5 yr old cannot recognize letters and numbers

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My son is 5 years old and cannot recognize letters and numbers. He has not been assessed and/or diagnosed with any learning disabilities.
My husband and I decided to hold off on sending him to kindergarten when he turned 5 this past July because we felt that he needed one more year of pre-k and we knew he was getting a great teacher. Jackson can count just fine but when you show him a number or a letter, he can't tell you what it is. Now...I thought at first he was being a normal stubborn boy but I think he really does have a problem.
Is there anyone out there that is going through the same thing???
Thanks and God Bless


Chet - posted on 11/03/2014




Our youngest turned 5 a couple of weeks ago. He can recognise a few letters reliably, but not many. And most of the letters he can recognise are letters that map to common shapes or objects - O is a wheel, S is a snake, C is a claw for pinching, etc.

His interest in letters is also quite new. For a long time he sort of denied the existence of the alphabet - O absolutely was a circle or a wheel and that was it. He counts very well, but probably can't recognize any numbers reliably.

Our youngest is not in school. PreK is optional here, and we decided not to send him because he's only starting to show a mild interest in things like colouring, letters, numbers, tracing, printing, worksheets, etc. At this point, the novelty of school would wear off quickly for him because the program is not very play based. He'd rather dig a hole in the back yard. When his siblings draw or colour he pretends the crayons and markers are logs. I think he could survive school, but it will be a more positive experience if we wait. He'll start kindergarten next year a month before he turns 6.

In our case, I'm not concerned. I believe he has the capacity to learn letters and numbers, the interest has just been slow to develop - although I can see it starting to come. He's extremely bright. Has a remarkable ability to take things apart and put them together. He's good at puzzles. Has an excellent vocabulary. Loves to look at books, and be read to. Can rhyme words.

He resists being quizzed about letters, but if I show him a letter and ask him to find the one that one that matches he can do it no problem. If I show him a letter and ask him to make that shape with his hands or build that shape using sticks or blocks he can do it.

I'm sure that if I sat down and worked with him this way he would learn the alphabet and numbers no problem, because he thinks the matching and building are fun games. And when school gets closer I probably will work with him more aggressively if he hasn't picked it up yet. We still have a lot of time though.

But that's us. In our case, I'm not worried about a 5 year old who doesn't know the alphabet, but if you are concerned there's nothing wrong with having your son assessed. Often a parent's gut instinct is right. In my case, my gut is not to be concerned, even though a lot of people would be twisted up about a five year old that doesn't know their letters.

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