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My 2.4 year old has a 'phographic memory' is this normal?

(24 Posts)
mummylittlegenius Tue 28-Dec-10 19:47:52

I'm using photographic memory as a shorthand here, as I haven't taught DD to read.

BUT - I wondered how normal it is that she can repeat lines and lines from books, even though she's only heard them a couple of times?

I bought her some Meg and Mog books and she's only been read them a few times and knows most of the words.

She was given the snowman book for christmas and can repeat the entire opening paragraph (this is the new version of the snowman with text!!!) I've read it tons of times and don't remember the opening paragraph.

Is this normal? I don't think she's some kind of genius or anything, btw. But do feel free to come take me down a peg or two if it makes you happy grin

confidence Tue 28-Dec-10 20:56:16

She's probably naturally able, linguistically, but I don't think it's that unusual TBH. Both of mine did similar things from an early age.

Does she seem to comprehend the material she is repeating? Have you tried asking her questions about it? That would tell you more. More likely, it's just a pure feat of memory.

I think a lot of kids surprise adults by what they can remember. It's a bit like the way some people in non-literate cultures are able to remember incredibly long lists of information passed down orally from generation to generation. When that's all people have, they become very good at it because they have to. Literacy and technology in some ways dull this natural human ability, by doing the memory work for us.

Suzihaha Tue 28-Dec-10 21:03:34


I don't think it is particularly unusual. I think young children's minds are more able to absorb information and retain it than adults anyway. They're not bogged down with all the other cr@p that goes on in our heads hmm

DS1 could recite The Gruffalo and various other picture books of that level when he was about that age.

I just started going to the library more and getting him loads of different books to try and keep up his interest. He also learnt how to count to 20 after hearing it on some programme on Cbeebies once or twice.

I'd say just keep gently pushing her to see if she's interested in learning things (which, it sounds like she might be).

PixieOnaLeaf Thu 30-Dec-10 00:11:44

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squidgy12 Thu 30-Dec-10 09:35:33

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TheBolter Thu 30-Dec-10 09:39:01

Ummm... dd1 could do the same at 2. She's very good at reading now (age 6) but I'm not sure if this has anything to do with it.

MrsDrOwenHunt Thu 30-Dec-10 09:51:13

yep my ds could do it too! also amazingly can recite things back to me that i talked to a friend about weeks ago!! memory like an elephant!!!

choppychopster Thu 30-Dec-10 09:57:55

DD did the same at about this age - she used to sit and "read" the whole of The Tiger Who Came to tea aloud. She's now just 4 and still quite able with words compared to many of the other children in her nursery class, but it's mostly recognition rather than sounding out new words.

Northernlebkuchen Thu 30-Dec-10 10:00:23

My dds could do this too.

squidgy12 Thu 30-Dec-10 10:01:42

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Suzihaha Thu 30-Dec-10 11:52:11

Squidgy12, DS1 is not yet 3 but can already read about 20 sight words (eg the, my, on, go, and, no, I, a, etc).

I suspect memory is probably linked to reading ability. I, myself, have a photographic memory and remember that my teacher at primary (when I was about 7 or 8) telling my parents I had a reading age of 14. Shame my progress came to a screeching halt once I left school hmm

Ewe Thu 30-Dec-10 11:56:54

I have a photographic memory and always had very advanced reading age - over a decade ahead at one point. It is great for exams but I would watch out for lack of understanding in future, sometimes I would ace exams but have no real understanding, just remember the text.

It is good to spot when they are young so you can be aware, just keep encouraging it, I suspect my DD (2yo) is the same. Am amazed by what she can remember!

ChazsBrilliantAttitude Thu 30-Dec-10 23:39:25

My both my DS did this. I thought it was a great opportunity to encourage a love of reading and imagination whether or not it has anything to do with G&T. You can get your DD involved in "reading" the books to you and telling you stories. Value your DD as bright engaged child and have fun developing a love of books and stories that will stay with her for life.

Caz10 Fri 31-Dec-10 13:32:21

My Dd just 3 does this too, nothing cuter than hearing her "read" a story to her toys! I am just hoping it stands her in good stead for learning to read. I would second the advice re pointing to the words as you read, pointing out words out of context etc.

Dd can also, embarrassingly, "read" the words on the sky listings that she is familiar with...not that we watch too much tv... Ahem...

Clary Fri 31-Dec-10 13:39:40

This is interesting.

I have clear memory of DD "reading" Pants to herself at age 2, also that Lauren Child book about Red Riding Hood.

I know she was reciting from memory, as OP's DD is; but I agree with others here that while not unheard of, it is very sweet and indicates certainly a facility with language etc.

FWIW my DD who is now 9 is a very keen reader and loves to write etc, so while not a genius hmm there was an indication there of interest and ability IMO.

Besom Fri 31-Dec-10 13:55:17

My dd (2.5) is like this but it doesn't really surprise me because she spoke very early. She has also started to 'mimic' people - doing impressions of my laugh for her father's entertainment!

I think it's to do with having a good 'aural memory' if there is such a thing, and it may be that they are good at languages and music in later life.

Besom Fri 31-Dec-10 13:59:18

Or it may not!

moomaa Fri 31-Dec-10 14:09:24

Hee mine can 'read' from the Sky planner too.

DD is 2 and doesn't do this with books but with songs. She can sing pretty much any song after hearing it once. Which is cute, and a bit strange when she can repeat things off the TV she has only heard once. Like someone else said, little kids are facinating. She gets lots of attention at playgroups, swimming lessons etc with her loud singing!

moomaa Fri 31-Dec-10 14:10:22

Besom, my DD spoke very early too.

Caz10 Fri 31-Dec-10 17:32:41

I know plenty of DD's friends who don't do this, so while I don't think she is G&T at all, I do think it just shows an aptitude towards language etc, her vocab is very good etc. I was one of these people who failed miserably at maths and science but did well at English and modern languages, so it would not surprise me if she is the same. She is already displaying my total lack of logic and spatial awareness grin

Hexagon Sun 02-Jan-11 12:08:25

I agree with Caz10 that there are plenty of children (the majority) who don't do this!
The problem with this board is that people tend to post here if their children are bright little sparks if not blazing lights so they are usually quite spectacularly unimpressed with anything.
My child did what yours is doing and memorised whole books. She would sit and "read" pointing at the words as she went along. Soon she was recognising words out of context and reading books that she didn't know (some time before she was 3 years old). I really believe that memorising books was a step in her teaching herself to read. Maybe this is what your dd is doing?

DecorhatetheChristmasTree Sun 02-Jan-11 12:12:51

I found my dcs had amazing memories of small details I wouldn't even have noticed when they were younger - eg the colour of someone's front door we had visited once a year before.

OracleOfDelphinium Fri 07-Jan-11 14:21:02

DS has a photographic memory (again, shorthand). At around 13 months, he could recite entire books after hearing them once, never mind a few times. But so can I, so I didn't think it was unusual until DD couldn't do it (IYSWIM).

It has been a big help to DS with reading: I only needed to tell him the letter sounds once, and he remembered them - so he was reading well at two. It's still useful to him now, as he comes top of all his school exams (he does traditional sudden-death exams).

The only problem with this kind of memory is that it can be a frightful pain if you don't want to remember things. Believe me, it's no fun lying in bed while your brain recounts entire novels word for word. DS suffers from this too.

But your DD sounds delightful, and she will probably go on to become a great reader!

lovecheese Fri 07-Jan-11 14:35:13

mummylittlegenius, I would echo what the other posters have said. My DD2 has loved books from a VERY early age, and could "read" to her teddies - very cute. I remember my lovely BIL, who I get on really well with (but is a little bit competitve) looking a bit shocked and concerned that she was reading a book to herself at about 4 years old, obviously worried that she was more advanced than DN who is the same age, te-he. Anyway, fast forward a few years and yes, she too is a voracious reader and is G&T for literacy at school. DD1 had a spooky knowledge of car makes and models at 2 years old!

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