Teaching your child to read

Xandria - posted on 06/09/2011 ( 15 moms have responded )




I have been advised not to start teaching my two year old daughter how to read. She loves letters and words and is always pointing and calling out letters when she sees them. She can even recognize her name when written, she has a Leapfrog toy that spells it out for her all the time.

The thing for me is I don't see why I shouldn't teach her how to read when she expresses an interest in learning. Everyone who tells me not to says that I shouldn't because she'll be bored with school when she starts. I feel that if my daughter goes into kindergarten reading and writing then it's the schools responsibility to provide her an eduction based on the level that she is at not expect her to dumb herself down because she is more advanced than the other kids in her class. It feel that I'm being told that because other people can't or won't take the time to invest in there children then I shouldn't invest the time in mine.

Do you think that people should be expected to lower their standards on eduction in order to comply with what I consider to be a backward educational system that tells our children to underachieve in order to fit in instead of encouraging them to try their best to better themselves in all areas. (By the way I am FIERCELY opposed to no child left behind)


JuLeah - posted on 06/09/2011




I will assume you were advised not to teach her to read because most programs for kids that young are whole word based, and learning just that makes reading a greater challenge later on.
If she wants to learn, teach her letter sounds. It doesn't matter much if she knows the name of the letter 'A', does she know the sounds it can make?
This is not about lowering standards, it is about teaching with a mind on child development, scaffolding … the mastery of base concepts prior to the introduction of higher concepts .... Teachers have years of education, and on-going education because teaching is more then being able to do the thing yourself.

Tara - posted on 06/10/2011




Learning the mechanics of reading is very different than learning to recognize letters and whole words such as names etc. Learning the sounds the letters make and how to combine them to make other sounds is the more fundamental part of learning to read. The English Language is a tricky one. The HUGE diversity of sounds we make means that learning whole language as a way to reading is flawed. We can't teach what "ought" or "ight" sounds like when you only teach word recognition.
If your daughter truly wants to read than teach her phonics if she is having fun recognizing letters and words, keep letting her do that. Knowing the Alphabet and the letters in it is important.
But reading is a very complex skill, it's not just the ability to remember what a certain word looks like, but how it sounds, what it means and the most important part of reading: comprehension of words put together.
The goal of reading is so that children can comprehend the written word. Not so that they can read aloud, or so that they can recite or remember or regurgitate information.
I think it's great that your daughter is so interested in learning new things, it's wonderful and she may very well be gifted.
I homeschool all my kids, I don't trust that their education will be tailored to their style of learning, I encourage my kids to learn to their level, they can move ahead when they choose, I provide them with enriching and challenging work that will hone their natural skills and challenge the skills where they need more challenge.
If you are concerned that the school system will hold her back, look into private schools, some charter schools are better than others from what I hear about the US, or consider homeschooling her.
I agree that she may end up bored in school if she goes into it more than prepared. But that will depend on the teacher more than her grade level. If her classmates are still learning letter recognition and she is beyond that perhaps her teachers can give her more stimulating work to help avoid boredom and apathy on her part.
Good Luck, and try getting a hold of a phonics program for her, something that teaches the letter sounds properly.
Something that actually shows how different letters, when combined make entirely different sounds, such as c and h, when alone they make different sounds, when combined they say "ch"... etc. etc.


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[deleted account]

Teach..there's nothing wrong in wanting to teach your child who has shown a love her learning.I was the same with my daughter(first)some days she was just so crazy.She was able to write and spell at age 2-3.I read books to her A LOT.

She couldn't read books.She started school at five.She is now 6.She is way beyond her years for her reading level.I left the teaching her for teachers

As i believe the have a fantastic way of teaching them.Were the pick it up so easy etc.

I encouraged her to learn and brought out the best in her that way.Also by making it FUN.

The teachers thought her the rest.I was happy with that.She was in school a few weeks and i was getting great reports from her teacher.Shes top of her class.My second is following closely behind her.

Jennie - posted on 06/10/2011




I have never heard of someone telling a parent to not teach a child how to read. It has always been encouraged through our school district to read to your child every day, even at Pre School age which is 4. In my opinion, it is never ever to early to teach a child to read.

[deleted account]

I should add that while they could read (sight words AND phonics) at 3-4... the comprehension definitely took a while to catch up, but if my kids want to learn something... I'll teach it to them.

[deleted account]

If she wants to learn, go for it. My girls were 3.5 when they started to read. The school didn't really match them where they were academically speaking, but they've always done really well and never had any problems and are still near the tops of their classes, so I'm ok w/ it. (just finished 4th grade)

Krista - posted on 06/10/2011




My experience was the same as yours, Heather. I was three, and my older sister inadvertently taught me how to read while we were "playing school". I'm sure she didn't use any sort of consistent methodology. It was probably just old fashioned alphabet with a bit of whole-word and some phonics thrown into the mishmash.

And no, I definitely wouldn't hold my kid back from learning something so that he fits in with the rest of his classmates. Just let her take the lead as far as how much time and effort is spent, so that it remains fun for her. Hopefully if she learns to love reading now, before she starts school, it'll stay with her. In my experience, kids who only learn to read once they start school don't tend to develop as much of an enjoyment of it.

Lady Heather - posted on 06/10/2011




If she's that interested I don't know how much teaching really has to occur. I learned to read at 3 years old because my older sister loved to read and she read to me all the freaking time. I just started to piece it together. I've noticed with my daughter she is already "reading" some of the words on the pages of her favourite books because she knows the stories so well. I'm sure that by this time next year (she is 2 on Sunday) she'll be connecting the sounds to the words. It seems like a natural thing to do.

Don't worry if your kids are advanced when they go to kindergarten Lisa. Elementary school was very remedial for me, but my mother worked with the school to get me the extra work I needed. I spent most of grade one reading older kid books that I got from the library with a special pass and doing long division on a little chalkboard. I did PE and art and took all the tests and did the projects with the other kids. Projects are great because you can be as advanced as you want. There are ways to sneak in extra learning if you are proactive with your kids' education.

Lissa - posted on 06/10/2011




All of my children could read long before school, my youngest two read at three. I didn't even realise at first they were reading, I thought they were just memorising the stories. We never taught them to read but through lots of books being available to them and read to them they learned. My children were obviously ready for that and one is presently waiting to be assessed. I wouldn't "teach" my child just read and have fun with books.

Minnie - posted on 06/10/2011




This is why I hate public school. Because my children can already read (the 2 1/2 year old not as much as the 5 year old, obviously) and kindergarten will be remedial for them. But it hasn't stopped me from teaching them!

We're very much into books and reading here and I love it when they both go pick out a book and sit down together and work out the words of the story.

Teresa - posted on 06/10/2011




Teach her. ANd if the school can't teach her according to her level of need then keep on teaching her at home. Our public schools are a fiasco.

Jenn - posted on 06/10/2011




I could read when I started kindergarten, and I was just fine. Mind you, in the following years I did get bored with some of the other work, but they found enrichment classes for me to attend to keep me challenged. I say if she is interested, then teach her.

Amy - posted on 06/10/2011




I think it depends on perspective. I want my children to develop the creativity and the play earlier. Yes, I read to them two books at nap, two before bed. They love it. I don't try to make them sound out letters or anything like that. My daughter turned four and was asking about sounds they make since, hey, we read all the time and she just caught on. Good for you kiddo!! She's not even five and can read smaller words and recognizes some larger ones. Reading over and over is helping her and she's loving it. But I refuse to push her. I want her to enjoy reading, not go....ugh, mom do we HAVE to do this? Phonetics are far more important than word memorization to me. My brother in law has a difficult time and it was how he was taught. My husband hates reading because it was pushed on him from an early age.

My sister and I were just read to and went to school like every other kid and I love to read and so does she...and she even writes novels.

Jurnee - posted on 06/09/2011




All of my children learned to read before they started school, some very well, others just some words and basic phonics skills. I never had a problem in kindergarten, the teachers they had always found ways to modify the lessons for all the children to feel included. There was still plenty for them to learn, and the different teaching styles never posed a problem. I used a combination of whole words and phonics, My duaghter was 3 when she said she wanted to read and I saw no reason not to teach her. I was only 19 at the time and didnt even think about it affecting her future schooling, so I did what a parent does and I taught her. It worked so well with her that I did the same with my other three. They all love reading for pleasure till this day.

[deleted account]

If she's interested, then teach her. But do NOT force it or frustrate her. It is pretty rare that a two year old is ready to read. And even if she is reading and recognizing words, she may not comprehend them. Be sure to 'teach' that skill as well...asking her to tell you what she just read...talking about the plot (beginning middle and end) and characters...'reading' the pictures in a book to understand what the story is about.

If she truly is able to read and understand what she read, she *may* be gifted. In my state if she tested as gifted, the school district is required to provide resources for her.

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