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Should i be teaching letters to my DD aged 3.2?

(30 Posts)
exasperatedmummy Sun 12-Oct-08 20:36:39

My DD started playschool last week, and my friends little boy recognised his name. I was shock. I haven't really started to teach letters to DD at all. We have a couple of jigsaws with letters on but thats that. She does have a slight speech delay but i think she is doing OK now, she speaks in fairly complex sentences although her words aren't clear. Seeing MMLL thread made me think that perhaps i should be teaching this. I feel a bit like I have let her down - i don't want to push things though. We play lots together although its mostly, puzzles, crafts or out and about at the swings. She loves me to read to her and i think DP must be on book number 5 putting her to bed.

Have i missed the boat here?

sweetgrapes Sun 12-Oct-08 20:45:24

No. No boats missed. If you've been reading to her that's fine.

But you can start now. But DO keep it light and playful rather than anything structured. If she's ready she'll pick it up just like that - and if she isn't then don't force it and make an issue out it. That'll do more harm than good.

Smellen Sun 12-Oct-08 20:50:11

I don't think you are letting her down, you said you spend lots of time playing with her, and that IMHO is the most important thing about this age.

Don't feel pressurised into rushing the teaching of reading & writing at the preschool stage, just make sure you read lots of books together and show her what fun reading can be.

When the time is right, you can introduce recognition of letters and numbers really gently. For example, when you are out and about, you could point out the odd number and letter (house numbers, street signs) if she seems receptive to that. Or make her initial letter out of playdough, put her name on her bedroom door, etc. If your DD can recognise a few symbols/digits/logos, then she might be ready for that sort of thing.

To facilitate writing, use games that encourage good hand-eye coordination - teach her to catch a ball for example, and do activities that help strengthen her hand muscles and make her more dextrous, e.g. cutting out, lego, thread cords through card with holes in etc.

There is lots of scare-mongering about teaching reading using various phonics methods at an early age, but unless your child has specific learning difficulties, she will probably learn through a combination of whole word recognition, some phonic de-coding and blending, and clues from the context (i.e. pictures, general knowledge about the topic). In some other European countries, formal teaching of reading & writing does not begin until age 7, and their illiteracy rates are not as high as in the UK - so early teaching of reading & writing are not necessarily the most important things.

mckenzie Sun 12-Oct-08 20:57:09

I remember being told by the reception teacher who came to visit DS's playgroup all those years ago that the best things we can do for our children to get them ready for school is to teach them independence. How to put their coats on, how to wash their hands and pull up their pants. How to communicate their feelings. Reading and writing she said can safely be left to the teachers.

Did anyone else get told this?

I'm sure that's not to say that we should actively steer away from reading to them and encouraging letter recognition but just that we should not be overly concerned about those topics.

I'm jsut passing on what I remember being told. Don't know if it's right though.

Twiglett Sun 12-Oct-08 20:59:03


leave her alone

teach her to get dressed and use the toilet

let her play and socialise

read to her, sing with her, talk to her

but fgs don't get pushy ... she will learn to read when she's good and ready

googgly Sun 12-Oct-08 21:01:19

I agree that you shouldn't worry. The important thing is that you're reading to her and playing with her. Fwiw, ds1 could read all his letters before he was 2yo, and recognise his name, different shapes, etc. Ds2 can't yet recognise his name at just turned 4, though he is interested in what letters are, and has the idea that the written word is what makes the story. I'm assuming that he'll be able to read anyway by the time he's 7ish. We don't live in the UK, and here formal teaching of reading does not begin until 7. My ds was one of only 3 in his class of 27 who could already read at the beginning of the year 2 equivalent. I have the impression that by year 3 equivalent they've all caught up, as 7 yos learn reading and writing much more quickly than 3 and 4 year olds do.

hatrick Sun 12-Oct-08 21:01:23

Message withdrawn

Christie Sun 12-Oct-08 21:02:18

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

exasperatedmummy Sun 12-Oct-08 21:03:13

I definately don't want to get pushy. The woman who's lad recognised his name sent him to French classes at two years old hmm but he got bored, now theres a surprise. I guess that is the thing though, when there are pushy mums, well, pushing, you often wonder if you are letting your lo's lag behind. But really, so long as she is happy. She is gong to be in school a long time

Boco Sun 12-Oct-08 21:04:36

Agree with the Twiglett.

Boco Sun 12-Oct-08 21:05:32

That wasn't a direct order, just that I agree with the Twiglett.

sweetgrapes Sun 12-Oct-08 21:10:11

I was confused for a moment, Boco grin

Fennel Sun 12-Oct-08 21:14:24

My 4.5 yo dd3 knows about 5 letters, no more. I am leaving it to the reception teacher next term, as Mackenzie says, the school and preschool seem keen on leaving it to them. and they have done fine at teaching my other two to read and write without me doing much.

In fact I suspect that anything at all you do with an under 6 is just passing the time, in that they can start nearly any skill or activity at 6 and by 7 or 8 (my other dds' ages) you won't be able to tell the difference between the ones who started at 2 and the ones who started at 6.

Twiglett Sun 12-Oct-08 21:17:23

I prefer the direct order version grin

bealos Sun 12-Oct-08 21:20:18

recognising their name is very different to recognising other letters and being able to read. It is useful when kids go to nursery if they can recognise their name on the hook, but they use picture prompts too so it's no big deal... let her play, they're still so young at 3.2 and will learn through play and you reading to them... etc

cory Sun 12-Oct-08 21:22:28

Dd did not know any letters at this age. Her super-advanced friends from toddler group were all reading, knowing the flags of the world, doing arithmetic blahablahablaha. By the time they had got to junior school it had completely evened out. In fact, it was dd who was in top set for literacy.

lingle Mon 13-Oct-08 18:06:26

I asked our headmistress about this. She said that in the right setting it does no harm to teach them the letters but she would put it no higher than that.
There are problems when parents coach children or teach them letter names or teach the sounds in the wrong way.
Overall, I would resist.

googgly Mon 13-Oct-08 19:37:40

I don't agree with that actually Lingle. My dcs all speak 3 languages and the sounds for letters are obviously different in all of them, but ds1 can read in all 3 despite having only been taught in one. I think they just work it out even if you've taught in a different way.

AbbeyA Mon 13-Oct-08 19:57:21

I agree with Twiglett and with the headmistress. There is a lot you can do in general play. I have just found out that some people actually pay for tutors for their pre-school DCS!! The pushy parent can feel superior by saying that their DC knows the flags of the world at 2yrs old but as cory says it evens out later. It isn't a race! (If it is a race, slow and steady often wins in the end!)

CandleQueen Mon 13-Oct-08 20:06:18

DS1 (3.3) told me off last week. He wanted me to read to him but I was busy with DS2 and suggested he look at the pictures. DS1 said "Well I would read it myself, but you haven't learnt me all the words yet."
How's that for gratitude?!
He recognises his name and but that's about it.

exasperatedmummy Mon 13-Oct-08 20:21:57

googgly, im impressed Children are amazing aren't they! I can just about order a beer in french and spanish and say thankyou and hello in greek blush.

That is another thing too, should we be teaching phonics or Ay Bee Cee. I read in a parenting mag that i picked up at DDs playschool the parent should teach A B C, but have noticed today they do phonics [confused] oh, do you think we could have an emoticon for confused?

exasperatedmummy Mon 13-Oct-08 20:23:20

Im not going to push this though, she does point to letters and asks what htey are - on road name signs etc, or makes up letters for them, mostly A A A lol

flubdub Mon 13-Oct-08 20:24:44

My ds is 3.8, and at his nursery the other day, we were given a sheet on how to do joined up writing! Me and dp were shock .
Its been shoved in a draw, and wont be looked at until school!

BlueberryPancake Mon 13-Oct-08 20:57:46

I think that you can introduce letters and numbers gently to your DD, in a fun/game way. What's the first letter of her name? My ds is m, which is (I explained to him) like two little mountains next to each other, so I tried to visualise the letter and make a 'drawing' out of it, that's why he recognises it. He spots it on number plates, street signs, etc.

His brother's name starts with b, which is a line with a little belly, another visual aid to help him recognise the letter. S is easy because it's like a snake, and l is a line. He knows o, because it's what your lips look like when you say it (like a little circle) and d because it's daddy. He is nearly 3 and has known these letters for about 6 months, and I haven't introduced other letters yet. I don't think there's any rush, but it's just another game we play.

We also play 'i spy with my little eye something beginning with the sound m' or 'the sound d' etc.

As for numbers, he recognises numbers that mean something to him. He knows 6 and 3 because he can get up at 6.30 and he looks at our clock and recognises when it's time to get up. He can recognise 7 because that's when we go up for his bath, and he sees it on the oven clock.

ElfOnTheTopShelf Mon 13-Oct-08 21:01:50

I haven't been teaching my daughter letters as such, but she does watch Super Why and has started to recognise letters from there, but for her she's just watching the telly.

I do like twigs list, I've read stuff along those lines before when I wondered what children needed to know before they actually start school.

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