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Does knowing the alphabet early translate into early reading?

(46 Posts)
IsThisYourSanderling Mon 25-Feb-19 21:13:11

Just curious really. DS has been very interested in letters and numbers since he was a baby, and I'm curious to see whether he'll pick up reading early too, or just content himself with knowing the letters until he learns to read at school.

If your child took an interest in the alphabet at a young age, did they start to teach themselves to read (or ask to be taught), and at what age?

IsThisYourSanderling Mon 25-Feb-19 21:14:47

(I know that reading is a lot more complex than simply being able to recognise letters, hence my wondering if there's any correlation)

HairyToity Mon 25-Feb-19 21:17:55

A friends son knew his alphabet at about 22 months. He has high functioning autism. I thought he was a genius at the time. He's still a bright boy but it's not all plain sailing for him or his parents.

Youmadorwhat Mon 25-Feb-19 21:19:46

Do you mean reciting the alphabet song or actually recognizing letters individually? Recognising letters i suppose is like recognising shapes essentially. But in order to read they need to know the sound(s) each letter can make and be able to blend them etc etc

WineGummyBear Mon 25-Feb-19 21:20:58

My friends son learnt numbers and letters early and was an exceptionally early reader. A proper little cutie too.

Lucylugs Mon 25-Feb-19 21:25:09

School messed up one child's reading by introducing new terrible program that didn't work so the whole class were very behind and they all struggled. On the next child I didnt want that happening so I used to play jolly phonics songs from once they were tiny and they took to reading without any trouble once they got to school. I definitely feel it paid off.

irvineoneohone Mon 25-Feb-19 21:25:55

My ds was hyperlexic, his interest was numbers and letters from really early. And yes, he did learn to read, mostly watching TV with sub, figuring out sound rule, I think.
But simple decoding and comprehension were different matter, he needed to work on it later.

IsThisYourSanderling Mon 25-Feb-19 21:29:07

Youmad I mean recognising the letters. DS memorised the lot really young (16/17 months). But he doesn't know phonics (he's 2.5 now), we figure there's no point teaching him unless he's actively asking.

He's always been so drawn to letters and numbers we did wonder about autism/hyperlexia when he was a baby, but now he's older we're not worried. HV says he has no red flags for ASD.

SoyDora Mon 25-Feb-19 21:32:06

I don’t know if there’s a correlation or not. DD1 had no interest in letters until she was 3. By 3.5 she could read, and by the time she started school she was reading freely and fluently.

LoisLittsLover Mon 25-Feb-19 21:34:12

Dd knew all of the letters plus their induvidual sounds before her 4th birthday and can read bssic words at just over 4 - she's had no formal teaching as not yet at school

dottyp0104 Mon 25-Feb-19 21:43:29

Download the Jollyphonics app. Its brilliant to help with sounding letters and recognising the shape. My DD school uses it

Supergran58 Mon 25-Feb-19 21:50:56

My grandson (I have always been his main carer) learnt the letter sounds for b and m at 11 months from foam letters in the bath. I was a bit freaked by that so didn't do anymore with him for a while. At about 16 months, he knew about half of them. Then we both lost interest until quite recently. He's currently 3 and a half and still only knows about half of them but with the ones he knows, he can decode words. I have been amazed by how fast he's picked it up over the past couple of weeks. He even decoded the word ''animal' at the weekend. I'm pretty sure he will be an early reader. He was an early talker, saying his first word at 8 months and using 2 and 3 word sentences at 14 months. I'm fairly sure there must be a correlation between speech and reading.

irvineoneohone Mon 25-Feb-19 21:51:54

Some children do pick up decoding without learning phonics.
Does/can he follow the word with fingers when you read to him? That's the first sign I realised he was actually able to read/recognise the words, as well as picking up random books and pointing at the words and saying it.

JustRichmal Tue 26-Feb-19 09:31:37

I taught dd to read by sounding out words rather than teaching her the alphabet. It proved a much quicker way, showing her what the letters do and then letting her build a store of what sound each letter made, rather than getting her to learn the letter sounds, then showing her how they made words.

She started learning to read at around 17 months and was reading children's picture books by 3 and most things by 4.

If you get one of the picture books with one picture and one CVC word below it, sound them out for him and see if he picks up reading. Or if there is a CVC word at the end of a sentence, sound it out rather than read it and ask him "What is that?"

No pre school child teaches themselves to read. All need some adult input to work out the funny shaped squiggles represent sounds which make up words. Only on the g&t section of MN will you find the ridiculous phrase: My 2 year old taught themselves to read.

brilliotic Tue 26-Feb-19 11:14:46

DS knew (recognised) all letters by about 24 months. However we had taught him the sounds that go with the letters in our home language (same alphabet, different letter-sound correspondences).

He was soon able to blend simple CVC words but as we live in England, we didn't come across many decodable (in our language) words in our environment, so despite recognising the letters, he made hardly any progress in learning to read until learning 'phonics' (at age three). But yes, once he learned the English letter-sound correspondences, his reading took off.

I always thought that learning 'the alphabet' (which letter makes which sound) was basically a matter of being taught, and that all children could learn to recognise letters at a young age, if shown. However, then DD came along ... and she struggles to visually distinguish letters from each other. p and q, b and d ... even when you put them right next to each other, she will say that they 'are the same'. A circle with a line sticking out (up or down). She's nearly five now, and has been having phonics at school; when younger she struggled to distinguish any letter shapes at all. And yet she was able to orally blend and segment when she was still three.

So I now understand that being able to 'recognise letters' is not so straightforward and obvious a skill as I had thought it to be. A child who can securely identify/distinguish letters at a very young age has a precondition for becoming an early reader, but there are obviously other skills involved in reading, that might or might not emerge similarly early, depending on a whole host of things (not just innate intelligence).

StopLazyJournosCopyingContent Tue 26-Feb-19 13:17:24

I was a very early reader. In terms of signs, my DM said that I loved books even as a baby, and then as a toddler started asking her what words said when we read books together. I then surprised her by recognising them the next day. It stuck as I’ve always been a very fast and voracious reader.

It doesn’t appear to be hereditary as my DS has known all his letters since he was 2, but is far more interested in playing football with his books than he is in reading them hmmgrin

SinkGirl Tue 26-Feb-19 13:22:49

My twins are nearly 2.5 and both diagnosed with ASD. One of them is obsessed with written words and numbers - film credits and subtitles are his favourite things on earth. He also plays word apps on the iPad - started out with simple shape sorters, then shape sorting letters and numbers, then putting letters into words and now putting them into words in the right order and putting words into sentences. He can’t talk and doesn’t understand much spoken language so I have no idea how much he actually understands or if they’re just shapes to him. His consultant believes hyperlexia is a possibility but that it’s not really a good thing for them to read too early when they should be focusing on other things. So I let him play a bit but am trying to focus on communication more.

Babdoc Tue 26-Feb-19 13:27:08

DD could individually recognise and say the sound of every letter, upper and lower case, presented in random order, by 18 months.
She was reading at 2, and had a reading age of 12 by the time she started primary school at age 4.
However, she has an 1Q of 166 and is autistic, so not typical. Her great love is maths rather than literature- she landed 5 straight A’s in her Highers and ditto Advanced Highers, and then went for a Maths degree.
If your DC is enjoying learning to read then please don’t hold them back until they start school. Books are a joy for life, it’s never too early to discover them! The school will adapt- our wee village primary borrowed books and coursework from the High School in the nearest town for DD, and the Head gave her half an hour of one to one tuition a day at her own level.

EssentialHummus Tue 26-Feb-19 13:30:03

DH was reading and sounding out (not in English) at 24 months. He remains very good at decoding things - he’s a programmer by profession and if we go abroad he’ll quickly figure out what letters match which sounds on local signs etc (Welsh was particularly entertaining grin).

DD is 17 months and knows 3 letters from her bath toy set, constantly pointing out letters. No idea if anything will come of it.

CrazyCrunk Tue 26-Feb-19 13:51:51

@Babdoc what were the signs of her autism? Mine is similar with reading.

Babdoc Tue 26-Feb-19 14:14:17

DD was diagnosed very late, CrazyCrunk. Partly because she was born 30 years ago, when autism was much less on the radar, partly because most of our family are autistic too and we thought her behaviour was “normal”, and partly because she also inherited a severe depressive disorder (we’ve lost 4 relatives to suicide in 3 generations), which muddied the diagnostic water.
The autistic features she displayed were fairly classic - avoidance of eye contact, rigid thought pattern, no understanding of facial expression or body language, sensory issues ( hated loud noise/bright colours/contact with some textures eg suede), literal mindedness, preferred mechanical objects, especially trains, had obsessive interests, meltdowns if overstressed socially, difficulty forming friendships with own age group, using very formal adult conversation patterns, has synaesthesia for words and colours.
Nowadays it would be barn door obvious she was autistic, but we thought the “odd” child in the family was her neurotypical sister, who didn’t behave like the autistic rest of us!

CrazyCrunk Tue 26-Feb-19 14:50:14

Thanks. There's nothing there that doesn't particularly match her. Argh.

AlphaJuno Tue 26-Feb-19 15:17:22

My ds memorised names of cars (think he used to go by the logos) and could talk in sentences and use quite long words before he was 2. He didn't actually learn to read until he was about 6. He's young in his year though (August born) and all through primary never hit his targets at school. His reading is fine now but he has problems with writing, actually forming the words, not the spelling. He's at secondary now and just been diagnosed with Aspergers which may explain why he never seemed to excel at school even though he seemed bright as a toddler.

SinkGirl Tue 26-Feb-19 15:48:33

Has he had his 27 month check? Is he talking, interested in people, making eye contact? If you enter a room does he notice immediately and pay you attention? I didn’t realise quite how different my boys behaviour was until they started nursery - every time I go in there the other kids are immediately interested, want me to play with them etc while my two just aren’t fussed.

IsThisYourSanderling Wed 27-Feb-19 08:29:50

Great tips justrichmal thanks

I hadn't been thinking I'd teach him to read (he's only 2y5m), I was just curious to see what others' experiences are with alphabet-loving babies and toddlers. DS has always been fixated on text in his environment (like at gym tots, he'd stop his gym totting to trace the words on the equipment and 'read' them, but other kids seemed oblivious(?)). Lately he's started pretending to read words he sees, calling out the letters then making up what they say - which makes me wonder what he'd do if I actually taught him letter sounds, instead of just their names. Would he start to blend them, or not. I'm very much not wanting to push it though, im waiting for him to ask. Might put on Alphablocks though smile

Babdoc that's amazing about your DD's school and their efforts to accommodate her. Our local primary is the opposite - large school, very much I distant on teaching to the mean average level of the class, don't give more able children work at their own level. I'm a bit worried about that, which is another reason I'm wondering whether a babyhood ability to recognise the alphabet is going to translate into early reading and school boredom

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