What is the right age to teach a kid how to read?

Building reading skills is an important part of a child's education. Is it ever too early to teach a kid how to read? When is the best age to teach them?

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32  Answers

8 8

My son will be starting kindergarten in the fall and is just now becoming interested in letters and numbers. My daughter is three and can already spell her name and say the alphabet. My husband and I have done nothing different with either of them. We've read to them since they were babies and have always tried to make learning that type of stuff a fun activity with lots of coloring and games to play. A funny difference is that my daughter is better at her letters than my son but she's less interested in sitting down and hearing a story. My whole point to this blabbing response is, I think you just have to pick up on the cues your child gives and do with them what your kid is naturally ready to do.

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5 3

I totally agree with you Amber. I love what you said, "Pick up the cues your child gives and do with them what your kid is naturally ready to do." I have done with same with my kids and it seems to work. I've also found it to be a balancing act. Sometimes I have the tendency to get too serious, so I back off and try to make it fun and enjoyable for them.

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38 39

It's never too young to read with your child and sharing a story together on a regular basis is one of the best and simplest ways to encourage reading.

6
6 18

As long as you have books, children will sit and listen. A friend of mine didn't have time or whatever to read to her baby and he didn't know what animals were what at the age of 3( everything was a dog). To me that is sad
Books have the world in them. If you have time spend it with your children reading
They will learn in there own time. I really enjoy bedtime, we read 3 to 4 books a night. We snuggle and it is so lovely.
Books are wonderful

5
0 5

Please don't "push" your child to begin reading. As many have said, read to them from the beginning and when they show an interest, simple word games and such will help them learn their letters and words. As an educator, the big problem I have seen is that students come into Kindergarten or First grade with many different levels of reading skills. This is making the teachers job very difficult because not only must they teach some students their letters they have other students who become very bored because they "already know this stuff". As class sizes increase in most schools, it is not unusual to see 25 - 30 students on one classroom. The whole purpose of these lower grades is to get the child ready to learn to read and they should have some success by the end of First grade.

4
6 0

I think it is important to teach your children to read before they leave kindergarten. I taught all of my children to read when they were four and before they started kindergarten and it gave them a headstart that has stayed with them through highschool. I notice that kids who don't read by first grade seem to stay behind all the way through high school.

4
3 3

I would first start by saying remove any pressure from yourself or your child about when they learn how to read. All children work at there own pace. Next I would say read to them often. I also make it a habit to get to the library at least twice a week when possible, for her and myself. She loves to copy Mommy so if she sees me reading for myself as well, she may want to read on her own too. I also use flash cards. Now this next tip may send some people over the edge but I say, let them watch television. My daughter watches Sesame Street,Super Why, and educational shows of that sort on the daily basis. These programs are developed by educators and have given my daughter an edge that I am not sure I would have been able to do alone. She knew her alphabet by 9 months, visually shortly after including in different fonts. Keep it fun and they will amaze you.

3
299 31

It depends on the child. The best time is when they are ready. I know three kids that started learning letters and sounds at 2yo. One was reading by 3.5yo the others by 5yo.
I've known four kids that started learning at 4yo. One was reading at 5yo, two at 8yo and one at 10yo. All had basically the same instruction, but but each could only take away from it what they were ready to handle.

2
0 0

I read to my children from the time they were in utero til today (THey're now 14 and 16 and they still want me to read aloud before bedtime.) I NEVER gave them any formal instruction but they read when they were 4 and 3 1/2. We played with words and books from day one. They dictated their stories to me and I wrote them down and they illustrated them as they got older (2 and 3). We acted out the stories with puppets or ourselves. We "memorized" poems--recited them over and over and over as children often like to do. Our favorites included Sandra Boyton's Moo Baa la la la! Just enjoy books and reading and you'll be amazed at how they soar! Have fun.

2
4 4

I think you can read right from the beginning, but not all kids are ready to learn to read at the same time. Early reading is not correlated with higher IQ or educational achievement. I am a big believer in multiple intelligences..more son who is 5 can read, and really is interested in it, while my daughter doesn't have the interest in it that he does. She does what she is supposed to in school..but she is very physically/motorically gifted, well coordinated, active and very socially perceptive and logical.

2
46 15

well there really isn't any "right " age to be reading to your kids the younger the better. when my kids were both babies i read to them every day then as they got older i was reading to them evey night. and when they were in grade school i started reading with them. now both of my kids enjoy reading,they both have their favorite authors too.we also enjoy reading the same things now and then. i would also teach them the A B Cs,shapes & numbers so when they were old enough to start taking baths in the tub i would have them show me the A B Cs , shapes & numbers using the foam toys i got for them,when they started school their teachers were surprised at how much they already knew,and they were both only 4 at the time. now my oldest has a 3 year old and i am doing the same with her daughter as i did with mine.

2
6 12

At any age they seem interested. My older son was around 4.5 when he started to recognize words. My younger son is almost 5 and can recognize some simple words once they are said. I'm signing my 5 yr old up for a reading class because his ability is there, just not the ability to focus for very long. It needs to be fun, not forced!

2
505 54

Reading TO your child should begin in Utero, and continue well into middle school. The natural progress of their learning comes from the exposure of listening to you read, then doing it with you, then out loud to you, so by 5-6th grade, they are reading Independently and comprehensively.
To stay on task, be aware of school requirements, and reinforce it at home. 15-20 minutes a day plus "Story time @ night" gives a balance between the joy and work of reading. My boys are at grade level reading, but what is more important to me is that they ENJOY doing it!

1
17 1

It's never too early to start a child on learning how to read. When you sit down and read to them that's part of the process. Most children books for younger kids have large print words and letters just for that. My son(15mo) has this hide and go seek Grover book, there are some large word balloons in it and sometimes as I read I'll point to the words. He while I was reading one day pointed at the corresponding words and pictures. While he may not fully understand about reading I'd say he made some type of connection between the text and my speech. If you don't think your child will get it there's no harm in making it a learning experience. Children I believe learn at their own pace but exposing them to materials or ideas may give them a bit of a boost. Plus even if they don't pick up on things like you expect it'll still be a fun experience for them.

1
15 0

my daughter is now 7 months old, and just started teaching her to read..... its fun... although she cannot really understand and read, but doing it everyday and being consistent, i think she can learn and read some words.......

1
6 47

My youngest has been reading and writing for just over a year now, as soon as I started teaching our other son before he started primary school last September, Alfie wanted to learn also... He had just turned 3. He learnt all his phonics first, which helps, and usually writes phonically but you can still read it as his writing formation has improved lots since he was 3. I think as long as they can speak and like listening to stories there's no reason why they can't be taught long before they start school.

1
2 6

He learnt (sp),improved lots (wrong use of word, just take it out it reads perfecty), writing formation ( penmanship) you as a parent owe it to your children to read more, I AGREE WITH YOUR PARTING THOUGHT!

4 62

I would say the best age to teach children to read is around 3 or 4, but honestly, there isn't an "age" to start reading. I'm teaching my five year old to put sounds together and small words right now. But the earlier, the better. Some children learn faster/slower than their peers, but as parents we can set the pace and try to encourage them as much as possible.

1
1 0

It's very important to start introducing your child to the world of reading before they become engrossed with the television. I read a story to my son every night before bed time. This helps him develop his language and imagination. Also, introducing your child to site words, or words they use commonly gives them a big step in the right direction. My son is four years old and this summer he is learning the dolch site words list and will be reading easy readers before the start of school. I am also reviewing letter sounds and decoding skills with him as well. I want him to be prepared for kindergarten!

1
34 24

It starts with reading to them as infants. Through daily events, my girls were introduced to letters and letter sounds. By 3 to 3.5, they were all ready to get serious about putting sounds together, identifying beginning and ending sounds, able to identify letters by their sound as well as tell me the sound a letter makes. BOB books are exceellent little reading books. I really liked a program called FrontLine Phonics. It comes with activity sheets, songs, ideas for making manipulatives and activities to do around the home to enforce the learning activity. My girls responded really well to this program. My second and third daughters really love the "learning to read". My oldest reads above her grade level but she's not one to just pick up a book and read if there are "better" things to do like play outside!

Bottom line, there is no set age on when to teach a kid. It's not something you do in a day.

1
82 14

I don`t believe learning has an age limit to it! i began reading to my children in the womb. But, each one has shown a different readiness to learn the skill. I believe you need to be intune to your child and work with what works for them. Each is different. the best age is when they are interested, and eager. Don`t push them too young, but don`t wait if they wanting to learn early either.

1
6 43

Teaching them to read I think begins with you reading to them for the years before THEY actually start. I taught my daughter when she was 4. I didn't have the Your baby can read program at the time....my sister in law got her some BOB books to accompany the kindergarten phonics set I purchased. By the end of Kindergarten she was reading on a 2nd grade reading level. She has continued that trend now going into 3rd on a 6th grade reading level. Whatever you do keep it fun and start BASIC!!!!

1
0 0

I know this sounds weird, but if your child can skip.....they are ready for reading:) my mother told this to me when I had my first baby. I thought she was just citing an old wives tale, however I now run a daycare and I notice that the children who can skip are more interested in doing letters, and reading than the children that can't.
There are many things you can do with your children from birth to foster reading and language comprehension, however I wouldn't push reading on a child....especially before school. Instead sing song about letters, finger plays, read to them, do crafts that involve the letters in their name...and have fun.

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19 0

around 12 months, simply showing your child how you follow the words with your finger as you read lets them know that print has meaning. When my kids were around 18 months I would have them read me the names of restaurant logo while we drove, my son could recognize the words for pizza, Diego and Dora by 2. It's never too early all of my children started reading at different ages. I myself was read at 3 and I did it with phonics. My mom begin reading to me when I in her tummy and continued after I was born. I memorized this one book by 3, MY Little Red Story book (kind of like a Dick & Jane except it was Betty and Tom) and from there I begin to read other books on my own. www.ABCMouse.com www.Readingeggs. and www.starfall.com are great for reading for my youngest son I gave him a reading readiness assessment test, I'll post the links I have them saved.

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0 0

i think 4 years of age is good for reading

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8 0

My mother learned to read at two by sitting in her father's lap and watching the words as he read them aloud from his thick old books. I, on the other hand, couldn't even spell "their" correctly until sometime in my freshman year of high school. However, I have been called an excellent/beautiful writer by those other than my family, and I am now 19. I just took awhile to catch on.
My best friend has two older sisters and one older brother. They're from Trinidad, and things are done differently there. All of these four children learned to read and their times tables by age 2, no exaggeration. Granted they seem predisposed to excellence in these areas... But in many other countries, especially European ones, formal education is begun at a young age, between 1 and 3 usually. With the right teacher and the right opportunity, many children will be able to pick it almost as young as you expose them to it.
Also, the younger they are, the quicker they will learn. And don't think of it as a chore for the child, simply because it is not a common American trend. There is nothing wrong with early learning. They will enjoy learning and will enjoy the sense of accomplishment. They won't think of it as a chore unless you do.
Sorry.. I tend to be a bit long-winded, but I think you get the picture :)

0
17 11

you know your child best start whenever you know he or she is ready my son is four years and four months old and can read well above grade one!

http://www.youtube.com/user/mck07vocal/videos

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2 6

6 months, children will learn what you teach them.

0
12 0

I think 2 is a great age to learn to read. Your child can learn to identify the letters of the Alphabet and start to learn Letter Sounds. Check out this website www.FirstStepReading.com I used it with my kids and it basically taught them all the steps they needed to know (Alphabet, Letter sounds, and Phonics and etc.) to read through Free animated videos.

0
0 0

Good question! I would recommend Jim Treleases "Read Aloud Handbook". He points out the value of reading to your child from a very early age, as many on the site have recommended, but no pressure on young ones to learn to do it themselves.

He also points out that the most literate societies in the world are the Scandinavian countries. They don't start teaching reading formally until 2nd grade! They have extremely high literacy rates. Waiting that long is something very different compared to my American culture.

We push our kids way to early -- on the whole. Some kids are very ready to read at 4, 5 and 6. And they will ask to learn if they are ready, or teach themselves. But some just aren't ready and are pushed to do so.

0
5 15

I have 2 children. My daughter was interested in letters and numbers starting at a very young age-1 1/2. My son (4) is only just beginning to become interested in such things, thanks to some of the websites on the internet (like pbskids.org). When my daughter started showing an interest in books and letters and the like, I started teaching her what all those letters were. By the time she was 3, she could read first reader books. By the time she entered preschool at age 4, she was reading fairy tale books to the rest of her class. My son is way behind her development in the reading arena, but he's shown talents in other fields that far outdo her...in those fields. It's kind of like potty training. If a child isn't ready to use the "potty", they won't "get it" until they are. Most skills that everyone takes for granted are just like that. If a child isn't ready for those skills, they won't understand or want to understand until they ARE ready.

The point being, the child should be the one who initiates when they want to learn to read. If they are not ready to learn it, they won't. If they ARE ready to learn it, they will. Signs that I noticed with my daughter were things like picking up books and "reading" them. Of course, at 1 1/2, she couldn't actually READ them, but she was "trying". She also would say words and emphasize the sounds in the words. For example, she would have an apple and say "apple" and then repeat the short "a" sound a few times. Then she'd pick up a doll and say "baby" and emphasize the "b" sound a few times. My son isn't nearly as interested in books and reading, but his favorite show is "Super Why" on PBS Kids. He doesn't quite know his alphabet yet, but he seems capable of guessing which letter comes next when they sing the alphabet song and stop and ask what's next.

The biggest key to teaching a child anything academic is to be involved with it. When they pick up a book to "read" it, show them some of the letters and tell them what they are. Work your way up to what sounds they make. Eventually they'll be saying "ask me a letter, mommy!" and you'll say "A" and your child will likely draw an "A" and then you can ask questions like "what word starts with an A?" It'll take a while if they're really young, as my daughter was, but it is a trip you won't mind taking. It is akin to naming things in the park or animals at the zoo. And you wouldn't believe how fast a day will go by when you're naming letters and quizzing your little one!

Joy

0
2 6

SO THE WAY I HEAR IT , YOU ARE COUNTING ON THE, iNTERNET AND THE TELEVISION PROGRAMMING TO TEACH YOUR CHILDREN. THAT IS SO SAD FOR YOUR CHILDREN. SO WHO DO YOU THINK THEIR ROLE MODEL WILL BECOME, THE TELEVISION OR THE iNTERNET? TO BE A GOOD TEACHER YOU MUST BE PATIENT, GIVE THEM THE ANSWER DON'T EXPECT THEM TO KNOW THE ANSWERS, THEY'RE LEARNERS ALWAYS MAKE IT EASY AND THEY WILL LEARN AND ALWAYS INTRODUCE ASPECTS OF LEARNING YOU WOULDN'T THINK THEY WOULD KNOW. SURPRISE THEM! AND THEY WILL SURPRISE YOU!

4 0

My son taught himself to read - could read well before he was 4. We read to him from when he was a baby and he played 'Alphablocks' on the BBC website from an early age. He doesn't start school until September but can read very well - has just read everything I have typed!
He is my 4th son (16year gap between him and 3rd son) and none of the others were so advanced so I know it's not anything in particular that I did - he just seemed to 'get it'.

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21 22

I think as soon as your child shows a genuine interest in books (not just the pictures) and wanting to read independently. I encouraged my daughter to make up a story based on the pictures while she was learning her letters/sounds (phonics). Pretty soon, she just started putting it all together on her own. She is now 4 yrs, 8 mos. and will begin Kinder 2 months from now with a 1st grade reading ability. I've never pressured her but have always taken the opportunity to nudge her just a little when she showed an interest. Basically, she has taught herself to read. In my opinion, learning seems easier when you allow it to happen naturally. My daughter will be one of the youngest in her Kinder class, but will probably be as advanced or more so, than the others.

0
11 2

When to teach to read is a personal thing. The studies show that by third grade most kids catch up and are on a level playing field. That being said, some kids are natural readers and just pick it up. If this is the case, then encouraging early will keep them engaged and prevent boredom.

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5 3

There is an amazing book called, "The Rights of The Reader," I highly suggest all parents pick it up. It talks about the many ways in which reading is forced on our children. It becomes a tool of torture, rather than a enjoyment. I have to admit this book opened my eyes to the many ways in which I was forcing my own kids to read, and they weren't liking it at all.

I decided to back off, read to them a lot, without asking anything in return. Just lots of books around the house, reading, story telling. my daughter is 10, she began reading at age 9. She is home schooled, so she has no idea she isn't up to typical school standards. In her life, she is happy to be a beginner reader, and every day she learns more.

I've met countless families with similar stories as mine.

So... I have to add, all kids learn at different times. It's only in public schools, that our kids are made to read at the same time, and the same way.

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505 54

You probably should have started with the "reading to them a lot and no exceptions" FIRST. Then the natural progression of enjoying it, and wanting to be like you would have just happened. If reading feels forced, the exposure was not consistent, fun or imaginative enough. Home schooling your child and assuming it's ok for her to not be at a "standard level of reading" as her peers sounds like a huge disservice to me. I am sorry to hear you have such low expectations for your daughter. I hope that when she does enter society, you have given her the tools she needs to be successful, not the illusion that she is. Reading is the foundation for intellectual success. It is also a huge confidence builder, or breaker. Please consider that as she gets older. It's not just about the present, but about their future.

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