at grade level 12.9 for reading (which is as high as the test went). The other one didn't test quite that high at the start, but a year later at age 11 achieved the same score.

There's nothing wrong with a 4 year old reading if they want to, but I don't see how it gives them an advantage long term. The most important thing at that age is to foster a love for the written word. So if reading a book to themselves does that for them, GREAT. If curling up on mommy's lap and being read to does that for them, GREAT!

but everything has pros and cons  shrug.gif

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Old 01-24-2010, 02:27 PM
 
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Learning how to read or write is not just a matter of formal instruction and workbook pages. I'd explain to your boyfriend that when he reads DD her favorite book, he is helping her learn to read, or when they draw or paint pictures together, he is helping her learn to write. At 4, I personally don't see the advantage of offering formal reading or writing instruction to a child unless they are specifically asking for it. But, creating a home environment that fosters learning - and a love of learning and the printed word - is something that can begin at birth.
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Old 01-24-2010, 02:39 PM
 
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Originally Posted by whooopsy View Post
hello!

what do you think: is 4 years old a good age to start to read or is it unnessecary?
4 years is a good age to start to read - if the 4 y.o is ready and enjoys reading and is interested in reading.

2 years is a good age to start to read - if the 2 y.o. is ready and enjoys reading and is interested in reading.

Consider, too, what you mean by "start to read". Being surrounded by print and making reading together a daily habit is a good start. Our family has a love of books and printed material. We have stacks of books in every room, we get 2 daily newspapers, we subscribe to lots of magazines, we visit the bookstore often, the library is a favourite place. When they were small, they pointed out letters on store windows and street signs, and played the alphabet game with license plates and road signs while we were driving...Reading was a fairly natural evolution. It wasn't really necessary to use formal reading drills, flash cards, worksheets etc. - if that is what you mean by "start to read".
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Old 01-24-2010, 04:19 PM - Thread Starter
 
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thank you!

i should have explained a bit more: dd IS interested in books, reading and writing. we have been reading stories to her since birth. she also loves to listen to cd-stories.

basically she is intelligent, but i cannot see a specific "talent" that HAS to be forced. she tries to write her name sometimes (i write it for her so she can "copy" it) and she recognizes certain numbers and letters when we see them somewhere.

now my boyfriend bought one of these expensive learning-tools to teach your toddler how to read. which puts a certain "pressure" on us to use it! i told him we can just try it, but if dd doesnt "progress" the way he expects it, i want to stop!

the story behind all this is that his mother taught him how to read/write at age 4 and that gave him a lot of self-convidence. he predicts that dd will gain lots of self-convidence by that too (so she can help other kids in school - that is his imagination -- and because she is quiet small and thin he thinks this will help her to find her place in school). its all theoretical at present.

i just wanted to know your opinions on this. we will certainly try it out, but as i said, without pressure!

Me with the wonder of my life (2/06) * : * : * * * ...surfin' together on the wave of life : ...
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Old 01-24-2010, 04:33 PM
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Originally Posted by whooopsy View Post
the story behind all this is that his mother taught him how to read/write at age 4 and that gave him a lot of self-convidence. he predicts that dd will gain lots of self-convidence by that too (so she can help other kids in school - that is his imagination -- and because she is quiet small and thin he thinks this will help her to find her place in school). its all theoretical at present.
My 4yo is an early reader-- he learned to read at 3 and reads at a 2nd grade level now. However, none of the other kids in his preschool read and he very rarely reads at school. I think he's actually embarrassed about being different. I think in kindergarten when they are really encouraged to read and other kids are reading, he'll be confident about his skills, but for now it's just a quirk of his.

My 7yo didn't learn to read until 6 and he is reading at grade level now. I don't think he suffered not being able to read at 4 or 5. I actually wish my 4yo *wasn't* able to read quite so much as he likes to read over my shoulder when I'm on the computer.
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Old 01-24-2010, 04:47 PM
 
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Essentially, a child won't read until they are cognitively ready to read. You can HELP a child learn how to read, but you can't force-teach a child to read. So, when they are ready, they'll show you they are ready. For some, that is earlier, for some, later. Best of luck in this! It's tough to feel pressure from a partner. Your child will lead you in the right direction.
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Old 01-24-2010, 05:20 PM
 
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I think it's lovely that her dad is so caring, but I do think a formal program is probably misguided, at 4. However, there's no harm in trying it and seeing if she herself likes it.

~ Mum to Emily, March 12-16 2004, Noah, born Aug 2005, Liam, born January 2011, and wife to Carl since 1994. ~
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Old 01-24-2010, 07:37 PM
 
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i have a story for you.

my dd is my only.

when she was 9 months old everyone was aghast that my dd didnt know how to point to her nose. as a new mom i was mortified. i spent a month or two trying to teach her to do that. she wasnt interested. then one day she did it. and then went on to ask about other parts and by the end of 3 months she knew over 50 parts of the body. me HUGE lesson learnt. let her be. when she is ready she will just fly thru her stuff. that has been true even with reading. she went from reading dr seuss to eragon in one month in first grade. all on her own without me goading her.

self interest is HUGE. you can teach them anything if they are interested. but you can make their life MISERABLE trying to force something they are not comfortable at.

you know using the crutch of academics to make you feel better is a bad one imho.

i think more important than academics is handling bullies. and yes you can help your child early. THAT was a much better self confidence bulding skill than reading and writing. it will serve her her whole life as she will always face bullies whether she likes it or not. everywhere. some she might have control over, some maybe not like a boss.

to have that 'spunk', to have that inner strength and not let others get to you.

however let someone bullies any of dd's friends, SHE loses it - even if her friend ignores it.

children are happy not to be reading in second grade. its us who makes them feel little and something is wrong with them. and thats what others pick up too and tease the slow learners.

my dd at 7 still cant ride her bike without training wheels. if she is teased about it she turns around and tells the other kid 'well i can skip a hundred without tripping. can you?' instead of getting all whacked out. to me that's a better way of getting her confidence up than academics.

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Old 01-24-2010, 08:46 PM
 
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I bought "Hooked on Phonics" but ds would have none of that; he would watch the Leap Frog DVDs though. We also had the BOB books laying around but ds wouldn't try reading those until he felt like it (at 4.5).

The HoP had cards and games which would be good if the child is actually interested...otherwise it's expensive confetti .

I was slow to read (though my parents did read to me and were readers) so it was a concern of mine with ds.

"It should be a rule in all prophylactic work that no harm should ever be unnecessarily inflicted on a healthy person (Sir Graham Wilson, The Hazards of Immunization, 1967)."
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Old 01-24-2010, 10:12 PM
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My older Ds had no interest what so ever in reading before he started in K, and even then it was hit and miss.
Ds #2 ad Dd however were both desperate to learn at 4. So I let them, I provided Hooked on phonics and then early reader books and they took off like a house on fire. Both hated to draw, color and write, but wanted to read. Ds#1 on the other hand loved to draw and color from age 2 and could write his name before age 3, but reading apart from letter recognition was of no interest to him.
We let Dd play online at www.starfall.com and that was great fun for her along with the hooked on phonics, and this month she is reading to me.
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Old 01-24-2010, 10:18 PM
 
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Out of my 4 children, one learned to read (on her own) at age 4, one at age 6, one in 3rd grade, and the last one wasn't reading fluently until 5th grade. But the first 3 were all at the same place in reading by middle school and the 4th one is rapidly getting there. He would be but reading fictiion isn't his first choice for an activity. So from my experience, kids learn to read when they learn to read and how early isn't all that important in the long run. And can actually be harmful if pursued ala Rick Moranis in Parenthood.

Chris--extended breastfeeding, cloth diapering, babywearing, co-sleeping, APing, CLW, homeschooling before any of this was a trend mom to Joy (1/78), Erica (8/80), Angela (9/84), Dylan (2/98)
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Old 01-25-2010, 12:14 AM
 
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A lot of those learn to read games/toys are quite fun. I wouldn't worry about her playing with it. If she happens to be ready to learn to read, then maybe it will help. If she isn't really ready yet, then she can just have a good time playing with it. I wouldn't take it away just b/c she doesn't learn to read from it right away though, just let her enjoy it, no pressure either way.

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Old 01-25-2010, 01:33 AM
 
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You may be interested in this:
"Review backs later formal lessons"
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/e...on/8309153.stm

I think there is an underlying fear for many that if a child doesn't master certain skills early that they will always be behind - and this just isn't true.

Laura - Mom to ds (10) and dd (7) "Time stands still best in moments that look suspiciously like ordinary life." Brian Andreas.

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Old 01-25-2010, 03:17 AM
 
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I think kids have an amazing interest and ability to learn. However, I think they need to be able to do it in their own time, when they are interested in doing it. I believe in giving my children the tools to learn anything they might want to learn and watching them and presenting more tools if they show an interest.

I have a young 5 year old (will be in K next year). He goes through phases where he wants to work on his reading, and then phases where he is obsessed with all things math, and then phases where he is most interested in imaginative play, etc. When he shows in interest in something, I remind him of this toy or that one that relates to what he's really enjoying right now. One week he was obsessed with the solar system, so I showed him his solar system book and model and we spent the afternoon hanging the planets from the ceiling in his room.

If your daughter wants to learn to read you can start helping her. If she reads now, that's great. If she reads later, that's also great. It really doesn't matter.

Mom to a 6 year old, a 3 year old, and a cuddly little newborn
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