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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
DD (turned 3 in January) has known phonics and letters and recognized a number of simple sight words since she was less than two, but that's where it sat for a long time. Recently, however, I've noticed that she's getting more engaged with the idea of reading. She's been asking me which words say what on the page, and making guesses. Yesterday she picked the word "chicks" out of a page of dense, small print in a field guide and said, "This says sticks." When I told her it said "chicks," she said, "But sticks starts with...stuh...stuh...chuh...chuh...oh, chicks." She also correctly pointed to each word on a page of a simple, large-print book (the sentence was something like "Spot goes to get the eggs") while she "read" it to herself (I'm sure she's memorized it, but still). I've never really done this with her, so that was interesting. She also has been asking us how to spell things, and wants us to write words down for her so she can see them. She can tell us what letter words start with, knows which way words "go" on the page, and understands rhyme. I think I've read that these are reading-readiness signs.<br><br>
However, she hasn't actually asked us to teach her to read.<br><br>
Would you do some more formal work with your child at this point?<br><br>
If so, what would you suggest? I work FT, so there isn't a ton of time for this.<br><br>
Or would you wait for it to unfold? I don't see that she's frustrated about not reading.
 

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My answer is heavily influenced by the fact that my kids strenuously resist overt instruction and that my oldest has his own (VS?) way of learning to read that conflicts with conventional instruction. So, what we've done is to simply answer questions and follow his lead. I've attempted, on various occasions, to step in and give him a mini-lesson. But if he doesn't resist it, it usually appears that it doesn't mesh with how he's figuring it out. He's figuring out how to read in his own way, again, possibly heavily influenced by his overwhelmingly visual-spatial learning style. For him, this has worked. He couldn't really explain the "silent e" rule very well but he can correctly read words that comply with and violate that rule. He sort of infers phonetic things after the fact, which is how I learned to read. The other day, he worked out "vertebra of spine". <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/img/vbsmilies/smilies/dizzy.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="Dizzy">: It doesn't seem like gifted reading, but I know it's advanced to a degree.<br><br>
I think that you should just follow her lead and if she enjoys when you explain stuff to her, continue to do so. If she reads "chicks", maybe she would be receptive to you saying, "Yeah, c and h make a "ch" sound, like "chocolate". If you're wondering about giving more formal instruction, I'm sure others here will have good advice. For my son, it was just incredibly tedious and he hates piece-meal stuff. It was the same for me in school. I'm only MG but I learned to read before we were taught phonics. So, when they made us do phonics, it was mind-numbingly boring and the piece-meal style was too slow, tbh. I failed so many phonics quizzes for non-compliance. Anyway, I would say to try whatever you like, but be aware that it might be too slow or lock-step for her brain. And I also wanted to say that if go the route of just answering questions, that she will still learn to read well. I think what you posted about her reading skills, given her age, is incredible. It sounds like she's well on the way. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/smile.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="smile">
 

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It sounds like you already *are* helping her learn to read, by answering her questions, writing words for her, and correcting her mistakes. If I were in your place, I wouldn't take the extra step to introduce a formal program - her current methods of learning are already working great, so why mess with what works?<br><br>
My daughter just turned two, and has recently started asking me to "show the words, Mama!" when I read to her. When she asks me to, I use my finger to show where I am in the text - not pointing to individual words, but running my finger smoothly along. I don't like to do it - it interferes with the flow of my reading, and I feel like I shouldn't make on-the-fly word substitutions if I'm pointing to the words - but I'm willing to go along with what she wants.<br><br>
I don't have any kind of formal intention to teach her to read, but I am clear on the fact that a lot of the things we do and play promote reading. When I read to her, for example, I'll often pause and let her fill in a word or line. This definitely facilitates the development of reading skills, but that's not really why I'm doing it - I'm doing it because she LOVES to recite.<br><br>
She has begun talking about what letters words start with, and because she enjoys it I will sometimes initiate those conversations. We often play "letter searchers" when she is bored in the grocery store - I'll give her a package and have her hunt for a specific letter. She loves this game.<br><br>
She's been making me write things for her since she was about 15 months old. First it was letters, and now for a long time it's been the names of all of our family and friends. She likes to sit at my computer and have me help her type people's names - she can do her own name independently, but for other names she needs me to tell her which letters to type. Then she finds them on the keyboard. I try to limit this game, though, because I am not a big fan of toddlers and preschoolers using computers.<br><br>
So yeah, if she reads at 3 (or 4, or 5...) it won't be "out of the blue." It will be facilitated by a bunch of parent-child stuff that came before. But even so, I don't think of what I'm doing as "teaching her to read," because I don't have any kind of structured plan or timetable.
 

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Since it's an activity she enjoys, I would help her along.<br><br><a href="http://www.starfall.com" target="_blank">www.starfall.com</a> is free and enjoyable.<br><br>
Also, we used Teach Your Child to Read in 100 EZ lessons when dd1 was 3 (she had a phonics background similar to your child). This went over very well. Dd1 is now 4 and reading at a third-grade level.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Thanks for the replies. Yes, I have been wondering if we ought to try 100 Easy Lessons or the Bob books or something, or explicitly talk to her a bit more about how it all works. I'm a little nervous because reading is obviously complex, and there seem to be so many ideas about how to teach it, how not to teach it, etc etc. For some reason, I feel like I'm going to "mess it up" just doing it however she leads. That sounds dumb now that I've written it out. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/lol.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="lol"> But she's easily frustrated and quick to give up, and I don't want to end up turning her off to this somehow.
 

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My DS is also easily frustrated and gives up quickly if it does not come easy. But he reallllly wanted to know how to read. He would have no part of formal lessons (100 EZ lessons, e.g.). I think he wasn't making fast enough progress with the short lessons, and was still frustrated. We played around with Starfall and Bob Books, and I think the fun approach worked best to avoid frustration. I also did things like leave the closed captioning on his TV shows, write notes for him in lunches, play games like Boggle Jr.... basically anything fun we could do without doing a formal lesson. He finally broke the code seemingly overnight (obviously all the "stuff" helped) and really loves to read now.
 

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I'm really not sure when ds started reading. I'm fairly certain it was before he started to show me that he was reading. He had a number of sight words by 3 that I can remember. However, it wasn't until he was introduced to "Zoophonics" in preschool that things seemed to really click with him and he quickly moved on to reading. He was openly reading shortly after he turned 5 and immediately moved right on to spelling everything. I think that the formal introduction into phonics gave him the sense that he could sound out any word and if he could get close enough to the right word, he could figure it out. So, if the word was "bake" and he didn't know the silent "e" rule, he at least knew that bak didn't sound right and he'd make the adjustment.<br><br>
DS also has a strong VS orientation and as LeftField describes her son, ds has to learn it his way or it doesn't work. There would have been no way that I could have "formally" taught him to read. I just give him as much as he asks for let him do the rest. If he's motivated, he continues. If he's frustrated, he gives up and comes back to it another time.
 

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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>loraxc</strong> <a href="/community/forum/post/7894416"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">However, she hasn't actually asked us to teach her to read.<br><br>
Or would you wait for it to unfold? I don't see that she's frustrated about not reading.</div>
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I think you've answered your own questions! I don't understand importance of getting kids to read so early. What possible difference will it make later if she's reading at 3 or at 7? I was a super smart kid and a relatively late reader (age 7); my sister was super smart and an early reader (age 4); can't see that it mattered much in the end. We both love to read now, and both successfully completed master's degrees.<br><br>
If your child was unhappy, I could see helping her along a bit. I'm sure if we "worked" with my daughter, she would be reading soon. But that's not a goal that I have for her. I believe that she will figure it out herself sooner or later or she'll start asking for help. Also, if you're at work, I'm guessing your daughter is in a daycare setting, and I bet they do pre-reading activities there.
 

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<table border="0" cellpadding="6" cellspacing="0" width="99%"><tr><td class="alt2" style="border:1px inset;">I don't understand importance of getting kids to read so early.</td>
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Well, studies say one thing or another, and most of them define "early reading" as reading in kindergarten or first grade, not age 3. But the various arguments that early readers are better readers in school, and that better readers have greater school success, wider vocabularies, and better thinking and organizational skills convinced us. (Of course, my DCs do or will go to school, and school success--to a certain extent--is important to us; it is not important to everyone, I realize.)<br><br>
If my DCs weren't interested at all, I wouldn't drill it into them, but since they were/are interested, I'm not keeping it from them.<br><br>
Reading and learning are some of the most fun things to do in the whole wide world! (IMO, of course.) I'm excited to share that with them as soon as they are ready.
 

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I tried to lead the horse to water to see if she would drink. We had words and books all over the house. We went to the local book stores and libraries. DD did not read early though. She resisted and I didn't push any harder than merely setting up chances for her to learn it if she wanted. She is a good reader now, has been tested to read at the 12th grade level since at least 6th grade. Once she did learned to read in the first grade, she read devoured books. She has a love for reading the beauty of it for its own sake that I doubt would be there if we had "made" learn before she wanted to. The same can be said for ds. He is autistic and you really can't make him do anything her doesn't want to do. He talked late, five years, but learned to read on on time. He is second grade now and can reads two or so grades ahead. Personally, instilling a love of reading and its benefits is more important than at what age they learn to do it, imo.
 

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I think it's a lot like potty training. It's an important skill to have. If they figure it out early, that's fine. If they don't catch on until later, that's fine too. You can try to teach it if you want, and it may or may not work. Otherwise they'll just figure it out when they're ready. Either way, your child will eventually, one way or another, learn to read.<br><br>
As for suggestions... If you're a TV watching family, you daughter might enjoy "Between the Lions" on PBS. It starts where Sesame Street leaves off and my 3 & 5 yr olds (and I) love it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
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<table border="0" cellpadding="6" cellspacing="0" width="99%"><tr><td class="alt2" style="border:1px inset;">I think you've answered your own questions! I don't understand importance of getting kids to read so early.</td>
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I'm not interested in "getting" her to read, really. She's showing readiness and interest, and I'm wondering if I should facilitate it more, just as I might facilitate an interest in anything else. I think that if she were 5 or 6 and doing this, most parents would work a little with her to get her started at this point (barring unschoolers/Waldorfers). But of course, I'm wary of pushing AND of frustrating her.<br><br>
Please understand that I am not in a million years going to "make her learn to read"! (As if I could, anyway--she's 3!) If I'd wanted to push, I could have tried a lot harder with her when she was into sight words at 18 months (many of which she's now forgotten, btw).
 

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Reading is developmental, like walking or talking. I answered questions and was available to read to the boys, but really that was about it. Just follow their lead and they'll figure it out...
 

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My daughter learned to read at 3.5, mostly through the use of fridge magnets and games ("Games For Reading" by Peggy Kaye is fun), mostly because she asked and she wanted to learn. That said, I would say there's not much difference in ability between herself and kids who started reading at five, or seven, if their home life is conducive to reading (i.e. having reading modelled in the home, going to the library, etc). The kids who start later do catch up rapidly, if they're into reading or have something they really WANT to read. Sometimes in her current classroom there are parents worried about their kids reading ability, and I tell them I started reading at 3, my husband at 6, but I'm not a "better reader" than he is as an adult. It doesn't make a difference at all, I believe.<br><br>
And, being able to decode and being able to deeply comprehend the text are two different things.<br><br>
So, if she's interested, you could keep it light with games (I put a new rhyming silly word set on the fridge each morning), sounding out words on her favorite snacks, encouraging her writing, but I wouldn't do anything formal, and if she doesn't "get it," I wouldn't sweat it.
 

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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>supervee</strong> <a href="/community/forum/post/7912408"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">Well, studies say one thing or another, and most of them define "early reading" as reading in kindergarten or first grade, not age 3. But the various arguments that early readers are better readers in school, and that better readers have greater school success, wider vocabularies, and better thinking and organizational skills convinced us.</div>
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I haven't seen the studies, but I suspect it's an issue of correlation rather than causation. In a school environment, where children are all taught reading instruction at the same time, I would imagine many of the earlier readers come from a print-rich environment where the parents are highly literate. So, they're coming from homes where they will continue to be nurtured in this area. And they probably have parents who can afford to send them to several years of preschool and buy them all the best electronic toys. I think it often reflects socio-economic issues more than anything else. And I suspect many of the late readers in such a structured environment have undiagnosed learning disabilities. And of course, when the early readers read early due to high IQ, it's the IQ that makes them skilled in reading over the long-term, not the actual act of early decoding. I can see the correlation. But I cannot see how the act of early reading itself, especially when it's not child-led, would cause that child to be a better reader over the long-term. I associate skilled reading with vocab and comprehension. And both of those are easily acquired and supported by quality read-alouds and by the quality of speech in the home.
 

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<table border="0" cellpadding="6" cellspacing="0" width="99%"><tr><td class="alt2" style="border:1px inset;">I think it often reflects socio-economic issues more than anything else.</td>
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Anecdotally, I can relate that this is not true, because I grew up in poor socioeconomic communities (military and surrounding towns, mostly in the south) where there existed gifted kids. High-achieving might correlate; I don't believe giftedness does. One of the reported problems is identifying and nurturing gifted kids who are not highly motivated/achieving and also who are not nurtured at home.<br><br>
Otherwise, sure, I'll agree that these other things set up a confounding set of circumstances making studies hard, like most human studies.<br><br>
But, Lorax, I don't think there is a black & white between letting your child break the code on her own and drilling her... there are lots of fun things to do in between those two extremes if you think she might be ready and might enjoy it. You'll know when to back off before you get to the point of turning her off.
 

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<div class="smallfont" style="margin-bottom:2px;">Quote:</div>
<table border="0" cellpadding="6" cellspacing="0" width="99%"><tr><td class="alt2" style="border:1px inset;">
<div>Originally Posted by <strong>supervee</strong> <a href="/community/forum/post/7920620"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">Anecdotally, I can relate that this is not true, because I grew up in poor socioeconomic communities (military and surrounding towns, mostly in the south) where there existed gifted kids. High-achieving might correlate; I don't believe giftedness does. One of the reported problems is identifying and nurturing gifted kids who are not highly motivated/achieving and also who are not nurtured at home.<br><br>
Otherwise, sure, I'll agree that these other things set up a confounding set of circumstances making studies hard, like most human studies.<br></div>
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I wasn't talking about giftedness; I was talking about early reading. If early reading is defined as age 4 or 5, then I would say that many early readers are not gifted, rather high-achievers with dedicated parents. That's what I meant by my remark. If studies are showing that kids who read at 4 or 5 turn out to be better readers over the long-run, then I would think that it's their (likely) highly enriching background that's giving them an edge, not the actual act of early decoding.
 

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Oh, ah, I see that now. Okay, oops!<br><br>
Yeah, the studies I was able to find were about 4 & 5 year olds. I was actually searching for earlier ages, but couldn't find any, except Glenn Doman's materials, which were not cited as far as I could tell (though I have not seen his books, just online).
 

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Haven't posted in ages, but thought I would jump in. DS is 3 and is very into language in every sense. I am using the old "Whole Language" attitude at this point, which is what most of us do anyway instinctively. Language is not reading but also speaking, writing and listening. I am not breaking anything down at his age into "sub skills" - I am trying to provide a language rich environment for him to learn in his own style. I'm lucky in that I'm not worried about him developmentally, so hey lets enjoy language for what it was intented - expressing ourselves (we do a daily journal about our favorite part of the day) - singing and learning nursery rhymes - discussing dinosaur habits (passion of the last 2 months) and reading a wide variety of literature, poetry, simple readers, science books, the newspaper, joke books, Daddy's Sports Illustrated, even the Weather Channel - here's to local on the 8's!<br><br>
It's easy to be overwhelmed and comparative about skills. The fact is, I'm not sure how his little brain works yet, but learning to enjoy language can't hurt the little guy!<br><br>
Cheers!
 

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Hello. I thought I'd chime in too for interest's sake. Our eldest will be four in 2 months, and he's been writing letters, pointing them out in books, in order, but does not sound the words out. As an aside, we never know what he is learning, only what he has already learned since he keeps it secret with the exception of asking us questions here and there, making pronouncements over a period of time that relate to one another, and we put together the pieces (Oh, he's figuring out how numbers represent a unit of measurement! Huh, he's adding and subtracting as well as counting. Wow.Oh, he's making letter-like forms... now he's writing the alphabet! Oh, he's learning to read now!) He is also extremely resistant to overt instruction and has been since he was an infant. So, in a funny way, 'teaching' him to read is not going to be a stress because there's not really anything he will be 'taught'.<br><br>
However, language acquisition and subsequent linguistic skill formation is a subject of great interest to me. Our 2 1/2 yr old points out letters and some sight words, but I think he'll likely want assistance as he ventures into reading because he is more inclined to ask and receive instruction.<br><br>
How a person begins with learning what we mean by the sounds we make with our mouths and then making them himself and then somehow connecting those sounds with the words he's heard and then a set of symbols with those sounds and then decoding the written language that is representative of the spoken one...(pause for cyberbreath) is so exciting and mysterious! I know my two eldest will be so much happier when they learn to read on their own- they are very thirsty for knowledge, and having access to it without my assistance will be liberating- especially to our eldest. I'm looking forward to that (and the new set of challenges that accompany the change).<br><br>
So, like a pp wrote, I think you're doing the right thing by letting dc lead her learning since it seems to be right on track and she is enjoying it so much. Like you, I would completely avoid anything that would discourage her zeal for this new skill. Let us know how she's doing!
 
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