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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have a 3 year old daughter who only recognizes about 30% of the alphabet. She can say the alphabet but has difficulties with the letters. I think she should be able to remember all of them by now. We have been working on them for a while. I don't want to push too much if she is just not able to do it. Although, I must admit that I think she is just fooling with me sometimes. For instance, she will tell me a letter and two minutes later she will tell me she doesn’t know the same letter.<br><br>
Does any one have recommendations on where I can find age specific information on this?<br><br>
Thanks.
 

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Personally, I would probably walk away from it for awhile. Or, I would use a more holistic approach and not quiz her on the letters.<br>
check out<br>
letteroftheday.com
 

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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>RainyDaze</strong></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">Does any one have recommendations on where I can find age specific information on this?</div>
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I'd back off. Continue to read alphabet books along with your others, maybe hold her hand and show her how to trace the letters with her finger while reading, but don't convey any expectations to her. Play with letter magnets. Read, read, read. Play rhyming games. Read. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/smile.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="smile"> Occasionally run you fingers under words as you read. Vocabulary development at this age is probably the most important of the early literacy skills and that's where the reading comes in.<br><br>
Knowing the alphabet song has little relationship (other than the obvious) to assigning letter names to symbols. Some kids do learn early -- and three would be considered early -- but trying to formally teach a kid that isn't ready could backfire: She could develop an aversion to reading for example.<br><br>
As far as her "playing" with you. I'd choose to take her at face value. You don't know on what basis she's identifying letters, what cues, how long her retention is. How much she doesn't want to be wrong or disappoint you.
 

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Yup. I would not worry. She is still very young in my opinion.
 

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<table border="0" cellpadding="6" cellspacing="0" width="99%"><tr><td class="alt2" style="border:1px inset;">
<div>Originally Posted by <strong>RainyDaze</strong></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">I think she should be able to remember all of them by now.</div>
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Why?<br><br>
I don't mean this to sound snarky, so please understand that, but what makes you think that a three year old "should" be able to remember this? Is this something specific you know about your particular child or are you thinking that all 3 year olds have this capacity? Just wondering what this is based on.
 

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Wow! Three is awfully young to me. None of mine could recognize letters at that age, and all three of my older ones now read WAY above their grade levels. I'd just let it be. She's young for too much structure in her "school" day, as far as I'm concerned.
 

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Where to find age-specific info on these types of things:<br><br><a href="http://www.nifl.gov/partnershipforreading/publications/html/parent_guides/birth_to_pre.html" target="_blank">Partnership for Reading</a><br><br>
Click on the link that says "What children should be able to do by age 3". You'll note that it says "<i>May</i> begin paying attention to print such as letters in names" (emphasis mine).<br><br>
Also, from the <a href="http://www.ncrel.org/sdrs/areas/issues/students/earlycld/ea1lk1-1.htm" target="_blank">Pathways</a> website (Pathways to school improvement):<br><br>
"It is possible to drill children until they can correctly recite pieces of information, such as the alphabet or the numerals from 1 to 20. However, children's responses to rote tasks do not reflect real understanding of the information. For children to understand fully and remember what the have learned -- whether it is related to reading, mathematics, or other subject matter areas -- the information must be meaningful to the child in context of the child's experience and development."<br><br>
I take this to say that a 3yo maybe can rattle off the alphabet, but typically has no real understanding of what she's doing, what the alphabet is, why it's important, that there's any sort of correlation between phonemes and the names of letters, or even what "print" is. It's sort of on the same level as teaching an animal a trick. At 3yo my dd could recite prayers in Latin (this came about accidentally, but impressed the socks off of the relatives). She had NO concept what she was saying, and if I asked her to do it now she'd probably have no memory of it. There was no context for her to integrate this info.<br><br>
There will always be exceptions -- some kids will read at age 3. And, if your dd is enjoying the alphabet games you don't necessarily have to stop.
 

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Pushing alphabet recognition and number recognition at too young an age (and 3 is definitely young) has the potential for turning a child off to reading. If it were me, I'd encourage and respond to any interest the child shows in learning these things, but if the child isn't interested, I'd back off. A child that is truly ready can learn the alphabet very quickly, if motivated. There is no need to push it so young.<br><br>
If you really want to cultivate a readiness to read and an interest in reading, your best strategy is to read lots of good books together, and discuss them. Talk about what happens in the book, and talk about the parallels between the books and your child's own experiences. Let your child see you making your own reading a priority. Have lots of conversations on all kinds of subjects. Build your child's oral language skills and vocabulary in a fun way, and reading will come in its time.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Thank you for the feedback. I do read lots of books to her and she loves them. I only have my nieces to base my expectations on. They recognized the letters by age three so I assumed most kids did. I will back off since it sounds like that isn’t the norm. Also, thanks for the links. I will go over them.
 

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My dd knew the alphabet mostly by age 3 but we weren't drilling or pushing her to learn it. I wouldn't be worried about a 3 year old who didn't remember all the alphabet all the time.<br>
My dd really liked it when I read alphabet books to her. She would find letters in the books we read or on signs rather than reciting them from memory. I would play an I Spy game where I asked her to find certain letters or numbers in our surroundings.<br>
I'd advise doing things that are more like games than drills if you do anything.<br><a href="http://www.education-world.com/a_books/books157.shtml" target="_blank">http://www.education-world.com/a_books/books157.shtml</a>
 

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Kim, how could you post that link! I can't afford to buy any more books, and you go and link to some I really really want. Gees. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/shake.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="shake">
 

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My 5 year old is extremely smart but has no intrest in the alphabet and can't tell you what most of the letters mean. I knwo, based on past experiances, that when she is ready she wil spit them out quite effortlessly with a couple of hours of practice.<br><br>
My 2 1/2 year old hasn't got a cluel. She can't even say her name much less recognize the letters in it.<br><br>
I htink at three you have niothign to worry about and pushing her may just set up friction and make her hate reading. there is no need for a 3 year old to be able to read and starting in another year or three wil not hold her back.
 

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In my experience working with kids as an SLP, most kids seemed to pick up the alphabet between 5 and 6. This goes against what the California public schools currently expect of 5 year olds - which is to be able to read and write short sentences (at least two) by the end of kindergarten! <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/yikes.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="EEK!"> But then, when have educational decisions ever really been made based on how children actually develop? <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/img/vbsmilies/smilies/eyesroll.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="roll"> .<br><br>
My son learned the alphabet and could recognize and name all the letters at about 2 or 3, knew and was able to tell you all the phonetic sounds for letters and many letter combinations at 5. He could even blend sounds to make words (i.e. th + e + n = "then"), but didn't really read until 8 years old. Now, at 10, he reads way above his age level. I thought he was going to be an early reader, but I was wrong. And it hasn't made one bit of difference in the long run. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/smile.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="smile"><br><br>
My dd learned to recognize all the letters of the alphabet at about 5 1/2 - after 6 months of all day private kindergarten. She's been homeschooling a year now, and at 8 1/2 can read beginning chapter books (Junie B. Jones, Andrew Lost, etc.), but rarely chooses to.<br><br><br>
Laura <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/smile.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="smile">
 

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My just turned 5 yo does not know all of her letters either. She knows a lot of them and some of the sounds they make. There is really no reason to push it. My 7 yo knew all her letters at 2 because she was super interested and just loved doing her ABC puzzle. She's just now starting to read at 7.5 so knowing her ABC's at 2 didn't help her to read at a younger age. I've found when you wait until they are ready things come some much easier.
 

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My daughter knew all the letters when she was 2. Some of her friends did, too. Many didn't. Many of her friends who are now three, like she is, don't know them. I think some 2, 3, 4, and 5 year olds CAN remember all the letters of the alphabet. I think some CAN'T yet (or don't want to). And I don't think it matters at all. I don't think it will have any impact on her future ability to read and be successful. I don't think my daughter really benefits from knowing the letters of the alphabet. It's something that she just took an interest in.<br><br>
Your comment about your daughter knowing a letter and then a few minutes later claiming she doesn't know it caught my attention. My daughter does this, too. She is into learning to count right now, and she asks me for number matching games and counting games. We play them for a while, and then she starts pretending that she doesn't know how many two is or what the numeral 3 is, for example. I know she's pretending because she has that "pretending" look and giggle about her. I also know that when she does this it's time to close up shop because her attention span has waned.<br><br>
Maybe you should back off for a while. Your daughter will let you know when she's truly ready and truly wants to learn the letters.<br><br>
Namaste!
 

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At early 3, my daughter had no interest in letters, other than she could recognize the letters together that formed her name.<br><br>
By 4 (just turned this past April), she knows the entire alphabet by recognition, and memory etc. We never pushed it, just left her to learn as she needed/wanted to.<br><br>
I'm still amazed by the difference in her level of knowledge over the last 12 months, it's astonishing all the things she's learned, none of which were pushed on her, or expected of her.<br><br>
Honestly, I think if your child knows you 'expect' something of them like that, it'll just defeat the purpose. She may sense you getting frustrated, and that might make things harder for HER.<br><br>
My advice, stop paying attention to what your nieces did and when, and pay attention to your daughter's SINGULAR identity. She's her own person and will do things in her own time.
 

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I just want to offer that it is really easy to get caught up in reading/alphabet stuff, and I used to stress it a bit. I was an early reader, and I was always looking for signs of interest/aptitude in dd. In the past year, however, I've had an epiphany that has brought me much comfort.<br><br>
My dd is now 4, and absolutely LOVES books. I mean loves them. She would choose a book over almost anything else as her favorite thing. She now knows the alphabet (well, most of it), how to write the letters and their sounds, but that was all self-directed. When she was younger, she absolutely *refused* to engage in any "instruction" about letters--to the point of refusing to let me read alphabet books to her! :LOL <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/img/vbsmilies/smilies/eyesroll.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="roll"> Yeah, she's pretty strong-minded.<br><br>
Anyway, my epiphany was this: the child loves books. She will read, and--if I don't push her--she will LOVE to read. If I push her, however, she might not love to read. I might ruin it for her.<br><br>
So my singular goal now is to foster her love of books and follow her lead. I will not analyze, wonder, or worry. I will enjoy books with her, and trust her let me know if she wants some help decoding all those words <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/thumb.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="thumbs up">
 

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I wanted to comment on the whole knowing it one day and then not the next. My dd does this. It turned out she had Sensroy Intergration Disfunction. It was in there but wouldn't come out. math is still a struggle for us (she is 8 1/2) Anyway somehting to be aware of and keep an eye on.
 

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<span style="font-family:'Comic Sans MS';">If you want learning that is <i>real</i> and deep, then the subject <span style="text-decoration:underline;">must</span> be something that is <span style="text-decoration:underline;">meaningful</span> to the child.<br>
Memorizing and recognizing letters to please mom holds no meaning whatsoever to a child.<br>
When it becomes important for her to know her letters, she will. First it may be that she recognizes her name, then she wants to write her name, then maybe a family member's name. Little by little it will come to her (and stay with her) because it <i>means</i> something to her.</span>
 

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If something isn't sticking, it's because the place that it's supposed to stick isn't there yet. Sometimes that's a motivation issue (and pushing a child to learn it anyway is only going to increase motivation difficulties) but more often it's a developmental thing.<br><br>
My eldest dd knew all her letters, upper and lower case, by age 24 months. Her closest friend figured them out at age 6. Now, at age 10/11, the two girls are both bright and astute, and they share the same novels back and forth with great enjoyment and excellent comprehension. Different kids are just wired differently. The friend's mom had the wisdom to recognize that her dd needed to spend the 'preschool years' focusing on non-academic things, since she clearly wasn't ready for the academic stuff. That girl is now socially extremely adept, is a wonderful violinist, pianist, gymnast, cook, gardener and textile artist. And she's now an excellent reader too.<br><br>
Let it go until your dd begins expressing interest and enthusiasm for letter recognition. Then you'll know she's ready.<br><br>
Miranda
 
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