Should I be teaching my 4.5 year old to read? - Mothering Forums
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#1 of 14 Old 11-08-2009, 12:29 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Seems like I often see posts here about 3yr olds or 4 yr olds who can read. My ds is 4.5 and I'm not teaching him to read. He's very smart, and we practice a little with letters and what sounds they make. And he's in preschool, so he gets some practice there. But feel like I don't want to pressure him and push him into reading before he's ready. On the other hand, he could probably do it, and it might be fun for him. Should I be teaching him to read?

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#2 of 14 Old 11-08-2009, 12:37 PM
 
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Your call. I homeschool and did not start systematic instruction with my daughter until she was almost 5. I did start with my 3.7 year old son at that same time and it worked well for both of them. We used Teach Your Child to Read in 100 EZ Lessons. We did not do the entire scripts or the writing part.

Reading is best taught one on one, so I would be hesitant to leave it to the schools.
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#3 of 14 Old 11-08-2009, 02:33 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NicaG View Post
Seems like I often see posts here about 3yr olds or 4 yr olds who can read. My ds is 4.5 and I'm not teaching him to read. He's very smart, and we practice a little with letters and what sounds they make. And he's in preschool, so he gets some practice there. But feel like I don't want to pressure him and push him into reading before he's ready. On the other hand, he could probably do it, and it might be fun for him. Should I be teaching him to read?
Is he showing any signs that he's interested in learning letters and words? Is he making connections that the words on the page represent pictures in his storybooks? Does he try to form letters and words with crayons or paints, rather than draw pictures? Does he recognize his name and try to write it out?

Read to him regularly - every day if you can. Let him explore books on his own too - use board books if you're concerned that he might damage them. Take him to the library regularly. At age 4.5, that's a great start to learn to read.

If he is learning to love books and printed material, he will probably start to learn to read. As he develops his interest, you can encourage and support him.

My children learned to read between the ages of 2 and 3. They were fascinated by letters and words though, and loved books and stories. They wanted to learn how and absorbed a lot of it on their own. Personally, I wouldn't try to help a 4 y.o child to read unless it was self-directed by the child. If you were talking about an 8 or 9 y.o., I might have a different response.
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#4 of 14 Old 11-08-2009, 02:48 PM
 
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I think your best bet is to follow his lead. At this age there's no reason to be pushing reading, but if he's interested then you could spend some time with him on it. And, if you're ok with computer time, you could sit down with him to check out starfall.com which is a fantastic website of games to help kids learn to read.

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#5 of 14 Old 11-08-2009, 03:14 PM
 
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my dd is older than your child. i know better.

my anser

ABSOLUTELY NO!!!!

he is not asking for it. DONT!!!!!

school begins for him in another year or two. life changes. the freedom of childhood is GONE!!!!

dont make his life miserable quite yet.

you know how life moves on. like everything changes when you get out of high school and cross 18. i hadnt realised what a huge jump starting school is. how much children have to do things they dont like doing.

i am sorry but there is sooooo much to life than abcs. forget it. do stuff he loves doing. he aint gonna have this freedom anymore.

my dd didnt learn how to read till she was in first grade. meaning the motivation. she was on par in K. but the love of reading, wanting to do it on her own didnt start till dd was in first grade. i am so glad we didnt spend any of our time learning how to read. enough time to do it in K and first.

also one huge thing i learnt. when they are ready to learn - they pick it up like sponges. overnight. in a few minutes. but if they are not ready it takes a looooooooong time. to me that's not worth it at all.

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#6 of 14 Old 11-08-2009, 04:30 PM
 
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Well I'm going to add now, I don't see how 10 minutes a day of reading instruction using something like 100 Easy Lessons or Ordinary Parent's Guide to Teaching Reading could make a child *miserable* but certainly if it had that effect one should immediately stop.

Certainly I do see how school could be that miserable, having been there myself, which is one of the reasons mine are happy and home schooled. No where in the US do kids have to go to institutional school unless the parents make them go.
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#7 of 14 Old 11-08-2009, 10:47 PM
 
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No way. My 2 children learned to read by the time they were 4, but this is because they taught themselves. It was THEIR choice. There are plenty of other things they cannot do that other children can.

As long as you have the environment for reading (plenty of books around, offer to read to him, writing supplies) then that's enough.

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#8 of 14 Old 11-08-2009, 11:09 PM
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Just make sure that you are reading to him a lot. That's the strongest foundation for reading on his own later.

"Our task is not to see the future, but to enable it."
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#9 of 14 Old 11-08-2009, 11:59 PM
 
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Read to him often. I believe that if a child shows interest then....why not help? My son has known his letters and the sounds they make for about a year now (3 on the 17th of Nov). The thing is....he loves it....he loves practicing printing his letters and numbers, writing his name and trying to make words by putting random letters together....always asking "what does this spell mommy?" So for him I help him sound out words.

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#10 of 14 Old 11-09-2009, 03:01 AM
 
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Do you read to your child regularly? Do have a place where your child can create art, draw pictures and use pencils and crayons? Does your child see you read? Do you have books for grown-ups in the home? Do you have books for children?

If so, you are teaching your child to read. Really. Reading is so much more than just being able to sound out words. It's also learning about why you read and how you read. It's learning about the different forms of print. It's learning that print is meaningful.

If your child is interested and asking to learn to read, then you might think about getting some easy readers (like Bob books).

If not, please let your child play and enjoy books together with you. A child who has a variety of life experiences to refer back to will eventually become a better reader than a child who was stuck in reading lessons at 4. Read 'Einstein Never Used Flashcards" or "Play = Learning" if you need more evidence.

I see the benefit of waiting with my son, who is now 8. He learned to read basic level stuff toward the end of K (but would only do it at school and not at home). He wasn't really fluent until the end of 1st grade. He didn't really take off reading until somewhere in the middle of 2nd grade. But now he's able to read amazing level of things, and when he writes, his teachers are amazed at the vocabulary and detail that he uses. He gained this vocabulary not through rote lessons but simply by doing things with us and talking to us.

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#11 of 14 Old 11-09-2009, 11:56 AM
 
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Both of mine are in different stages of learning to read. DS is almost 7, and in first grade, and can read those "early reader" books with help on some words. He also can print letters and likes to write messages (sometimes I need his help decoding what he wrote as he is still working on spelling ). DD is 4, and loves to "read" books that she has memorized or mostly memorized, or just make up words to go with the pictures, plus being read to. She knows most of her letters, and is starting to point them out in books, and can spell STOP, her name and her brother's name. Still working on letter sounds (they do letter of the week in preschool and she enjoys that), and she will ask me what does xxx word start with, and I tell her. I am pretty well following her lead by reading to her whenever she asks (and every night before bed too), letting her write her name or draw or whatever she wants to do on paper or her whiteboard, pointing out beginning sounds of words and what letter they start with (esp. letter of the week), and I am amazed at what she seems to be picking up. I think too, for her, it helps having a big brother who is learning a lot, and she wants to be like him.

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#12 of 14 Old 11-09-2009, 02:19 PM
 
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At this age your child is already learning to read. He's noticing letters and words. It's very simple but it's enough. That other peoples' kids are reading at 3 or 4 y.o. is irrelevant! Your kid is still normal. My daughter was reading comfortably to herself in typical age-level books, when she was 6 y.o. My son was doing the same when he was ... 7 and a half? They're 14 and 10 y.o. now and are advanced readers.

If he's going to go into the standard public school system he's going to be 'taught' to read. I don't think you need to give him reading 'lessons'. But like others said you can support and encourage his natural interest, pointing out street signs and reading cereal boxes and the like.

And the very best way to help him learn to read is to read to him. Every day, always at a level that's a little harder than he can read to himself.

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#13 of 14 Old 11-09-2009, 03:04 PM
 
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I agree w/ PP. Read to him. Point out common words (stop, go, names, etc), label things verbally, have a wide selection of books available. Talk to him.

'Formal' lessons may be frustrating--many kids pick up basic skills through play and interactions at this age. If he asks what words are what, for you to help him read, etc go for it--but if he is just enjoying exploring words/letters let him enjoy that too!

Both my 4 yr olds are reading---on different levels. That is what is 'right' for them at this age. They each are learning to read at different rates and in different ways (one has more sight words and the other knows more phonics). They both want to read and are going about it in a wonderful informal, book saturated environment. They will get 'formal' instruction in school to fill in the gaps of what they arent picking up now. At 4 , it should be fun and child focused!
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#14 of 14 Old 11-09-2009, 03:16 PM
 
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DS1 (now 9) started at 4, he couldn't STAND that other people knew what things said and he didn't. DD (now 7) and DS2 (now 6) have been working together over the past 2 years. DD didn't like anyone telling her what a letter said.....she would argue that I was wrong on.every.single.letter. Pushing her would have been useless. DS2 can't stand to be left out so he worked alongside DD.

We used Phonics Pathways for all and it's worked awesome.

I would try gently - if it's exciting when he recognizes sounds and short words then keep going. If it's a fight then wait a while.

The worst thing you can do is force him to read, he will never enjoy reading. My kids #1 favorite activity is reading and I believe it is because I gently guided them into reading when each one was ready.
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