When do 5 year olds start writing and reading properly?

Amanda - posted on 08/05/2010 ( 52 moms have responded )

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My 5 year has been at school for 2 years now his writting his very poor and his reading isnt particulary brilliant.By god weve tried sitting and writting with him he isnt intrested.We read to him,but when asked to read he struggles with every word,purely guessing.He starts year 1 in september i feel he is behind he has freinds in a different school who are way ahead of him,his brother when he started year 1 in the same school as his other freinds were doing spellings id be lucky if he could spell cat!Should i be concerened were educated people,who spend time with our children we dont expect school to teach them everything from scratch,but its taken him for ever to learn how to write his name and still can form a e properly looks more like a letter P.What to do?

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Stephanie - posted on 08/05/2010

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He is definitely not behind. Society has put more and more pressure on kids to learn things earlier and earlier. When we were in school we didn't learn how to do basic math until 1st-2nd grade. Now they teach it in kindergarten. Some schools expect kids to enter kindergarten knowing how to write their entire name. While others want them to recognize their name. I think part of this has to do with comparisons. Everybody wants their child to be smart and we all start working with them as soon as they can talk. When another child seems further developed we assume that ours are behind so we work harder. In truth at this age there isn't much to be concerned about. Just like babies working on speech or walking but not both at the same time. Perhaps your son can’t read but is better at drawing pictures or math. Even his large motor skill can be better then others. These are all positive things that will transfer to learning, coordination, and life experiences.
I am ADD. I do think that it is something that parents should keep an eye out for because it can make a child’s life particularly difficult if not taken care of. However, I don’t believe that 5 is the time to worry about it. In general 5 year olds are very rambunctious and have short attention spans. When we are exhausted and can’t keep up we can be very quick to diagnose it as a problem when it is just another phase of development. It is best to see when they are about 7. When you can tell that they don’t understand what they are reading and by that point the attention span is longer and more comparable.
I think your doing a great job. If you do have any concerns you can call your pediatrician. They have helped me out a lot with things like this.

Urvashi P - posted on 07/30/2013

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fantastic site for frustrated mothers. I was helped a great deal in my concern for my five year old daughter's reading/writing skills. I abs agree that each one is different and we need to be patient! That itself will help much when it comes to teaching these small ones.

Kara - posted on 08/14/2010

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I know a lot of moms who worry far too much about their child's ability to do things, but if you push and they can't do them still; you will end up with an angry kid who won't even try to learn. I have four children and each learns very differently. My eldest has dislexia-she is fourteen and has learned on her own how to comprehend far more of what she reads than most of her classmates have for there ability to read much better. My eldest son who is 12 didn't even talk till he was 3, and to this day can't write with a pen or pencil, but I taught him to keyboard and he is classified as a genius with an IQ of a 147. His big problem is he has disgraphia. "he can't make his hands write what he is trying to get accross so it comes out as a complete mess." He had trouble for a long time in school due to his great frustration with trying to write. The other two have some other issues, but I think you get my point. Don't fret over it yet. Just take it one day at a time and things will iron themselves out as he matures and interacts with others.

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Fasiha, The DISTAR method is a phonics based program as well. That is why I love it so much! It teaches kids to figure out words they do not know on their own, rather than just memorizing a bunch of "site words" (which is what a lot of American Schools are doing at the moment).

DISTAR was originally developed in the late 1960's to help kids who lagged behind their peers in reading skills. It teaches sentence and story structure along with reading, but I was a little annoyed throughout the lessons where periods were frequently used where there should have been commas; however, punctuation skills come long after reading skills so I don't think it will be a problem, but I don't understand why they did it. It is a very fast paced, simple program, and focuses on a lot interaction between the teacher & student. The book that I recommended is modified for 1 on 1 teaching, like you would find in homeschooling or tutoring. The original program was designed for classes with one teacher teaching several students.

Grace - posted on 12/30/2011

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For moms who say "if there was a problem the teacher would tell you," please understand that (in the U.S.) finding dyslexia (and other learning disabilities) is not in the skill set of the average teacher, nor on the priority list or in organizational culture of school districts, federal law be damned. Assuming so is detrimental to our kids. Stay inquisitive and assertive mommies!

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Fely - posted on 11/27/2012

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Me i read first the alphabet letter and then familiarize the sound of it.. i put visual aid around my son's room and then read it repeatedly.. i read story book and point the words.

Sherri - posted on 12/31/2011

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Have you thought of hiring a tutor?? I know in our schools here in the US a lot of teachers offer tutoring in your home for a fee.

Amanda - posted on 12/31/2011

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Thankyou he turned 6 in may and this thread although old is still relevant,he is now year 2 and is behind with reading and writting skills,he is getting some help.We live in the UK but plan to move to aus in 2012,he had a lot of problems health wise due to reflux which is on going.But as for catching up i don't know!

Sherri - posted on 12/30/2011

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I disagree if there was a problem his teacher would pick up on that and send him to meet with the professionals within the school to evaluate him and yes in the US and all public schools offer these.

I believe on avg.reading begins pretty solidly in Kindergarten and writing begins in Kindergarten as well but sometimes can take some time to grasp well until 1st grade.

Latoya - posted on 12/30/2011

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Amanda, all children are different and thank God for that!!!

I have personally invested in some tag reading products from leap frog and it helps with the reading a lot (esp when you dont want to sit with him because you are a bit preoccupied).

The books come in a wide variety of cartoons / shows and it teaches reading & phonetic skills. He puts the tag pen on the word and it says the word for the child or it can read the story aloud, tests them on things learnt in the book and you can track his learning on your pc.

Its a great product!! I'm a teacher by profession & a parent of a five year old boy and trust me these books have encouraged him to read and he always looks forward to a new book whether interactive or not!! Try it :)

Marion - posted on 03/11/2011

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get phonics books they will help him to learn each sound and tech him how to join them together to make words i would defiantly speak to his teacher as she maybe able to give him some books and teach u how to learn them with him, as for his writing he will get there u just need to get him to practice just on cards for others and on pictures he draws and praise him a lot even if its not correct he will get better in time if u go to a web site called sparkle box they have printable sheets for words and phonics stuff to it is a teachers web site but any body can use it. its what most schools use

Kristine - posted on 08/19/2010

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I dont think he is behind--when he starts kindergarten or year 1 this year, you will be amazed the difference. Every child is different, some kids read at 3, but that is not the norm. I agree with Stephanie, the pressure anymore on kids to be these little einsteins by age 3 is ridiculous to me. The competition among parents I see is crazy!
Every K and 1st grade teacher I know, say that most kids catch up to one another by grade 2. They say there is a wide range of abilities in K and even 1st grade. My son in pre-k at 5, wrote decently his letters and his name, but definitely not other words unless I spelled them for him. He could only pick out a few words. we didn't push him, just read to him everynight, did things that were fun, even in everyday situations, like looking for the word STOP on signs, etc...
What he picked up in kindergarten amazed me. His teacher let us know where he weakness was and games we could do to work on it. She said it is important not to stress them out, but to have fun with it and just be consistent.

I think though as he starts in school you need to stay on top of it and talk with his teacher. if he continues to struggle, then obviously there is a problem and you can work with the teacher to figure out a plan.
Sometimes a change in school may be warranted, smaller class size, or getting the extra reading help and writing help as well.
Boys can start slower for sure. I see this all the time.
I would give him a little extra time and see how he does.
but obviously you are the mom, if your gut continues to tell you something is wrong, then get him evaluated.
best wishes!

Jennifer - posted on 08/15/2010

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http://www.myteacherpages.com/webpages/j...

He is behind but I highly doubt it is add. I would get him checked for other learning disabilities though. Go to the website the I pasted on here, it's awesome. My sons school use the alpha friends in Kindergarten and the kids loved them. Each alpha friend has a song to it that they can sing. I'm sure you could order the CD. Do what Angie suggested as well, read everything you come upon. Never make him sound our words though because he will forget what he is reading if he has to sound out one word. Help him blend the sounds. For instance: volcano- vol-can-o clap each each syllable as you're saying it and when you're done you say the word. That is what my son's kindergarten teacher did and the class learned a lot.

Casey - posted on 08/14/2010

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I went to walmart & bought a workbook & it has seemed to work. I bought the kindergarden one & also the pre k workbook what he had trouble with in the kindergarden book we went back into the pre k book & worked it from there.My son picks up learning & school things very easy where my step daughter is the one that school seems harder for her so I spend more time with her on certin things, but we do "study group" every night before snack time as a family & it has really helped out all 3 of the children.

Annick - posted on 08/13/2010

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My son did 2 years in preschool (one of those years was VPK) and he's about ready to start 1st grade.

From the time he was very little I've done a lot of reading with him at home, plus I taught him the basics of saying his ABC's and how to spell his first name.

During his last year of preschool (he was 4 turning 5) his teachers taught him how to write his entire name and the entire alphabet.

The REAL fun began in kindergarten...learning to read, write 2, 3 and 4 letter words, and some math.

By the end of kindergarten he was "above" his classmates in the reading department...he was already at a reading level that a 1st grader would be at the end of their year.

I'm not bragging by any means but all I'm try to say is that we didn't go overboard at home (except for the reading because he just LOVES books) and he was at the same level as other children his age. His handwriting still has much to be desired for (he's a lefty) but that's pretty normal for a kid his age.

I wouldn't worry too much...as one reader stated I think the world puts too many expectations on kids these days. Your teacher will tell you how he's doing as the school year gets into swing...he/she will bring to your attention if any extra "help" is needed for your school. For now just encourage him as much as you can...and read, read, READ every chance you can get!

GOOD LUCK MOMMY!! :)

Tiffany - posted on 08/13/2010

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get a book read it and record your self and play it back while he is resting or going to bed, the more he hears the more he will remeber and place letters in his roomthat yall created together so he can see it everytime his at home do it around the house...when people come over and see that they will know that you are a detrime mommy that wants her child to be a great reader and one day a story teller..don't worry about where he is but look forward to where he is going...try all things that my sound crazy but it takes crazy things to help your child be all that he is..i do it and my kids love me for it,

Tiffany - posted on 08/13/2010

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no, no,no i wouldn't say he is behind.. it takes time and it depends on what he is learning or how fun it is...children focus on fun and play ,things that excit them..i have two boys that are 9 and 7 and they just now started reading and writting i had a hard time until i made it into a game and for every word they got right they got a treat( well my two like to eat so i used what they like the most , food ) it worked try something he likes and reward him with it and pray at night over him when lays down if you believe in god and jesus christ(i don't know if you do or not but try it) and allow god to work on him as god works on you to be able to teach him...email me at ...tiffanyduncan98@yahoo.com if you want to talk more cause i am not always on this site...speak postive things in your mind about your son.. a word spoken is a word borne...he will learn, he will read, he will write no matter what it takes...all things are possiable phil 4:13 and phil 4:8 read them/search them i did and it worked cause i believed those two scriptures i prayed those among my house hold..try it

Grace - posted on 08/13/2010

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I'm a special education advocate and can tell you that the best thing you can do is exercise your legal rights under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act of 2004 and request, in writing, a formal academic assessment of your child. You need to get a baseline of his performance and get him up to standards ASAP. It is widely suspected that one of every 5 kids with learning disabilities is dyslexic yet most teachers have no way to test for it and most districts don't believe it exists although it's clearly defined in law as a disability. If you don't, you'll wake up one day with a 4th grader reading at kindergarten level. Trust me on this--I've seen it. He's not meeting standards now....and IF he's dyslexic, he'll get more and more behind unless he gets access to an educational program specifically designed to address his needs (whatever those are found to be). Step one--request, in writing, that he be formally assessed with a full psychoeducational assessment. And learn your legal rights too so you don't take no for an answer....Good luck finding out the CAUSE.

Lisa - posted on 08/12/2010

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All kids learn at their own pace. It is okay to be on the average side of learning. Find a subject that he finds beyond fascinating no matter what it is. Cats, rodeos, Superman, knitting, who knows? Then get him to the library to pick out his own books.My boys liked comic books which I approved of because it got them reading ANYTHING and now they like all kinds of books. Interject learning subtly into everything, take spaghetti and make have him move it into the letter S on his plate, let him make an S with the sauce. Let him draw letters with his fingers on a plate with sugar. Brush afterwards. Challenge him to make an R with raisins during snack time and etc...use your imagination. Take a different letter of the alphabet everyday and concentrate on things with that letter. A for apple. Let's make apple pie. Find words in the newspaper that begin with A. Have fun with word games.

Jennifer - posted on 08/11/2010

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I am an educator myself. What you need to do is see how they are teaching your son to read and write. It may be to boring for him or may be too difficult with the way they are teaching him. Find something that he is really interested in and connect that to the letters in his name. Try writing his letters on sand paper and then have him trace them with his finger. He may not have had the exposure to writing that he needs. I do agree though that society has placed more pressure on learning things earlier. I am a child care center director and we are teaching our 2 year olds to recognize their name in print. We also like them to try and spell their name, these are things that we did in Kindergarten. Most of all stay patient with him. The more you show your frustration the more it will deter him from really trying because he will become upset that he has let you down.

Amy - posted on 08/10/2010

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Be patient, my son turned 5 on the 3rd. He can write his name, read a few 3 letter words and that is about it. I made some flash cards of some basic words (cat, at, hat, red, yellow, two, etc.) and have been working with those. I also find a word that I think will show up alot in the book I am reading and spend some extra time, pointing it out and having him read it. It has helped a little. Maybe try that

Kim - posted on 08/10/2010

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I'm an early childhood educator and most children will learn to read by 7 yrs old. My son was reading at 4, my daughter was over 6 before she knew her alphabet, and was in a special reading class last yr at age 7 in 1st grade. I worked with both of them equally. 5 is early, here that would be Kindergarten and while some do, it is not expected that they can read in Kindergarten or even write all their letters well. Just practice with him, try to make it fun not a chore, and he will get it eventually, otherwise the school will let you know there is a problem and talk to you about ways to help him. I work with my daughter on her reading every night, she is getting there, but its not one of her strengths, something I have come to terms with. I know she will eventually get there she was just a grade yr behind, but now she is only a few months behind. Good luck and dont' push too hard to make him hate reading.

Debbie - posted on 08/10/2010

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He's 5. I think its normal. Mine just turned 5 in May. He can read some words, do some math, etc... but thats just him. For a mom on here to say he does sound behind really has no business saying that. Kids progress at their own rate. Just like some walk sooner than others, or talk sooner .. it doesnt mean anything. Not to mention, that when I try to teach my son how to read its so frustrating. You take for granet what you know. Try explaining to a child that C sounds like K or S or CH...blah its hard! And mine too will guess. If it says frog he see's the F and starts blurting out every word with an F, or he says it backwards etc... your child is fine. And he'll get it in h is own time, and if he doesnt there will always be someone to help.

Vivian - posted on 08/10/2010

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WOW!! Your poor child!! He's only 5! I know that society has put a lot of pressure on children to be the "BEST". I am a first grade teacher and I am teaching my kids ECONOMICS at 6..they have to learn about opportunity cost, consumerism etc. I am teaching them Math that I didn't even do until I was in 3rd grade. I think your son is perfectly fine. He will pick up the reading when he is ready and pushing is just going to make it all the more difficult for him. Continue to read to him everyday and talk about words and what they mean. Have him help you with your shopping list (can you find the .... for me?) If his reading does not kick in by December of 1st grade, then the teachers will start talking ot you about other ways to improve.

Melanie - posted on 08/10/2010

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My daughter is 5, she is in Prep and they have been taking part in a reading programme from 2nd term. All the children are progressing fabulously but they do progress at their own rate. They also doing spelling in prep and it's remarkable to see what these young ones can do. Do you have any books which specify the level. Start with level one which is as basic as you can get. have him read the same book each day and watch him gather confidence.

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I would have him tested. There is always a chance that he see's the words and things backwards. My husband did all through his childhood and only now admits it to anyone. Start with testing for dyslexia and go from there.
good luck and god bless.

Jazmin - posted on 08/10/2010

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Fine motors are a skill that is learned wether you teach it or not, like crawling and walking, everyone is different and reaches it at their own pase, one day you will find that he does better. My son was the same way, his hands are quite big and it was hard for him to grip those skinny #2 pencils so I got him a rubber grip that helps him hold it properly and voila.

Julie - posted on 08/10/2010

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The portion of the brain that allows language to connect with the area that decodes fuses around age 7, until then children can learn to read in the emotional section of the brain, and then reteach the natural way the brain reads as brain function allows. Ask your son to put his right elbow to his left knee, there's a good chance he can not do it.
I teach kindergarten to 5-6 year olds. We expect by the end of a year in school they can read 20 sight words and decode 3 letter short vowel pattern words. Some kids pick it up earlier and faster. Usually age 7 is when it all clicks together and children read faster.
Your frustration will only make it a bad emotional experience and the emotional side you are trying to teach will refuse it. Relax, read to your son, and make enjoying books together a fun thing he looks forward to each day, the desire to know what's on the pages of books will inspire him to learn to read.

Rebecca - posted on 08/10/2010

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The biggest thing you meed to understand is that if your child isn't ready they will not perform to "standards". My child was in head start for 2 yrs went into early 5s and just went through kindergarten...she just started getting it towards the end of the school year. She's going into 1st and I feel confident she'll do fine. Point being even all the school she had it still took the time to learn reading/writing skills; although she took of like a bullet when it finally clicked! Your child is normal, when he's ready (more interested) he'll catch on easier and will WANT to learn it. Remember lots of praise when he tries--even if he's wrong praise the fact he's attempting.

Amanda - posted on 08/10/2010

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Wow, I am quite amazed by some of the posts on here (for many reasons, mainly not very good ones).
I would just like to re-confirm the best advice on here - that is
1. don't stress yourself about this - he is far too young to start worrying so much.
2. Every child is different - every person is different, we all have our strengths and weaknesses.
3. If he had a real problem the teachers would have spoken to you about it
4. Just watch him and monitor him as he progresses - soon his school days will be far more structured and focussed on these things and his progress will be easier to measure

You are obviously an excellent mum who is trying to ensure her children have the best opportunities.
Too many people put far too much pressure on young kids (for their gain not the children's). He should be learning through play, developing all his gross and fine motor skills at this stage. Some kids have natural aptitudes for literacy and are keen to advance early - but that does not mean that your little boy is behind or has development issues if he would rather enjoy playing and finds sitting writing not his favourite thing - he's just a child doing what children do naturally.
Relax and let him progress and develop at his pace. You will both find it more enjoyable

Yaima - posted on 08/09/2010

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I agree with him being too young to come to conclusions. On the other hand though, make learning fun for him and praise him or give him rewards whenever he gets something right.
I used to go out of my way whenever they wrote a letter for the first time, or said a simple word he read from a book.
but yes, he is way too young. and comparisons do affect the way he is learning even more because you worry also.
I have to deal with my father -in- law comparisons all the time about my son or my daughter. I go, ok she is not a genius or gifted or does not play the piano, but she alwasy tries her best. Every child is different.

Caroline - posted on 08/09/2010

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it takes time ,make reading fun for him, play games with the letters ,let him do some letter tracing with the alphebeth to improve his hand writing, get books that he has intrest in , read with him and at the end of reading ask him what does he think of the story to see if he is paying attention to what he is reading

Charm - posted on 08/09/2010

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My kids loved the DVDs by Leap Frog. They have a bunch, but mostly for younger kids. My son is 6 and he started reading and writing in kindergarten. He had an incredible teacher who taught the kids to put the accent marks over the letters in words. Like a "smilie face" above a short a, and a line above a long-sounding vowel. By the end of the year my son's reading and spelling were better than most second graders! I guess it has to be fun and interesting for them too. Maybe you can find some stuff on the intranet that will help. I was also told not to worry too much about spelling and writing at such a young age. Good luck! =-)

Terri - posted on 08/09/2010

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Every child learns at a different pace, please do not compare your child to another. I am an identical twin and my sister and I were always compared to each other and we learned very different from each other. I also have two children, son 5, and daughter 6 and they learn completely different. My 5yr old is doing more advanced things than my daughter did at 5. I believe if you ask a teacher you will be told the same thing. As a parent that worked in a pre-school program over the last year in a pre-k prep program (4&5) year olds, there were many children who didn't know the alphabet or could write and there were many who could. All you can do is inspire your child to want to learn and find a way that is fun for them and congratulate them along the way!

Jennifer - posted on 08/08/2010

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Your son is not behind...My son is 5 and going to kindergarten, he can write his name and that is the only thing he can write. His e is always backwards unless we reinforce to him the correct way to write it then he can do it. My son does not read He recognizes words. Like he can go to the guide on our tv and he read/recognizes the names of his favorite shows. I am actually shocked at how much my son does know at this age, but your son is not behind. Remember every child is different and I can't get my son to sit still and take interest in me reading to him and he's definitely not interested in trying to read to me. So relax, things will be ok. I would talk to the teacher and ask her/him what the expectations for his age and school grade are.

Good luck to you.

Arlene - posted on 08/08/2010

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I started teaching my child when he was 1 year old, i bought him 2 pcs. of ABC's poster, i post it beside his bed and at his door. everytime he wakes up he glance at it and he started pointing at the letters. Everyday i spend 15-30 min of teaching him, i start it with a play and sing a song of ABC. I let him familiarize 1 letter for 1 week, and when he gets used to it i add the second letter and so on. when he turns 2 years old he can easily pronounce the right letter. When he gets familiar to the ABC i started him teaching how to hold the pencil correctly and hold his hand while writing down the first letter and so on. When he was 3 years old i enrolled him in a 1 month summer class for basic reading, his teacher was amazed, because my child knows how to read and pronounce the right sound of the letter. And now at the age of 5 years old he is in grade 1, and he's reaching for top 1. Im so proud of my son. and my 2 year old daughter now knows how to write the letter A. Teaching a child needs a lot of time, you must have patience.

Sara - posted on 08/07/2010

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I think that every child learns at their own pace and you shouldn't be concerned. He will probably pick up reading and writing before you know it! Just knowing how much you care about him by asking the questions is all the really matters. Life is too short to worry about the little things. Just remind yourself that you are doing the best job just by being nervous and actually caring about this!! I hope that this helps and good luck to you and your little ones.

Clare - posted on 08/07/2010

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Hi Amanda

I'm from M/cr n my lil boy will b going into yr2 in sept. My son struggled b4 going into yr1 n still struggles in some area's. When he started in yr1 I left it a couple of months to let him settle in and then made an appointment to see his teacher, he was placed on an Independant Education Plan which has helped. As I say he still struggles so I will give it a little time when he starts in yr2 and will then go see that teacher. There are loads of things they can do to help and help and advice they can give you to help at home. I would try not to worry too much, but what ever you do try not to push him too hard otherwise you might find it hard work. But the best people to speak about your son's education is his teacher. :-)

Amanda - posted on 08/07/2010

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thankyou for all the advice!still in same predicament some saying he is slow other saying not.We do hunt Minibeasts he does this at school too.He is not in preschool.We live in wales in the UK.He goes to a small village school with his older brother who we had tested for ADHD and hasnt got before they started a village school which has only 60 pupils in total.They say he is on par with other pupils my only worry is the only boy until 2 week before the end of term is a little boy who is autistic.He is a lovely child,but just wonder if there not doing a great deal with my child as he plays with him alot.Were as i cant praise them enough as my eldest has came on in leaps and bounds.what to do.He wont sit down to word sheets.He was struggling with a preschool tonight.Simple words like frog,he sat cat and bear .But the last page said frog,spider,cat,lion and bear.He didnt recognise any from the first letter.

Anne - posted on 08/07/2010

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I'm a firm believer in getting involved in your child's education. At this age practice is key - maybe some nice worksheets would help you - there are some really good ones out there that give your child step-by-step ways to learn sounds, alphabet, numbers and so on. My child really enoyed the ones at worksheetsforpreschool.com - even when she was in preschool we used them for extra practice. Check with your teachers though - there could be a number of reasons your little one isn't where you think he should be.

Yukti - posted on 08/07/2010

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I think a 5 year is able to sound all alphabets & can read few words or try to read some words, my little one has ASD so he far behind in his class, his classmates can write their names but my son cannot tell his name if asked but he is able to recognise all alphabets, still cannot hold pencil properly.



Try asking at school if they can provide him extra help, more time or different methods to teach him. Once he gets the concept or starts enjoying it you never know how good he will be in reading & writing. Sometimes kids know but due to crtain reasons they don't show or come up with it.

Tracie - posted on 08/06/2010

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get ahold of the AEA in ur area and have him developmentally tested. did he talk on time, and hit other milestones? my 4 year old can write his name, 1st and last, and according to his preK teacher can read on almost a 3rd grade level. all kids are different, but i would waste no time getting everything checked...hearing, vision, etc...also they can now check for dyslexia...get the help early on to have a more productive child and less battles as they get older

Rachel - posted on 08/06/2010

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My youngest has been writing since she was 3. But dont look at me for the credit. It was the early childhood program she was in 2 years and then pre k and now 5 yrs old going on 6 in sept she will be in kindergarten. I kindergarten before going into 1st grade they need to be able to read 100 sight words, know all abc's, count to 100, write and read their name, phone number and address, tie their shoes.. ect
Talk to the teacher at school and see what they can do to help your child get some extra help at school.

Fasiha - posted on 08/05/2010

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Hi can anyone tell me what is DISTAR method Kelly mentioned above? Is it different from phonics? I teach my 4 and 5 using phonics since a year ago and the older now can fairly read (or I should better say recognize words). The younger also showing good progress. I highly recommend the starfall.com it attracts the kids very well. We the parents are not English native speakers and yet we living in Japanese environment (and my kids go to Japanese nursery).. and we the parents do not have much time to teach them. The website really helps!

Heather - posted on 08/05/2010

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Both my kids started reading 3-letter words around age 4. One writes fine. The other one (8) is still struggling. He's on an IEP for writing skills in general PLUS handwriting (OT), plus other concerns.

Bottom line, each child is different. Just because you're educated doesn't mean he doesn't have different learning issues than you & your DH did. It does mean that he's got a bit of a head start, and that you care about his learning -- the latter is a HUGE advantage, both in and out of the classroom.

Don't force it, though. At 5, there are VERY FEW boys who have the patience, fine motor skills, and desire to sit and do anything constructive. Ease up until he's actually been to school for a few months. Eventually the K teacher may call in an OT or other school personnel to evaluate him IF he needs it. They see lots of different kids, so they'll know for sure whether he's behind at all. :)

At this point -- especially a few weeks before school starts -- it's far better to have fun with him than to force him. If you really want him to LOVE LEARNING as much as you seem to want, then make it fun! Go explore the local ant hill. Look at an onion under a microscope! Camp out and show him the Big Dipper. Make oobleck and play with it together! Learning is not just books and writing. ;)

Samantha - posted on 08/05/2010

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I found that with my son and moved him to a smaller country school where the class has less pupils and the teacher has more time to teach each child. He is also in a maths and reading class which has improved his writing and reading. He is abit behind to where he should be so the teacher/school is helping him with his learning difficulties. He has been at school for 11 months now and since changing schools has improved.

Jane - posted on 08/05/2010

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My son 6 is behind. He writes, and can sound things out, but because he has autism, he does so slowly, and the effort sometimes isn't worth it to him - the stress builds and the poor boy looks like I feel when I'm doing our taxes!!

The important thing is to keep reading to him. Follow your reading with your finger, and when you get the words he recognizes (You, It, The, To, etc) have him say them. It's a start. There are DOLCH (Daily Oral Language CHallenge) word lists available, and if he gets through the first 6, he's ready. You can set them up like a flashcard game and he earns points for each correct word. Then the points count for some treat that he likes.

Good luck. BUT...that said...if he's only 5, it's a touch early to be worried. Boys are typically a half year behind girls at that age, and shouldn't start school until they're at least 5.5 years. I kept a couple of mine back an extra year and it made the world of difference. These days, kindergartners are anywhere from 5 years to 7 years, because we are starting to realize that they just aren't all developmentally ready just because they celebrate a 5th birthday.

Stephanie - posted on 08/05/2010

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The traffic games and websites are great too. We play "find the letters" from A-Z when we are in the car. Another great game is picking a letter and trying to find things around the house that start with that letter. For instance T. Show the letter, make the sound and find things around the house that start with that sound. You can even make T's and tape them to the items like table and television.

Michelle - posted on 08/05/2010

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Wow i must have my daughter in the wrong school! She knows how to write her name and count and letters but all she learned for reading r pop words like "it' you"! She starts 1st grade too, the teacher told me she was behind, but i think it's because she doesnt want to pay attention in class because she does the work at home!!!

Angie - posted on 08/05/2010

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Have you spoken to his teachers about what you can do to help him? Remember, you are an important part of his education. My children were reading and writing their alphabet at 3 (it was one of my stupid goals for them). We made a notebook with pockets. On the front of each pocket was a letter. I had them cut pictures that started with that letter out of old magazines to fill the pocket. They learned the letter sounds that way. When we were driving we sang the alphabet until is was memorized. Continue to read books to him but also read everything that you come upon - traffic signs, cereal boxes - anything. If you go on line, you can find websites that have letters with a picture he can color of something that starts with that letter. Make it a game and he'll begin to catch up.

[deleted account]

He does sound behind. My son is 5 and has not been in school yet (he will start in 2 weeks), but he can read most words, figure out the ones he doesn't know. He does not space his words well in writing, but his letters are well formed.

Have you talked to his teachers? Could he have a learning disability, like dyslexia or ADHD? Is he on par with his peers in the same school? I could be that the school is just sub-par and you might want to move him.

If he is just behind, and needs a little extra push, I used the book "Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons" to teach my son to read (since we did not do preschool or 4k). It is based on the DISTAR method and worked really well for our son. It costs about $15 and is all you need, unlike most phonics programs that cost hundreds and have tons of materials. The lessons are short and to the point so my son didn't loose interest.

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