to not be teaching my 2 year old phonics?

(128 Posts)
nancerama Mon 11-Nov-13 14:39:10

It seems that competitive parenting is creeping into my social circle of what were, up until now, laid back lovely parents of toddlers.

DS is 2.5 and his friends are all of a similar age, give or take a few months. Of late, everyone seems to be dashing out and purchasing Jolly Phonics packs or similar, because, apparently, their DCs really, really want to read.

DS loves books and we read together for around 1 hour a day, but I just can't bring myself to start formal education. My heart says we should have lots of fun reading together and understanding books, but my head (and my fellow parents) tell me that it's important to give him a head start before he starts school.

Please, fellow mumsnetters. Reassure me that they are all bonkers.

coppertop Mon 11-Nov-13 14:41:41

They are all bonkers.

They could let the DCs watch Alphablocks on CBeebies instead. Much cheaper! wink

frazzeled Mon 11-Nov-13 14:44:21

You are totally right -my dd has just started phonics at school at age 4 and that is the right age. Just enjoy!!

Crowler Mon 11-Nov-13 14:45:51

God, OP, I feel for you. I wish that everyone could just chill the fuck out in the parenting department.

My social circle is dominated by my kids' friends' parents because I moved to the UK as a 31 year old. So I have to listen to a lot of this crap. I need to branch out.

EdithWeston Mon 11-Nov-13 14:46:34

I thought my DC were interested in reading early, but that was at about 3.5, not 2.5!

Yes, they are bonkers. Reading with your DC is by far the better thing to be doing. If you want something 'improving' try Doctor Seuss - don't try and teach from it, rather just enjoy the word play.

I taught my DD the alphabet at around 18 months....she was totally obsessed with letters and numbers and knew all the names and sounds very quickly...

She's nearly 3 and has forgotten most of them now grin

Do what you like, if they take an interest then encourage it, if they don't then it doesn't matter at this age.

LittleMissGreen Mon 11-Nov-13 14:48:06

My (autistic) DS1 truly wanted to read by age 2. He would throw a tantrum if anyone suggested he could "read a book" rather than "look at a book" as he couldn't read. He couldn't walk past signs without needing to know what they said, couldn't eat a yogurt without knowing what ALL the writing on the pot said.
He knew all his single letter phonics by 2 and worked out himself how to blend them by age 3.

However, DS2 and 3 had no interest in letters at all until the term before they started school (and they are September birthdays so were nearly 5 at the time). DS2 was considered gifted in literacy by the October of his reception year - without any 'early' phonics input. Waiting until he was interested was really not a problem, pushing him when he was a toddler definitely would have been.

ReallyTired Mon 11-Nov-13 14:50:22

Jolly phonics is brilliant, but if you introduce at two years old then they will be bored of it before they are ready. Most four year olds learn to read really quickly with jolly phonics when they are ready. This is why school starts at the age of four and not two years old.

rockybalboa Mon 11-Nov-13 14:51:57

Utter bonkers. Ignore the pushy parents and have fun playing Happyland (or whatever) instead!!

YouTheCat Mon 11-Nov-13 14:53:46

OP, you are doing everything right.

My kids loved their Phonics Bus - more ds (who has severe autism) than dd but I got it because they loved pressing buttons and getting sounds back. I didn't love it so much but my own fault for buying it.

Pushing books on children and making it like work will only serve to put most kids off.

CecilyP Mon 11-Nov-13 14:54:08

They are all bonkers! Of course their DCs don't really want to read - it is just parental one-upmanship. Continue talking to and reading to your DS. Sing songs and play counting games. Why does he need to learn what he will be learning at school before he actually goes to school? Would you feed him with a big nosh before he goes to a party? Your head should be where your heart is. It seems to be just a fad, similar in its faddishness to the old 'Teach your Baby to Read' flashcards (currently very much frowned upon now phonics is de rigueur).

ben5 Mon 11-Nov-13 14:54:21

Let her be a 2 year old. Relax and enjoy . She'll learn by playing

nancerama Mon 11-Nov-13 14:54:44

Phew! I was starting to feel like an island of laziness, particularly since DS refuses to potty train either.

I'm getting the pitying looks from them when I say I'm concentrating on allowing him to explore and understand books. I'm being treated like a mad hippy.

DS is (and will always be) an only child. It's so important for me to develop at his own pace. I don't want to baby him, but I'm in no rush to make him grow up.

Crowler Mon 11-Nov-13 14:56:13

It will get worse before it gets better, I'm afraid.

YANBU. Keep reading to him, and encourage him in anything that he takes an interest in, but phonics at 2? I don't even do phonics with my 3.8yo; she recognises most letters probably thanks to CBeebies and can sound out simple words but I don't push it. She'll learn it when she starts school.

EdithWeston Mon 11-Nov-13 14:57:07

Nothing wrong with being a mad hippy!

NewBlueShoesToo Mon 11-Nov-13 14:58:09

They will be fed up with phonics by the time they reach school, the teacher will soon work out they are not all child geniuses and your child will have a wide range if skills and experiences from doing other things ( which are much more fun!).
Yes they are bonkers.

HaroldTheGoat Mon 11-Nov-13 14:58:12

I've never even HEARD of jolly phonics. DS is 2.5.

You could say ah, don't need that, he's been reading a while now. grin

pumpkinkitty Mon 11-Nov-13 14:58:40

I read the title at year 2 child. I was going to say YABABU not teaching a 6 to phonics when they learn it at school.

However, a 2 yo child learning phonics! Bonkers!

My mum had a friend who started flash cards and phonics when his DS was 2. He is now 20something and learnt no quicker than any other children!

CreamyCooler Mon 11-Nov-13 15:00:45

LittleMissGreen my 2 younger DS's sound like your DS1. DS2 was 2 and a half and DS3 was just 18 months when they knew their letters and all the sounds. I know it sounds crazy. They were ahead with their English and reading until about age 12 and then things evened out.

pianodoodle Mon 11-Nov-13 15:01:35

DD is 2 and a bit. She frequently tells me "I'm reading my book!"

She isn't btw grin

But she'll happily sit with one for ages and point out all the stuff/colours etc...

It doesn't make me want to rush out and get a tutor in just yet smile

I feel a bit mad now it really unusual for a pre-18 month old to be interested in letters? She used to make us tell her what they were and once she knew them all we had to use her magna doodle to write each letter and she'd name it, say the phonic sound and then the animal beginning with that letter. I'm not stealth boasting or anything, but reading the responses here it sounds really unusual (she's an only, I have little experience of young children). She first showed interest at 14 months and knew them all by 18 months. Around 2.3 she could do the "Cuh-ah-t....CAT" thing, and could recognise "". She's lost interest totally now, but I'm hoping she'll pick it up again quickly when she starts school.

Again, not boasting, I was always gentley encouraging rather than pushy, but is that really unusual?

pianodoodle Mon 11-Nov-13 15:04:00

I'm not even very keen on phonics, but I suppose that's how she'll be taught when she goes to school.

givemeaclue Mon 11-Nov-13 15:05:03

I wouldn't join in with this behaviour

jacks365 Mon 11-Nov-13 15:05:19

I'm using flashcards with dd who is just 2 but nothing to do with phonics I'm trying to encourage her speech. Could not imagine even trying to teach phonics anytime soon. .

pianodoodle Mon 11-Nov-13 15:10:39

ScarletLady I'm not sure I don't think it's all that unusual. DD always liked numbers/colours from that sort of age. Letters not so much but she likes them now.

I put it down to numtums having a catchier theme tune than alphablocks... grin

It's all just copying I think really. Sometimes I think she has "counted" something but most of the time it'll just be parrot fashion.

Whatever the reason, I just let her get on with it rather than rushing out buying encyclopedias!

tortoisesarefab Mon 11-Nov-13 15:12:45

I am probably going to sound awful now but isnt that what school is for? They are babies, they should be playing and going for walks in the park

spritesoright Mon 11-Nov-13 15:13:13

As someone who works in education I'd say your friends are doing their children a disservice and more likely to put them off than encourage children at that age.
Phonics improves reading accuracy but not comprehension. Stick with your instincts!

Judyandherdreamofhorses Mon 11-Nov-13 15:14:01

I'm not teaching my 4 year old phonics, or anything else 'academic' for that matter. It's not necessary. She needs to be able to do and play lots of other things first. And I'm a teacher...

5madthings Mon 11-Nov-13 15:14:15

I never bothered with jolly phonics books etc at this age but I did talk about letters amd sounds, not in a trying to teach them way just in everyday conversation,

So my 2 yr old knows her name starts with 'M' and of we are in a lift I will say 'press g for ground' etc if we want the ground floor.

Also with elder siblings around the younger ones have learmt their phonics with them/because of them so ds4 knew all hsi phonics before he started school but we didmt actively teach them to him as such and he was jsit interested.

Ultimately they are all diff, my elder two were not interested in reading til 6-7 but when they wanted to learn it clicked straight away and they whizzed ahead with it. Ds3 has been more of the slow and steady progress with reading.

So no concerted effort at this age but yes to general noticing letters amd answering questions etc ie about signs we see etc.

NewBlueShoesToo Mon 11-Nov-13 15:18:24

If you want to do something that will really help with reading and writing then read loads of books together, repeat books so they become familiar with the language, read and say rhymes and songs and give your child fiddly toys to help small motor control for writing. A child who is ready to learn once they reach school will pick up phonics quickly.

Madlizzy Mon 11-Nov-13 15:20:45

Ignore the lot of them. Just because their kids will be able to read words, it doesn't mean that they'll understand what they're reading, so no point really! Enjoy your little one being a baby.

nancerama Mon 11-Nov-13 15:24:14

Wow! That's pretty unanimous. How have I managed to surround myself with such people, when they seem to be in the minority?

Perhaps it's a SAHM thing - I am one, as are most of my friends. Perhaps they feel the need to prove they are doing something with their DC while they're at home. Thankfully DH doesn't care as long as DS and I are happy.

BlackeyedSusan Mon 11-Nov-13 15:27:40

teaching reading to two year rold compises of, reding to two yeaar old, talking about the pictures and lots of rhymes, singing and word play, eg rhyming his/her own name.

if the child is interested in letter. (ds was) follow thierr lead. ds learned his by 2.5 then did nothing more with them for two years until he could hear the first sound in words and blend cvc words.

dd on the other hand, wanted me to write peoples names and began to recognise them. they both went at their own pace.

Whiteclouds Mon 11-Nov-13 15:36:20

my son is the same age. im not doing this so no yanbu.

YouTheCat Mon 11-Nov-13 15:41:09

I teach phonics. I hate phonics. grin

Can I just say, if anyone is teaching the sounds themselves, can you make sure that you are saying them correctly. Taught incorrectly, it just means we have to 'undo' all your hard work once they get to school anyway.

This is what our school follows.

CrohnicallyTired Mon 11-Nov-13 15:49:04

I was just coming on here to say what blackeyedsusan said- lots of word play and games, like rhymes and alliteration- things like 'silly Susan's socks stink'. And reading to/with them. And singing songs. Pointing out text in the environment.

Youthecat- and that! For anyone unfamiliar with phonics, basically you want the pure sound- mmmmmm not muh. I had a child write the word 'ham' the other day. Tools us ages to realise he meant 'hammer' - he had sounded it out 'huh a muh'. Some sounds like 'b' and 'p' you can't help a little 'uh' creeping in, but make it as quiet as you can!

mrspremise Mon 11-Nov-13 15:49:24

I was a SAHM before I went back to work, I didn't teach my children to read or write before they started school. I felt that it was more important to teach them life skills like sitting quietly, playing well with other children of the same and different ages, following simple sets of instructions, eating meals nicely using cutlery correctly, dressing themselves, going to the toilet without help, etc. Those are things that schools shouldn't have to teach, but often end up doing -- because parents would rather attempt to teach things that they can show off about--

nancerama Mon 11-Nov-13 15:50:33

YouTheCat - that's one of the things I'm bothered about. Mostly I want time at home to be fun for him, but also I have fear that teaching the wrong thing will do more harm than good.

madmomma Mon 11-Nov-13 15:51:00

YANBU at all, but I taught my first daughter to read before reception and I'm doing the same with my younger 2. I don't use phonics though. Simply because the schools where I live are shit. I certainly don't think it's necessary if they're going to a good school, and I couldn't care less about the competitive element. I'll be teaching them as much numeracy as possible before school, too for the same reason. It makes me sad that I feel it's necessary but there you go.

YouTheCat Mon 11-Nov-13 15:53:00

That's very true, MrsP.

That's what I taught dd (and ds as far as I could) - sitting quietly, putting up her hand, managing her shoes/coat etc. So she wasn't a pick of bother because she already knew what was expected. She did know her letter names and sounds but that was because she taught them to herself. I was most lax in that department. grin

YouTheCat Mon 11-Nov-13 15:54:13

I definitely agree that being 2 should be utter fun.

madmomma Mon 11-Nov-13 15:57:43

I'm not sure why everyone on mn seems so anti-early reading though. I totally get why you wouldn't want to hot-house and put pressure on a child, and of course play is all-important, but teaching doesn't have to mean pressurising, and learning can be stimulating and fun. Feels like there's a bit of inverse snobbery in this area sometimes, a bit like with the potty training topic, where rather than just choosing to train one's own child at a later age, people start saying it's wrong to train them early.

siblingrevelry Mon 11-Nov-13 15:58:32

Spot on mrspremise.

Life skills and a bit of independence (wiping bottom, getting dressed & undressed for PE, doing coat up etc) will be far more valuable when they start reception. And good behaviour and how to play!

PresidentServalan Mon 11-Nov-13 16:04:20

I could read by the time I was 3 but that was before Jilly Phonics were invented grin

PresidentServalan Mon 11-Nov-13 16:04:55

Or even Jolly - see, it did me no good! grin

nancerama Mon 11-Nov-13 16:05:44

I'm no anti-early reading, but there's a massive difference to me between sharing books or fun letter and number songs and sitting down with workbooks.

DS already recognises some words because we read together all the time, but I don't see that as a cue to formally teach him.

Aeroaddict Mon 11-Nov-13 16:09:32

YANBU OP. When DS was at pre school they made a point of not teaching them any phonics, as the school had asked that they didn't. DS picked up reading really quickly once he started school. Enjoy your little boy being 2. There really is no rush!

madmomma Mon 11-Nov-13 16:12:39

well yes nancerama I agree. I never used workbooks, just storybooks and games.
I agree with the poster upthread who said that 'that's what schools are for', but I have a pesimisstic outlook on educational provision these days, and I now see it as primarily just socialisation. If they learn anything worth knowing then that's a bonus. I know there are lots of excellent schools, just not in my area, sadly.

Joysmum Mon 11-Nov-13 16:14:44

I did Jolly panics with my daughter as she loved reading and I wanted to do it in a way that was compatible with how her school would when she was old enough.

It's not formal, it is fun, or at least it should be! Loads of fun. Loads and loads of fun...did I mention that!

On the other hand, she wasn't keen on counting or numbers so we just went with what she liked. If parent are pushing things ore schoolers aren't interested in or teaching in the formal sense of the word then that's pushy. Play is learning and that's how we've always learnt.

Now she's in her first year at senior school, still loves reading, still not fussed about maths. I'm still looking to support her learning by finding ways to make it fun and relevant. Something I've found more necessary this year in the transition to big school. Once she sees the point then she's plugged in and interested then I don't need to continue.

Joysmum Mon 11-Nov-13 16:15:33

Jolly panics. Omg that's a brilliant autocorrect grin

magichamster Mon 11-Nov-13 16:16:06

It always makes me chuckle how some parents feel the need to push reading. Why isn't there the same pressure for maths or science?

By sharing books, singing songs and generally talking to your child, you are teaching them to read. Decoding is only part of reading - I would be able to read an astro physics book, but I couldn't tell you what it meant smile

hettienne Mon 11-Nov-13 16:20:26

I work with 2 and 3 year olds. Teaching "reading" at this age is more about encouraging repetition, rhythm and rhyme, reading familiar stories, allowing children to fill in the words they know in repeated refrains or guess the rhyming word. Being able to handle books and know which way the print goes, that written words convey meaning and start to recognise familiar words and letters.

Most children of 2 years don't have clear enough speech to use phonic sounds, and many parents don't teach the sounds correctly anyway.

It's great if children can recognise their own names by the time they're 4, but being able to dress/undress, follow instructions, toilet independently and sit quietly and listen are more important skills than phonics before then.

madmomma Mon 11-Nov-13 16:20:46

grin @ jollypanics
magic I feel even more panic about maths, because we are still trying to force our 15yr old to learn times tables, due to primary school not teaching them to her. I just wish I'd taught her them by rote when she was little so she wouldn't have to struggle now.

ATouchNervous Mon 11-Nov-13 16:40:21

I didn't do them before DD started this year in reception and I'm so glad I didn't.

She is utterly filled with joy coming home from school telling me all about the letters and words she learned today. I wouldn't have taught them as the school is teaching her (Ruth Miskin phonics, not Jolly Phonics) which would have been confusing for her plus it would have taken away some of the excitement and pride of learning something new at school.

TBH she was ready last year to start phonics, but I'm glad I waited, she is learning something new each day and so proud of herself.

I just made sure that we had lots of fun reading books together, with lots of trips to the library.

cornflakegirl Mon 11-Nov-13 17:23:08

I agree that it's unnecessary, unless your DC wants to do it. If they do start asking about letters and words, then the various resources available can be quite handy so that you get the pronunciations right.

magichamster - I do "push" maths too, actually. I'm not into hothousing, but literacy and numeracy are fundamental building blocks, so if my children show an interest, I will absolutely encourage it. As I will any other interest. With the possible exception of Zelda.

A lot of schools (including ours) are moving away from Jolly Phonics to Read Write Inc. I have to say I love this programme, the books are great and it is easy to teach. The people that come round with books and things to workplaces have a set of books and some sounds magnets for £13 at the moment-that is a bargain. I have bought a set for a youngster I know, safe in the knowledge that her Mum will just read them to her, not attempt to formally teach it.
Let them be babies and toddlers for as long as possible!

MamaBear17 Mon 11-Nov-13 17:30:23

Bonkers! My dd is 2 and loves books too. She pretends to read to her teddies and can recite certain books that we have read over and over from memory. This led dh to believe that she could read when she was about 20months! She's was an early talker and dh got all excited when she appeared to 'read'. In a teacher, as if dh and we will not do any formal education with our toddler at all. Just enjoy your toddler!

Snoopingforsoup Mon 11-Nov-13 21:49:26

My heart sank reading that.
They're bonkers.
Plus they will likely turn their kids off reading.
Carry on reading stories for fun. My DS had a reading age of 12 when he was aged 6 because we read together, went to the library together and he loved stories.
He still does.
Fostering a love of reading is more important than Biff and Chip before school.

PrimalLass Mon 11-Nov-13 21:51:36

My child taught himself to read by watching Superwhy. Everyone thinks I am a pushy parent rather than a lazy one who lets her kids watch too much tv grin

The Jolly Phonics songs are on youtube.

Snoopingforsoup Mon 11-Nov-13 21:51:37

Sorry, fostering a love of books rather than learning to read.
Long day!

ShoeWhore Mon 11-Nov-13 21:55:26

Utterly bonkers! There are about a billion other things your 2 yo could and should be doing instead.

grin at jolly panics.

SatinSandals Mon 11-Nov-13 22:08:41

Bonkers! Go with your instincts. (Reading isn't a race).

pixwix Mon 11-Nov-13 22:15:54

grin @ jolly panics !

Ds1 is now 16 - I do remember when he was about two, someone bought him one of those v-tech alphabet electronic thingies - it had different setting for the phonic sounds, and for the 'name' of the letter etc.

I do remember that at two, he gave it a good solid two year old hammering for the noises grin

I also recall that if you put it on the phonic setting, and pressed 'F' and 'C' in quick succession, you got a passable imitaion of 'FUCK' - amused me and ex-dh endlessly blush

at about 2 and a half, he started to show an interest in letters, and we played alphabet bingo, and alphabet snap, then later he caught onto blending letters into words yadda yadda - same for ds2 really... it was like watching something catch fire - the transition from letters, sounds,blending, reading happened really quickly.

we didn't do jolly phonics etc, we just played games with them, but they were reading by nursery so nursery did biff chip and kipper, with the dodgy bloke hiding in the bushes..

It was a bit like potty training - you read all the bumpf, and it sounds like splitting the atom - looking back, it was a case of keep reading to em, keep em interested in stories, and engage with them, and let them lead you - it's not a contest.

Mine were early readers, but by yr 2, the ones that took more time had all caught up.

Oh - and on a long car journey recently, I found that I could still recite 'Peace at last' verbatim blush boys are now 16 & 10 and were ptsl!

imip Mon 11-Nov-13 22:20:30

Crazy! I think they get it much quicker at 4 and would rather just read to them at any younger age. Dds have done super well with reading regardless in the top sets. Not that that's really important, generally, by adulthood we can all read :-)

littlegem12 Mon 11-Nov-13 22:28:26

YANBU they are sad!!!

morethanpotatoprints Mon 11-Nov-13 22:34:43

OP, they are bonkers. No matter how far advanced or ready to learn a child is, by 18 years old they are all the same.
Let him enjoy his childhood, you are doing brilliantly reading to him and that should be enough until school. imo anyway.

maillotjaune Mon 11-Nov-13 22:48:26

Madness. Although like someone upthread, people might think I am a pushy parent whose 3yo can spell lots of words but the little weirdo taught himself by asking what the track listing on various CDs were and using magnetic letters to copy grin

He scorns phonics though, prefers letter names!

WooWooOwl Mon 11-Nov-13 22:57:42

Apart from anything else, it really doesn't do children any favours to learn phonics before they know the alphabet and letter names. I think that gets forgotten in this craze over phonics, and we should go back to the days of Sesame Street and their alphabet songs!

ringaringarosy Mon 11-Nov-13 23:21:14

If kids are interested in reading then just read to them its easy,if they want to know what letter sounds like what they will ask!People are so pushy these days.

Valdeeves Mon 11-Nov-13 23:21:27

I've just learn how to teach children to read so I thought I'd try it out on my son who just turned 4 - school next year.
He's very bright and comes home from preschool showing lots of learning and excellent memory.
Was he interested?
Not at all!
Did I continue?
Nope - he'll learn when he's ready.

ringaringarosy Mon 11-Nov-13 23:23:10

Theres also lots of research of how learning to read too early can limit childrens learning capacity of other things,in Steiner schools they dont even begin to learn to read or pick up a pencil til they are 7,yet by the time they are 11 they are further ahead in reading and writing than mainstream schooled peers.

scaevola Tue 12-Nov-13 07:17:21

Can you link the research about early reading being detrimental? And do you happen to know off hand how they evaluated the method and competence of delivery of teaching in those studies?

BTW, there is no need at all to know the alphabet in a sequence or to say "letter names" in order to read.

scaevola Tue 12-Nov-13 07:17:48

Can you link the research about early reading being detrimental? And do you happen to know off hand how they evaluated the method and competence of delivery of teaching in those studies?

BTW, there is no need at all to know the alphabet in a sequence or to say "letter names" in order to read.

PoppyAmex Tue 12-Nov-13 07:22:49

I think Finland has the highest literacy rate and quality between teenagers and apparently they learn to read at 7.

Most continental countries start teaching at 6 years old and there's plenty of recent research that points to better outcomes.

PicardyThird Tue 12-Nov-13 07:28:47

I don't know about better outcomes, but I live in a country where they start school between 6 and 7. Most kids know their letters when they start and can recognise/write their names but their reading abilities usually don't go beyond that. Give them a year and it's all in place. I did start teaching my two phonics (yes, using JP) at around 5 or 6, i.e. before starting school, but that was to get their English literacy solidly in place before they started reading in the local language.

harryhausen Tue 12-Nov-13 08:51:18

OP you are totally doing the right thing.

I'm book mad (it's my jobsmile). We constantly had books around and read bedtime stories every night etc.

My dd is nearly 9 now. She's extremely good at literacy (teacher put at 3 years ahead last parents evening). However, she hadn't learnt even one letter of the alphabet before school. It never even occurred to me.

I did the same with my son. While he's doing ok, he's by no means exceptionalgrin. I'm glad I didn't do anything any earlier. At 6, he's comes home to 'play' and reading/writing/homework is the last thing he wants. I can't imagine how much more full he would find it if I'd been drilling him in phonics since toddlerhood!

Keep doing what you're doing. Your way is what's recommended.

harryhausen Tue 12-Nov-13 08:52:37

*dull he would find it.

harryhausen Tue 12-Nov-13 08:54:08

I've just read the "jolly panics" typo. Utterly brilliant. It will be called this from this moment ongrin

CloverkissSparklecheeks Tue 12-Nov-13 09:02:27

YANBU in spite of what people on MN say I know quite a few YR teachers who say there are very few children who can read before school and usually those who can would have been able to read regardless of parental help.

There are some children who are interested at that age but using work books etc is unnecessary IMO. DS1 desperately wanted to read at that age but DS2 did not even know all his lettersnwhen starting school, he was not interested so we did not try really.

pianodoodle Tue 12-Nov-13 09:10:03

Theres also lots of research of how learning to read too early can limit childrens learning capacity of other things,in Steiner schools they dont even begin to learn to read or pick up a pencil til they are 7,yet by the time they are 11 they are further ahead in reading and writing than mainstream schooled peers

Although I agree about not bothering about these things at 2 years old, I have to say from my experience of working in a Steiner school it definitely wasn't the case that they were ahead of mainstream schools by any stretch... certainly not in academic terms anyway.

CreamyCooler Tue 12-Nov-13 09:54:39

I agree with Cloverkiss, my DC just seemed to do it by themselves. They were very, very late talkers but seemed to be really interested in letters when they were toddlers. My health visitor and speech therapist both said don't encourage the letters, you have to learn things in a certain order but I just knew something was happening even though they could hardly speak when they would point out letters and words. It was only Portage that were supportive.

nancerama Tue 12-Nov-13 13:57:52

I think my peers are most definitely suffering from the Jolly Panics.

Retroformica Tue 12-Nov-13 14:31:45

Continue as you are. If aged 3 or 4 she shows interest in letters, then maybe introduce a few jolly phonics but dont go mad. Life is for fun and play. To be honest it will make no difference in the long term either - kids seem to move sets constantly ending up naturally where they should be by juniors. A massive phonics push early on is often more about the parents ego. Yes parental support is central to a child's general long term academic success but at the tender age of 2, letters shouldn't be on the cards.

Retroformica Tue 12-Nov-13 14:33:18

I also haven't found Steiner kids to be ahead by secondary age.

hopskipandthump Tue 12-Nov-13 14:35:31

Didn't do any early phonics with DS1. Pre-school did it when he was 4 and reception continued it. He's in Y1 and a free reader who reads chapter books to himself in bed at night.

DS2 is in reception and just beginning to read - he is getting it very fast. No early phonics for him either.

DD is 2. I don't plan to do anything early for her. She watches her brothers do it though so sometimes I suspect her of secretly learning to read in order to catch me out when I skip bits of the stupidly long bedtime story she's chosen.

When they're ready they just get it. No benefit from early introduction IMO.

spiderlight Tue 12-Nov-13 14:44:50

I was reading at 2 1/2 so I felt as though DS ought to be as well but he wasn't even remotely interested so I left it and just went back to reading to him. Had a vague attempt with some phonics flash cards at about 3 1/2 but again he wasn't interested at all. He started school at 4 1/2 knowing a fair number of letters and able to read his name but not much else - now in Y2 he's merrily reading Y6 books. So no, there's no need whatsoever to push flash cards at 2 1/2! It would have put DS off, I think.

SkinnybitchWannabe Tue 12-Nov-13 14:47:57

Yanbu. None of my 3 ds were taught any phonics at home.
They are all amazing readers..middle ds hates reading but reads well, if that makes sense!
Im surrounded by mums who cant stop going on about how wonderful their kids are at reading.
Once a super braggy one wrot eon Facebook how she didnt know what books to buy her 10year old ds because he has the 'brain of a 14year old' I wrote, well for a start give the 14 year old his brain back then buy a David Walliams book! grin

Grittzio Tue 12-Nov-13 14:54:57

Bonkers, enjoy playing with your DS, read to him, do some numbers, but forget what everyone else is doing. Let the school take care of phonics. I was always led to believe if you don't teach phonics correctly when kids get to school teachers have to correct which can lead to confusion, they would much rather have a clean slate to work on. Support it once DS is at school. My DS who's 9 couldn't read or write and is now in top sets, he soon caught up and was a summer baby.

bigbrick Tue 12-Nov-13 14:57:28

I've never done this & my kids who are older are strong readers. I think pressure is off putting

Mim78 Tue 12-Nov-13 14:59:52

They are all bonkers.

They will have to start doing phonics from scratch at school anyway (my dd has just started reception) and when they do they all pick it up quickly - it's a really good system IMO but no need for a "head start". I won't make any difference as far as I can see.

Much better to encourage a love of stories as you are doing.

If they "really really want to read" or are super bright they will probably start recognising words anyway, and definitely letters. They encourage them to recognise and write their names at nursery/preschool. My dd didn't start recognising much more than her name before school but I'm sure if she was really keen on reading she would have.

pianodoodle Tue 12-Nov-13 15:05:37

Once a super braggy one wrot eon Facebook how she didnt know what books to buy her 10year old ds because he has the 'brain of a 14year old'

Lol from some of the 14 year olds I know I'd prefer to have the 10 year old one personally grin

sparklysilversequins Tue 12-Nov-13 15:09:35

I never did phonics with my dc, seemed like ridiculously hard work and making things far more complicated than they needed to be. Made sure dc were surrounded by books and read to them every day. one free reader at age 8 the other level 9 at age 6 but that's by the schools reckoning I would say she is pretty much free reading now, age 7.

Aquariusgirl86 Tue 12-Nov-13 15:12:20

Nope I also have a 2.5 year old and am not doing this

Crowler Tue 12-Nov-13 15:36:27

Once a super braggy one wrot eon Facebook how she didnt know what books to buy her 10year old ds because he has the 'brain of a 14year old'

And this is why I'm no longer on FB. I can't stand it. I find bragging just unbearable.

harryhausen Tue 12-Nov-13 18:44:19

I'm toying with giving up on FB for this reason too. You wouldn't believe the pile of crap that someone wrote on there last week. I would repeat it, but would be scared it would out me.

YouTheCat Tue 12-Nov-13 18:45:52

Oh go on. I could do with a laugh. grin

nancerama Tue 12-Nov-13 18:47:10

PM it Harry. Please!

Crowler Tue 12-Nov-13 19:17:47

Come on Harry Hausen.

Paraphrase, maybe?

eightandthreequarters Tue 12-Nov-13 19:21:30

Four is very young to start phonics, I'd say five is better and six better still.

Two is so out there I won't even comment.

harryhausen Wed 13-Nov-13 07:44:58

Well, parent had been into school for a delayed parents evening ('checked into' the school on fb!). The moment they came out the fb status appeared. Basically saying that the teacher had announced her dd was 'beyond awesome', had declared her 'a genius' and he wished that more pupils were exactly like her. It went on, was like an essay. 'Amazing' was used 10 times, stunning 4 times. Apparently all said by the teacher.

The girl's 10.

Of course, we were all desperate to know this. Cue comments from friends saying things like

"Awwww she's do special hun" (she's not)

"Well, she has an amazing mother" (she isn't)

Blah blah blah.

Phonics is a pile of shite, so YANBU.

pianodoodle Wed 13-Nov-13 08:07:03

Lol harry

I'm constantly saying "guess what DD (2) said today?!"

The difference is I say it to my husband, and then we both gush about how wonderfully smart advanced she must be etc... because it's in the privacy of our own home and she's our baby grin

We aren't damn fool enough to think the rest of the world want to hear it! We're also aware that we might be ever so slightly biased and she's more than likely just a normal 2 year old wink

harryhausen Wed 13-Nov-13 08:56:22

Exactly Pianodoodle. It's the totally lack of self awareness, or even normal social niceties that blows my mind. We all think our kids are great/funny/genius's etc, but why announce it on the equivalent of a huge notice board?

I even had the same parent banging on at me last year about how her amazing daughter had been given a Headmasters award (for something or other) and how rare these were and none had been given out since 2002. I stood silently nodding in full, self awareness that my own dd had 2 on the fridge at home.

It's madness. I never engage, but yet it still comes at me.

Sorry to derail the threadgrin

Pearlsaplenty Wed 13-Nov-13 09:01:30


It is silly to teach 2 year olds phonics. They have so many other things to learn about before they need to learn about phonics. Whatever happened to learning colours, counting, animals, household objects, vehicles, clothing, food, weather, dinosaurs etc etc hmm

Tailtwister Wed 13-Nov-13 09:02:26

I do think some children show an interest in reading at a very early age and it seems sensible to just go with it if that's the case. However, if you do go down the phonics route then you run the risk of them being bored in their first year of school. I didn't do anything apart from read to DS1 and he's already bored with the books he's bringing home having just been in school 1 term.

sherazade Wed 13-Nov-13 09:09:59

you read to your 2 year old for an hour everyday?

Joysmum Wed 13-Nov-13 09:38:32

I think there's a lot of projecting by others as to the intentions and competitiveness of people like me who have been using Jolly Phonics (yay, no autocorrect mishaps this time!). I certainly didn't look to make my child better than other children, still don't. I just want her to be as happy and good as she can be.

Every one of us are encouraging learning through play whether it's making and decorating cakes, doing a bit of art, sand and water play or Jolly Phonics. For us it was just another fun way to play.

I really don't agree with formal lessons at an early age but I love seeing what my daughters latest interest was and running with it and hopefully having that interest help with things she's not good or interested in.

For instance, I mentioned before that although she loved the whole reading and writing experience, and still does, she never like rout learning and was later than most children at learning to count and later her times tables. Things that required judgement like colours and vise of language she was pretty swift to learn. That's why cooking was great, it involved maths and it's fun with consequences good and bad if you do or don't follow instructions. It also teaches so many other life lessons but above all it's fun so she doesn't know she's learning. Jolly Phonics was just the same, it's a game.

As I said, I'm sure all of us are happy for our kids to learn and welcome it and that the real debate seems to be about formal learning, rather than informal and fun learning through play. Tbh I think anyone who is judging others or seeing them as competitive wouldn't be right for the majority of people I know who did Jolly Phonics, we are just using a tried and trusted method when others are still doing the same thing of encouraging an interest in reading but without a specific method and others still preferring to not do any reading at all with their children.

The word 'pushy' has come up a lot. If you look back through this thread, I don't see parents who did phonics saying you should all be doing it, but I do see lots of parents who haven't done it passing judgement and saying you shouldn't. The anti camp are far more pushy in their beliefs than the pro camp. Says a lot I think.

nancerama Wed 13-Nov-13 09:53:56

But Joysmum, surely what you are doing is taking what your child is learning at school and running with it. Encouraging the things she enjoys and finding new ways to explore the things she doesn't understand. Your supporting her formal education, and that's exactly what I hope to do.

Teaching phonics to a 2 year old in the hope that they will be ahead of their peers when they start school is a whole different thing.

nancerama Wed 13-Nov-13 09:54:25

You're. Not your. Auto correct, I promise!

hopskipandthump Wed 13-Nov-13 10:09:34

sherazade - i easily read to my 2yo for an hour a day - more, I would think. That's adding up all the 5 -10 minute reading sessions, she wouldn't sit and concentrate for an hour.

I would think that's pretty normal, isn't it?

GhoulWithADragonTattoo Wed 13-Nov-13 11:11:16

You're right it's obviously ridiculous. Singing the ABC song and reading together is normal at 2. Jolly Phonics is aimed at reception age children and not suitable for a 2.5 year old.

I'd say your friends are risking putting their children off reading when they start school. Imagine how boring it would be doing Jolly Phonics from scratch with your classmates when you've already been doing it for 2 years at home? Also, even if the parents teach the child to read well there is a genuine issue around the suitability of materials for children whose reading age is far above their real age. The content of age 7/8 books, say, is often not appropriate for a 4/5 year old even if they can decode at that level.

nothing jolly about phonics for 2 year olds.

Saying that, my DS was reading by himself age 3


see how easy it is to foster insecurity in others?

Kids want to learn, you can't stop them. There is too much emphasis on formal learning as it is , from too young an age.

How can so many people get it so wrong? Kids need to learn about lots of things, about the world around them, about friendships, about creativity.

Leave those kids alone.

sherazade Wed 13-Nov-13 12:28:22

I say this to parents all the time and i'll say it again:
The great readers aren't the ones who've been 'taught' to read from early on -putting aside the fact that babies and young children can't be forced into reading just as they can't be forced to crawl or walk; they'll only start blending when they're ready so teaching them their sounds early on is a waste of time.

The great readers/achievers are the ones who, at the age of 3 or 4, can pick up a book and read it in their own words, using their imaginations to sequence and narrate their own stories, by building on their own life experiences or on prior knowledge gained from discussion or even the stories their parents have read to them. By the age of 5 or 6 all their peers will be reading and they will eventually plateau and the fact that they know their sounds at the age of 2 will fade into significance.

pianodoodle Wed 13-Nov-13 12:43:09

Half the time if it's a rubbish story I don't even read the words I just describe the pictures...

"Oh look! That kite's stuck up a tree. And here comes a boy with er...a stick, or something" grin

RandallFloyd Wed 13-Nov-13 12:53:22

My DS is 2.3. He know the names of all the letters, their sound, the sounds of some of the double letters (Th. etc) and can sound out simple 3 letter words.

This is, however, naff all to do with me and wholly due to an utter obsession with Alphablocks. And I do mean obsession.

If I let him he would watch it all day every day. He also has loads of the little Alphablocks tiles you get free with the cbeebies magazine and plays with them all day every day. He has a little purse that he fills with them so we can take them every sodding where we go.

He's also great with numbers thanks to a slightly milder obsession with Numberjacks.

I do not, in any way, think this will somehow make him more 'advanced' when he starts school as apart from the fact that he is an August baby they are all at different levels when they start. It all evens out pretty quickly. Plus they all have strengths and weaknesses.

So whilst I may internally beam when we have to stop on every street corner so he can say every letter of the road name, I'm less smug about the fact that he is absolutely rubbish at colours, is nowhere near ready to start potty training, and can't reliably tell me where his nose is!

I have no idea what Jolly Phonics is but teaching a 2 yo how to spell does not sound like my idea of jolly.

RandallFloyd Wed 13-Nov-13 12:55:32

^ By the age of 5 or 6 all their peers will be reading and they will eventually plateau and the fact that they know their sounds at the age of 2 will fade into significance^

Ok, ignore my ramblings. That's a much more concise way of saying what I was trying to say grin

cornflakegirl Wed 13-Nov-13 13:05:03

I agree with Joysmum. Letter sounds are just a thing you can do with your child, like baking, counting, colours, riding a scooter. When my children ask about letters (like they ask about everything), I tell them the letter name and the sound it (most often) makes. I spent some time on the Jolly Phonics website making sure I got those sounds right.

I'm sure children who learn to bake at 7 or 8 are very rapidly as good at it as those who have been involved in baking from an early age. I don't see that as a reason to refuse to bake with a child under 7, or to castigate a parent who buys their child a mini baking set.

LondonJax Wed 13-Nov-13 13:10:25

Similar to your RandallFloyd, our DS was obsessed with one of those bus toys you can get that teaches shapes, numbers and letters. I only realised he was so into it when I heard the blooming toy say "well done" over and over again. We didn't do formal teaching because, to be honest, we didn't know what to do and we felt that it was best to be led by the teacher when he started school. So we just helped support what he was learning at school. One of his classmates was a good reader too but his mum sat up until 10pm, I kid you not, working with the child until they learned the word cat! Madness! Our DS picked up a few words which he learned by memory before he started school. Like Tesco ! Because that's where we shop and he noticed the word on their products at the dinner table. If we went past a shop we'd point out how the word Sunday (as in Sunday opening times) could be two different words Sun and Day so he picked those up. If he showed an interest in other words we'd show him.

We also read a lot, using our finger to trace along the words with our speech, he had two or three short stories before bed and often asked for a story during the day if he was having a little down time. So he was surrounded by words.

He too loved Alpha blocks - they actually taught me a few things I had missed at school due to illness too!

Anyway, he picked up reading very quickly once he started at school. He is now in year two and had a reading age assessment recently which showed he's really advanced but that's because he's enjoying words and we've never put pressure on him to learn, we've just made it fun and helped him see how useful it is to be able to read.

LondonJax Wed 13-Nov-13 13:14:43

Oh and our DS is still having toileting issue, it is medical though and until a year ago couldn't hop! So he may be a word wizard but he still has things to learn and concentrate on.

CreamyCooler Wed 13-Nov-13 13:20:20

I can't see how a toddler learning their letters and sounds is any different than knowing all the names of the hundreds of Thomas the Tank engine trains if that is what they are into.

RandallFloyd Wed 13-Nov-13 13:32:13

It's no different at all creamy. Horses for courses innit.

Kids are weird. Fact.

NoComet Wed 13-Nov-13 13:44:18

Utter nonsense, some DCs read very early and some don't force feeding disinterested ones phonics isn't going to help.

Some early readers do turn out to be G&T. DFs DD for example, but not all.

DD2 couldn't read at all before starting school, but was the best reader in the class by KS1 SATs, could read with expression. By end of Y3 she could happily do a Y6 reading SAT comprehension.

There is no need to rush!

madmomma Wed 13-Nov-13 15:55:41

God how boring - everyone agrees.
I agree with whoever said upthread that the people who sound the pushiest are those who decry teaching early reading to be doing the child a disservice. I haven't heard anyone say that others should teach at home, but many people have said that one shouldn't. My first child was reading fluently in nursery and could read all the take home books in early years. But she wasn't bored at all. She still enjoyed all the books and I stretched her at home. Nor was she confused and in need of the teacher to 'undo' how she was taught at home. She got on with it. She wasn't and isn't super bright. No teacher worth his or her salt is going to have a problem with a child arriving in reception already reading.

LimitedEditionLady Wed 13-Nov-13 18:20:42

My ds loves numbers and is not at all interested in letters so we do number things as he really is obsessed but im no way going to try and teach him anything hes not inquisitive about at the age of 2.Isnt there a certain way to teach this kind of stuff now?Id rather let him do this with his peers at school and support him along with that.Yanbu and shouldnt feel pressured into conforming.

sherazade Wed 13-Nov-13 20:40:17

No teacher worth his or her salt is going to have a problem with a child arriving in reception already reading.

No they aren't, it's actually great when I get children who are able readers. But the able readers:
haven't been 'pushed' or taught at home; they are always self taught
the less able readers are often sitting at home with flashcards and handwriting books and just don't want to know.
Some children are made to write reams of nonsense at home and are less confident writers who worry about spelling or making mistakes.

Children will read when they are ready. Memorising sounds is the least important precursor to reading. Children more vitally need 'pre' reading skills such as being able to enjoy stories independently, recognising rhyming patterns, sequencing and narrating, using pictures for comprehension, etc. Exposing your child to plenty of books and sharing them together, singing rhymes and songs, quality conversation and dialogue with your child, is how you get them to be great readers, not making them memorise sounds.

My dd went to nursery abroad. She missed several months of reception due to limited school places when we moved back to the UK. When she joined reception in November, she didn't know a single letter sound. By January, spring term, she was an almost fluent reader. I did nothing in the way of memorising letter sounds with her. She learnt those at school, but she had an avid interest and passion for books and storytelling which equipped her to be a good reader.

jamdonut Wed 13-Nov-13 21:45:05

I read to all three of my children...piles and piles of books..we loved to snuggle up on the sofa and read and read.

My older two couldn't read before starting school (but very quickly learned) whereas my youngest actually could read when he started Foundation. I didn't teach him ,he just kind of figured it out for himself! His teacher started him on level 4 books,when everyone else was on pictures and no words. Phonics (in school) only helped for spelling and writing.

I wouldn't sweat it. Keep reading loads of books to your DS,and let school teach him phonics when he gets there.

OwlCat Wed 13-Nov-13 22:02:30

We have Jolly Phonics books in the house from my older child but I can't imagine using them with my 2.7 year old for at least another year. He loves being read to and it's the only time that he'll sit still but he's definitely nowhere near ready for reading himself yet.

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