Mothering Forum banner

3 yo and "reading"

599 Views 13 Replies 12 Participants Last post by  One_Girl
My just turned 3 yo has some rather peculiar habits when it comes to reading and honestly they are quite annoying and lead to us not reading to her as much as we probably should (we do read to her daily).
She generally does one of two things when it is time to read stories -
1. only wants to read books she has memorized and she reads them to us (she has memorized about a dozen books)
2. Look at other books but DH and I are not allowed to read the words, only to look at the pictures, sometimes we can ad-lib about what is happening on the page.

Also, she insists on holding the book and turning the pages and she frequently holds the book on her lap facing out towards us (sort of like how a librarian holds a book when reading to a group of kids), she can't even see the book when she holds it like this!

Needless to say storytime is very boring for the adults involved! We have gotten into power struggles with her about who holds the book and whether or not we can read the words. We end up giving in to her because I do want her to read and like books. We have tried taking turns and that doesn't work either. She won't just sit with a stack of books and read by herself either.
Any other kids out there like this? Advice?
1 - 14 of 14 Posts
I really doubt taking a break from reading will have any effect on her learning to read or not liking it. Very likely it will benefit those things. Kids seem to learn in a sort of cyclical way, not straight forward linear progression. There are many times when they seem to plateau while things percolate. Then they come back after a long break and seem to make sudden strides in understanding a concept. "Reading" things by memory is one way many kids learn to read.

Personally, I'd just not read unless dc asked me to, for a while. You could get audio stories or you could try suggestion she read to her dolls or stuffed animals.
I remember my seven-year old doing that when he was 3-ish. Three is such a big age for them wanting "control" of whatever (reading the book, going up the stairs, picking out clothes, etc...). I know it didn't last that long. He eventually got tired of "reading" to us and wanted to hear new stories again. Now he's an amazing reader. Hang in there!

Originally Posted by snoopy5386 View Post
Needless to say storytime is very boring for the adults involved!
It's not for your benefit. It's for your DDs benefit. Are you sure she's not actually reading? I mean, does she turn the page and recite something that isn't on that page? I used to write words for DD when I wasn't sure if she was reading. Sure enough, she knew the words. People are often in disbelief that their kids can read a that age.
See less See more
I'm sure she is not actually reading, frequently the book is facing away from her when she is saying the words. We pretty much only read at naptime and bedtime and I would like to encourage it more, but not when it becomes a power struggle you know? She has been like this off and on for probably 9 months or so....I can't wait until she is actually interested in hearing stories and we can really read together.
can you just watch her face and her whole body movement as she is doing this. and just get a different enjoyment from just observing your child enjoying 'reading'.

*sigh* all the things we parents have to 'put up with'. but they were never boring or sad for me. coz it was a time for me to take a step back and watch my dd go. it was so beautiful. maybe you can take a different perspective.

or maybe i am nostalgic because my dd is a bookworm these days and i miss the reading time we had together. its evolved to something different, still different. but i miss that little tush all settled with her book.
I think it's cool! Don't worry, this will NOT last. She will be reading or you will be reading, if a book is out, soon enough. But for now, she is up to something meaningful for her, involving books. Probably she is entranced with the idea of reading, herself, and wants to be the one doing it, not you. Fantastic!!! Don't fight her on that!

Don't forget, it is not about her hearing the content of this or that particular story. Its about a life-long love of books and reading. Sounds like she is well on her way ... just don't give her the feeling she is not supposed to be the reader, you are.

Have fun with her!
thanks, we do love to hear her "read" her stories, it is beyond cute to hear her reciting the stories and she learns them so fast! If it is one she interested in she can have it memorized after hearing it only 2-3 times.
It is mostly the other times - the just sitting there looking at pictures that is boring. I have a hard time just sitting there with her while she flips the pages, my mind is racing with all of the other stuff I could be doing. Just her sitting there flipping pages isn't a very interactive activity, but if I get up to do something else, she stops reading too.
There is only so many times I can ad-lib "it is baby elmo and his mommy, baby cookie monster and his grandma, etc" instead of actually reading the story. It is also at a stressful time of day - nap and bedtime, so we tend to try and rush her through to get to the sleeping part!
I will try and take a step back and "be zen" with it.
Being zen with it is a great idea. Don't get into the power struggle with her in the first place and follow her lead. As others have said she will eventually get to the point where she wants to hear the story. Three is still really young for sitting through a book without being involved in some way. If you refuse to be frustrated by her and enjoy whatever way she wants to read it will be more enjoyable for everyone involved.

Sounds like she has an incredible sense of what she likes and is not afraid to be in charge. That's great! (I'm sure it can be a hand full but great nonetheless)

Maybe start reading a little earlier so you aren't feeling rushed to the sleeping part. For my very active son we have to have enough reading time for him to settle down so he can sleep. If we rush it he spends even more time trying to fall asleep, seems to take longer if he doesn't have enough reading time.

Best wishes.
"Reading" is not about starting on the first word on the first page and always ending on the last word on the last page. It is so much more. And sometimes so much less! Enjoy.

Why not just look at the pictures sometimes and point and discuss things? I'd say be flexible about it. I have a 2 yo and a 4 yo and we mix. Some books we literally read all the words, some books we read one or two lines from a page but stop when one of our DCs is bored or wants to discuss something or wants to flip the page.... Sometimes we skim and make up our own words, some books we just look at pictures. And often we start with one scenario (like reading all the words) and then end up someplace else (skipping the book entirely, or DS "reading" it or talking about the letters.....).
Does she go to story time at the library? It sounds like she is imitating the librarian at my son's story time. She holds the book facing out and doesn't always read all the words for the younger set. She kind of ad-libs to make the book shorter and hold everyone's attention. It sounds like you may be parenting a future librarian or preschool teacher!

And about it being boring, you know, it's also kind of boring to read picture books even when your child lets you read all the words. It's never a real thrill for me to read "I'm a Great Big Monster Truck" or whatever my 4 yo picks out at night!
I think all kids like repetition. I've read all the "I'm a Great Big ___ Truck" many, many times.
See less See more
Do you frequently switch library books? Maybe if they're books that she picked that she hasn't memorized she'll have more interest.
Otherwise, I'll ditto the mom who suggested trying to look at it from a positive perspective. She's ovbiously interested in books and reading--that's great! It means that whatever she is doing is good for her. So I would just go with the flow and take her lead. You are just there are being present with her as she learns, and that is anything but wasted time!
Is she willing to tell *you* about the pictures? Or even every other one so you don't have to have the monotony of "it's a cat, it's a tree..."?

How does she react to silly answers? Picture of a cat and you say "it's a dog!" and she corrects you?

Or tell about the picture in different ways? "it's two eyes, a nose, a mouth, some fur, four legs, oh, and a tail!, and some whiskers"

If she's willing to hold the book, could you fold laundry or knit or something?
Encourage her to do this, it is a pre-reading skill that really helps create a lover of reading. I find many of the things I do as a parent very tedious, I am not actually all that interested in the stories that she tells for hours without making sense, I don't enjoy playing dolls, and I would rather stay home and read than go to the park and spend hours in nature. But I do these things for her and with her because I love her and want her to have experiences that I think will help her to be a well rounded and happy person. Life will get more interesting as she ages and her stories will to, but for now let her do what she is happy doing and put on a happy smile. The more you smile the happier you may get, and if not at least you can reassure yourself that this will end someday.
1 - 14 of 14 Posts
This is an older thread, you may not receive a response, and could be reviving an old thread. Please consider creating a new thread.