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To encourage my DS 3,4yrs to read and write?

(33 Posts)
Dragonfly74 Tue 09-Jun-09 21:52:29

My friend and her DP came to visit today and as we stood in the kitchen while I made tea her DP commented on the magnetic letters and numbers that we have on our fridge.
I told him that me and DH had bought them a couple of weeks ago because our DS had seen them while we were out shopping and asked if he could have them.

I then told my friend and her DP how suprised we had been at how quickly DS had learned to spell his own name, his sisters name and also mum and dad and that if we write those names on paper for him he will copy them.

I told them that he is also showing a lot of interest in the numbers.

My friend has 2 DC older than mine so I asked for advice from her on how it would be best to encourage him further to which she laughed and her DP kind of rolled his eyes at me.
My friend then said that she hadn't done anything like that with her DC at that age and her DP asked why I was bothering yet as DS is only 3 and children aren't expected to be able to read and write when they go to school.

I said I know it isn't expected but if he's interested surely it can't do any harm to encourage him.
The thing is DS has always had a really short attention span but since he's had these letters and numbers he will actually sit with me for longer than 5 minutes and is genuinely interested.

My friend and her DP have made me feel like i'm being a pushy mum.sad
So am I being unreasonable?

apostrophe Tue 09-Jun-09 21:54:12

Message withdrawn

FluffyBunnyGoneBad Tue 09-Jun-09 21:54:44

I used to sit and read to ds, Mr Men books etc. He started to read when he was ready as he was always used to picking a book up. There's plenty of time for this. Sorry if it's not what you want to hear, the best thing is to read a book with him.

OnACaffieneHigh Tue 09-Jun-09 21:58:19

YANBU
If he's interested read him a book as you follow the words with your finger (what my mum promises works )
He may get the idea, he may not, but it's still fun!

reducedfatkettlechip Tue 09-Jun-09 21:59:43

YANBU at all - if your ds has an interest, and wants to learn, encourage away! Sounds like her problem, not yours. I apparently started recognising words before I was 2(!) and was reading proper (well, Enid Blyton!) books at 3. Nobody pushed me, I just absolutely loved reading and still do. My mum recalls people being a bit off with her as I was reading and writing fluently by the time I started school and they thought she was pushy, she wasn't though.

ds1 could also recognise lots of numbers and read many basic words at 2. He's not showing any interest in writing but that's fine, we'll leave that for when he starts school.

Just enjoy it!

loveandpeace Tue 09-Jun-09 22:35:28

YANBU My dd is 2 and knows all her letters and numbers. She also reads basic books and writes her name. We have never pushed her to do it she just loves learning and gains a great sense of acheivement from it.(started with foam letters someone bought her for the bath) Where is the harm in this?

If you want to encourage him more you can teach him the sound of each letter as this is the first step to reading. Once my daughter new the sounds we bought some of the oxford reading tree books (used in alot of primary schools) and she just loves sounding out the words and eventually reading the books!

Alot of people probably think this is pushy but I know she absolutely loves it so who cares what they think!!!

fattybumbum Wed 10-Jun-09 20:04:34

I used to be an English teacher and I have taught my 3.5 yr old son to read fluently. I never forced him and if he dosen't want to read, he doesn't have to. Mostly though he loves it and can read silently to himself now. He reads everything going, ketchup bottles, adverts you name it.

I've had a go with writng too but he's not really interested.He can write his name and the odd word when he's in the mood (not often).

I say go for it but be very careful and sensitive to your sons' needs. If they are keen and actively into it, then good, but if you are forcing them then it's too early and could be harmful and actually put them off learning. Kids are all individuals so obviously some will be more interested in certain skills earlier than others.

Karam Wed 10-Jun-09 22:06:21

Providing your son leads the way forward, then go for it!!

My DD was reading short books (spot ones etc) at your son's age... and it was entirely read for her. Apparently, the average age for a child to learn to read is anywhere between 3 and 6 or 7 (can't remember which one) - point being it is perfectly normal for some children to be ready to learn to read at 3. If your child is ready and more imporantly, willing, then go for it. Reading opens up a whole new world to them. My DD is now 5 and a fluent reader, she just can't get enough of reading and it is lovely when we wake up to find her just reading to herself in bed in the mornings. Although finding books in odd places is not so lovely!

Karam Wed 10-Jun-09 22:06:56

sorry, she was entirely ready for it. That bit was incomprehensible.

Olifin Wed 10-Jun-09 22:30:30

loveandpeace- isn't there a risk of your DD becoming bored with those books if she has to encounter them again at primary school? What's wrong with giving her ordinary story books to read rather than a book written specifically for teaching reading? Especially when you know it's a series commonly used in schools. That smacks a tiny bit of trying to show off. And being slightly pushy. JMHO though, hope it doesn't offend.

mumeeee Wed 10-Jun-09 23:06:07

YANBU. If he is interested than that is fine. Just carry on encouraging him. Point out words and numbers at shops and on sighns when you are out.

ChippingIn Wed 10-Jun-09 23:18:15

Dragonfly - there's nothing wrong with it if he's interested, nothing at all. The only thing I would do is ring/visit the school that he is going to go to and ask how they teach them there - if you teach him another way it could get confusing. Things have changed a lot since I was at school! I found it difficult to see why they were teaching the LO's the way they were - but it does seem to work At the very least teaching him the sounds of the letters will not hurt him at all.

Numbers are even easier and there isn't anything wrong with doing basic adding, such as 'How many of us are in the car (count) how many would there be if Daddy was here as well' - that kind of thing.

MyNameIsInigoMontoya Wed 10-Jun-09 23:24:10

If he is interested, go for it!

I could read before I started school (though not for exactly the same reasons). It did mean I got bored sometimes when the others were learning reading, but once the teachers realised, they were happy to give me books at my level and just let me get on with them while the others did the basics. I have never regretted it, I think it was fantastic for my education (helped me with virtually all subjects, not just English), and also it's given me so much pleasure, as I have devoured books ever since!

MillyR Wed 10-Jun-09 23:25:49

The Jolly phonics work books are good for learning the letter sounds. Some children are more interested in the code cracking nature of mastering reading than they are in the imaginative story book aspect. If your DS prefers learning the letters he may be the code breaking type so the magnetic letters and some phonics workbooks would be a good way of learning and having fun.

Not everybody wants to hear yet another fantastical story book, but if he does, there are read at home OXford Reading Tree books which are different to the school ones. The book people sometimes sell them.

My DS was on to doing sums at 3 as he has always loved maths. It is all around us anyway. One bird on the fence and two more fly down is 3 on the fence, and so on.

Ignore your friend. Whatever her motives are for behaving that way, it is her issue - don't make it yours.

cairnterrier Wed 10-Jun-09 23:43:33

I'm another one who could read before I went to school. I vividly remember my mum buying me copy books to copy out letters and numbers. The number 2 started out as a picture of a swan and gradually had fewer and fewer feathers until it was a 2. I guess I still think of it as being a very elegant number

The thing is that although my mum was a primary school teacher I wasn't pressurised into doing them, I used to love doing these and I still love doing calligraphy and things. DH on the other hand couldn't read properly until he was aged 7. We've ended up doing the same job but he's at a much more advanced level than I am, so it all comes out in the wash anyway.

kitkatqueen Wed 10-Jun-09 23:43:52

If a child of any age is interested in learning / doing somthing which is positive then how can you not answer their questions and tell them what they want to know?

Go ahead!! Answer his questions. Tell him while he is interested and enthusiastic. If he isn't interested at any time then stop, let him lead and he will learn naturally at his own pace.

If you think that anyone is going to make comments about you "showing off" by answering your dc's questions then just don't tell them what you are up to grin

my 3 yr old recognises lots of words and knows most of her phonics, she was reciting the alphabet backwards aged 2. And no i'm not bragging the point is every child finds different things interesting my older dd ( 5 ) reads v well but would rather draw / paint. Its not unusual for children this age to learn to read, it just isn't taught by the government until 4 / 5.

My dd loves the oxford reading tree books btw.

good luck and have lots of fun

MIFLAW Wed 10-Jun-09 23:59:44

Go for it.

My daughter is 16 months and recognises her own name when written down.

If your child is interested in learning something, why wouldn't you share it with him/her?

Not advocating pressuring to learn when there is no interest or pleasure there - that's something else entirely.

mybabywakesupsinging Thu 11-Jun-09 00:28:19

some children have an interest, I guess. ds1 can read a bit now, can write too but is nowhere near as interested in words as he is in numbers (appears to be teaching himself in this respect). Ds2, on the other hand, is happy with "1,2, more".
I am waiting to find out what effect it will have on ds1 when he goes to school...his lovely nursery have more or less ignored his maths to concentrate on his less than impressive social skills which seems exactly right to me. Reading, on the other hand, I am quite happy he has taken up, as it is a nice communicative activity...also he has been re-reading his traffic club books and is now Mr Road Safety, which is a bonus smile
I'm sure the main thing is just to enjoy books with them, though. Athough i have read big red bath 9 times today for ds2...DH knows it off by heart.

Stigaloid Thu 11-Jun-09 09:58:44

YANBU - my DS is 23 months and can read his name and certain words and respond to them. he loves to read and will take the story books out of our hands and repeat them outloud. He knows Brown Bear off by heart and one or two more. He also recognises numbers and loves counting. Every child is different - if he enjoys doing things let him. My friends DS completely surprised her one day by telling her the time! She had never taught him how to read a clock but he had worked it out himself. Kids tend to lead and the best you can do is support and encourage. Try not to feel intimidated by other people's attitudes. We all learn at different rates but tend to get there at the same time.

fleetwoodmac Fri 12-Jun-09 14:31:06

i think it depends on the child, but most children are not ready to read and write at such an early age. and time could be better spent (IMO) on other creative things - being read stories to, drawing, playing, painting.

anyone who knows anything about Rudolf Steiner education, will know that some educationalists believe it is a waste of time to start learning to read/write before 6.

at my son's school due to the curricuulum they start at 4 - they then struggle on for 3-4 years before the penny drops for many of them.

if they waited till 6 or 7 - they would learn it much more quickly and with much less struggle - in a few weeks even!!!

also in steiner theory, academic education at an early age is not only premature, but harmful - what children need to do is to develop emotionally and physically - through play and relating to their environment i.e. real life before abstraction on paper. after that, say age 7, is plenty of time to learn to read/write.

Bucharest Fri 12-Jun-09 14:35:07

Dd (now 5.5 and about to start elementary school in September) showed keen interest in letters and writing, from about 3 onwards...The reading of words came later..(probably more exciting to actually produce words than to just be able to read them)

YANBU- as long as there is that interest.As pps have said, neither is your friend...

fleetwood I shall adopt the Steiner approach with potty training should there ever be a next time round....(not waiting till 6 obviously) but certainly not arsing around chasing after a small child with a wet cloth to mop up accidents....grin

Stigaloid Fri 12-Jun-09 14:35:09

fleetwoodmac - i am not too sure about all that. I appreciate everyone is different but i was an early reader and it never did me any harm. I was also advanced in maths, not puished by parents but i just understood it quickly and quicker than others. I don't feel it hindered me growing up.

Bucharest Fri 12-Jun-09 15:32:06

stigaloid I was an early reader too, as are obviously a lot of the parents and children on here...I bet the one thing they had in common was the interest in doing it, whereas the Steinery type stuff says that even with no interest, at 6 etc things will just click....

I wonder when maths and % will just click with me????

TubOfLardWithInferiorRange Fri 12-Jun-09 15:39:18

I agree-it does depend on the child. This child asked for the letters and displays an ongoing interest in them therefore YANBU. I am not aware of any educationalists viewing language acquisition, at any age, as being a waste of time actually and Montessori sees this particular age 3-4 as a sensitive period for writing including: "Fascination with the attempt to reproduce letters and numbers with pencil or pen and paper." What I remember from my own children is this age being the "pizza shop phase" where they would role play that they were a pizza parlor and take our orders with a pen and pad over and over and over...

cornflakegirl Fri 12-Jun-09 16:00:57

DS has loved letters and numbers from an early age. He's just 4, and has got the hang of basic phonics. I've just bought him some flashcards - 100 first words - and he thinks they're the best. Why wouldn't I want to help him learn this stuff when he thinks it's so much fun? I sometimes get him to read easy words when I'm reading him a story, but he's not so keen on that, so I don't push it.

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