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Am I doing the right thing with my 3yo reader?

(21 Posts)
MiaSparrow Tue 13-Jan-15 11:33:33

She's 3.11 and started pre-school last September. She's been able to read a little bit for the last six months or so, absolutely loves books, words, language... we've been very wary of placing too much emphasis on it, while still encouraging her, obviously - doing the whole 'stretching sideways' thing as recommended...

But she totally shocked me yesterday with how much she can read. I had no idea. It seems this term, pre-school have properly noticed and are really encouraging it. She came home with a book "from big school" yesterday, which was a Pearson read yourself title aimed at 5+. She read it all. I thought perhaps she'd learnt it rote, but then I tested her with a book I knew she hadn't read and sure enough, she can read!

Obviously, this is wonderful BUT I don't want her to peak too soon. Or feel that she's different from her friends, etc, etc... Feel like I'm treading on eggshells a bit. Any advice?

PS, she is my PFB (can you tell?!), so please tell me to shut up if reading at three is in fact perfectly normal. grin

Mistigri Tue 13-Jan-15 12:30:51

There is nothing you can do to stop the process once it's started ;)

I don't think it's desperately unusual for 3 year olds to be able to sound out a few words. What is more unusual is making the transition to independent and fluent reader. Both of my children could sound out simple words at 3, but only my older child could read fluently. In her case the transition from sounding out first words to reading simple chapter books took no more than a couple of months and we couldn't have stopped it if we tried. In contrast my son, although confident at sounding out words when he was quite young, was 5 before he was a reasonably good independent reader (but even at 5/6 he was a lot less fluent/confident than DD at 3/4).

LillyEvans Tue 13-Jan-15 12:35:29

I was reading at a very young age Mia and never 'peaked too soon'. I don't think my friends were particularly aware of my genius reading ability. I wouldn't worry, just let her enjoy it.

When I was a bit older I used to love getting taken to the library by mum each week and picking out books to take home. Still love reading now when I get round to it.

GraysAnalogy Tue 13-Jan-15 12:36:40

I was the same as a child (and also GAT and later NAGTY) because my mum had made sure she taught me the ABC, always gave me books to read. I think part of it is the child's desire to read - it's something that I loved from being a kid and into adult hood.

I always loved my mother though for never putting pressure on me. She read books with me, always left me plenty to read and introduced new things but didn't feel the need to test me or keep pushing and pushing.

Just stick with her and support her. If it is a 'fluke' or whatever, it doesn't matter. Just a nice bonus if she is above for her age.

MythicalKings Tue 13-Jan-15 13:34:40

I was reading at 3 as were both of my DCs. As long as she's enjoying it, let her carry on. I still love reading now as do the DCs.

AngelDreams Tue 13-Jan-15 13:48:02

how do you 'peak' with reading - there is no upper limit, its not like mountain climbing

if she enjoys doing it, then gently encourage her, and allow her to back off if she wants to

flamingtoaster Tue 13-Jan-15 13:49:57

There is no "peaking too soon" in reading. Both DS and DD were reading very well by that age. Where you will have a slight problem is that eventually your DD's reading will mean she is ready, academically for want of a better word, to read books for older children - but the stories tackled will not be suitable. That is when you need to visit second hand bookshops and look for books published in the sixties and early seventies when the vocabulary was much richer and the stories much gentler. Even the annuals from then had a lot of text in comparison to modern annuals. Once she is at that stage it is wise to read anything you are going to give her first to make sure it is what you want her to be reading.

PedantMarina Tue 13-Jan-15 13:52:02

What is "stretching sideways", please?

pasbeaucoupdegendarme Tue 13-Jan-15 14:02:14

Make sure you're talking with her lots about the contents of the book. Stop her and ask her what she thinks is going to happen next before she turns the page over. Before she even opens the book, get her to look at the cover and to think of questions about the book ("Why is the little boy in his pyjamas in the jungle? Is it a dream?" That kind of thing).

At the end ask her if she thought it was a good ending or would she have changed it? Was it how she expected?

Choose books to read together with enriching language so you can stop when the author has used eg "perched" and talk about other words they might have used instead. Continue to enjoy some of the more "grown up" picture books (like The House Cat) and show her that good books aren't just long books with lots of words.

How lovely - I'm looking forward to it for you smile

Wailywailywaily Tue 13-Jan-15 14:03:34

I know what you mean by being taken by surprise by their reading, DS2 did this to us. We knew he wanted to and always gave him what he wanted and sort of passively encouraged him then one day when he was about the same age as your DD he was just reading. He reads everything indescriminatly now, basically if it is written down he reads it, English, welsh and french - he doesn't even understand the welsh and French but still reads it grin

I agree with the pp poster about the older fashioned children's books, Frog and Toad came from a charity shop but they were a great find, they are fun but gentle and they are not afraid of the odd more difficult word.

loudarts Tue 13-Jan-15 14:08:01

I was reading at 3, and still love reading now. The only problem you may have is when she starts at primary school she will obviously be far ahead of the majority of the other children who will just be starting to learn and she may get bored. Also some teachers will want her to read the same books as the other children and you may have a struggle getting them to allow her to read books that are more appropriate for her ability.

BrianButterfield Tue 13-Jan-15 14:26:01

DS is 3 and a fluent reader - he can read pretty much anything! He loves it so I let him read to himself in bed at night etc but also encourage him to do things like read the instructions out to me when I'm cooking - makes him feel very important and helpful! I just make sure he has masses of choice (charity shop books, library etc) and give him non fiction, comics etc. but apart from that I leave him to it now!

sunnyfrostyday Tue 13-Jan-15 16:09:19

I wouldn't worry too much about primary school, though. Most Reception classes have at least one child who is a fluent reader. They will just make sure her phonics are secure (I was an early reader, but can't spell for toffeewink ).

tenderbuttons Tue 13-Jan-15 19:11:03

DD was reading at 3.5 and is now 8. Being different from her friends has never been an issue as, by the time they start to really notice, other children are also starting to read well. (Whereas being rubbish at sports is much more tricky!)

In a way, I think it is a good thing, because it means that she comes to reading as a pleasure rather than as a chore that school makes you do. At this stage, I'd just let her read whatever she wants, and as someone else said, back off when she's not interested and don't put pressure on her.

I disagree with the poster who said to ask lots of questions about the book; she'll get more than enough of this kind of thing at school. Just let her read for fun, for as long as she can (and if you really want to do that sort of thing, then perhaps do it with books you are reading to her).

BrianButterfield Tue 13-Jan-15 20:35:36

Also - beware, you can no longer hide anything! And I discovered the perils of a child who can read more can you get away with ordering sandwiches at soft play when they can read "Children's Menu" and "hot dog and chips" grin

attheendoftheday Sun 18-Jan-15 11:50:23

I'm happy to have found this thread! I had my own moment of surprise at dd1's reading yesterday when she picked up and read a number of unfamiliar books independently (I knew she could sound out words but I thought she was memorising stories when she read them to me). She is 3.6. I knew she was pretty able, and I'm a bit worried that reception might be boring for her, so I'm reassured that its common to have independent readers at that age.

MiaSparrow Sun 18-Jan-15 13:19:36

Thanks so much for the replies, all. Interesting stuff! Especially in terms of having to find age-appropriate books for an advanced reader. I will definitely bear that in mind.

Pedant, my understanding of stretching sideways means encouraging all the other stuff - swimming, dancing, football, and not just focusing on the the academic.

It seems the horse has bolted with DD's reading now and even since I last posted she's come on leaps and bounds. I got six of those early reader books from the library yesterday thinking she might get through them in the coming weeks. She devoured the lot of them last night - reading every word - in about ten minutes. grin

MiaSparrow Sun 18-Jan-15 13:23:48

Oh and in terms of the 'peaking too soon' worries - I guess I mean I don't want her to get bored of it when they're only just teaching them a,b,c sounds at pre-school. Will she naturally continue at this pace?

WorraLiberty Sun 18-Jan-15 13:33:39

It's not too unusual for 4yr olds to take to reading earlier than some of their classmates, so I'm sure the pre-school will have measures in place to make sure they don't get bored. Just as there will be children who will take to maths much quicker than their peers.

I think with regards to 'devouring' the six books quickly, it's important to concentrate on the comprehension side.

My eldest was an early reader and because he was my PFB, I made the mistake of focussing on how quickly he could read, rather than his understanding of what he was reading blush

When his teacher pointed this out, she advised me to get him to tell the story back to me in his own words after he'd read the book. She also advised me to ask certain questions, such as "What did" and "What if", to promote discussion rather than him simply racing through and just reading words IYSWIM?

I'm not saying that's what's happening here btw, I'm just remembering my own experience out loud really.

Ainat266 Sun 18-Jan-15 13:34:52

If she wants to read, let her. Try and make it something she can do on her own from time to time as well as something she can do with another member of the family (someone mentioned reading recipes when cooking, etc.)

Make sure you give her a range of things to read from picture books, non-fiction books (does she understand the difference? So simply can she realise a fiction story is made up and that non-fiction books can teach her facts?) Talk about different words that mean the same thing. Maybe you could write a story together. She could make up a story (encouraging her to think about story structure - beginning, middle, end) and you could help her to write it and make it into a little book.

How is her awareness of sounds? Does she have an awareness of rhyming and alliteration? How is her phonic awareness?

Ainat266 Sun 18-Jan-15 13:37:06

Oh yes, and as others have importantly said - don't forget the comprehension side of things. Does she understand what she is reading? Can she talk to you about what is happening? Can she answer questions about the story? Can she talk to you about pictures? What does she think will happen next? etc.

The 'Development Matters' document that they use in Early Years could possibly help you. I think it's free to download online.

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