Is it quite common? My DS is 2.2 and has a favourite cartoon (Curious George) in which the name of the episode is shown on white background before it starts. Recently DS has started saying words about the episode before it starts after/whilst just seeing the name. E.g an episode might be called 'Rocket-ride' and DS would say Rocket, fly etc. He's done this with 5 different episodes so far and the only way I can explain it is that he recognises the words in the episode title and knows what's coming. I wouldn't obviously call it reading, but something like it. Do other toddlers do this and should I encourage it somehow?
All three of mine were reading a couple of dozen words by 2yo. The thing to do if you really are interested is see if he recognises it out of context. I know mine were reading those words because they used to pick them out of the newspaper, or books we hadn't read before. Dd2 was particularly quick at picking up words, she'd pick up 2-3 new ones as we read through a book. They were all fluent readers before they went to school and have stayed at the top of the class, but I don't think it's necessarily anything to do with reading early, some other children who didn't read before school caught up round about year 1/2. But they all read a lot for pleasure.
The only thing I'd say with you, is it clear by the screen by anything other than the words what episode it is? Or is it on a DVD and he knows which episode comes next each time. Children often pick up tiny differences in things like that. Have you asked him how he knows?
Yes, OP, DS has been doing this since just before he turned 2. The more he'd seen the word, the more he could recall it, even out of context (elephant was an odd one!)
But that's just having a good memory, I don't consider it reading either. Encourage it - and maybe encourage him saying the letters too, if he knows his alphabet. DS is now 2.4 and can read letters, so we do them phonetically and 'normally', then I tell him what it spells and he repeats it back.
Haa, I knew it wasn't just my DS doing something quirky! He wouldn't know what's coming next, because I always just randomly put on episodes that we've recorded on the Sky box and they are not in any order. I don't think there are any visual clues on the screen, because it's literally a blank white screen with the name of the episode written across. For example just today he watched an episode called 'Free Hundley' and when the words came on the screen he turned to smile at me and said 'Huggie', which is his name for Hundley (who is a dog in the show) and started barking. Yes I think I'll try writing "Hundley" on a piece of paper and see if he recognises it..
my DS recognised some words from about that age. He's 3.2 now and can read simple books, although he does it from remembering the words rather than sounding out phonetically as he's never been taught to read.