3yr old begging to learn to read?

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  • heatherma

    This is my 3rd child, and she is begging to learn to read. She speaks articulately, loves to paint, catch bugs, wear pretty things, etc. She’s also asked me to teach her piano, I’ve tried it out by having her copy me for a few notes but mostly plays at it, which is fine. I am Not pushing, but do I deny her till she’s older? We’ve been reading SCM Fine Art Alphabet book and others,knows most of her capitol letters and basic letter sounds. My older two are 11 and 13 yr old boys  and they read ‘later’, also totally fine with that. Suggestions? I thought of delightful reading kit 1 and to go slow or even set asude till later, but what am I looking for?


    Maybe you could play around with Progressive Phonics online, or Starfall. Both are free. I might do that before buying something yet.

    Karen Tryon

    My 13yod did that when he was younger.  I actually just bought him the 4yod phonics book from Abeka.  I didn’t expect anything to come of it but he actually learned to read just doing a page a day.  I had always been opposed to using workbooks with my kids but he loved them.  You could also look at Explode the Code.  I am using these books as a supplement for my younger who are learning to read right now.  They take them to grandma’s house once a week to do “school” with her.   They are very simple but thorough.


    Karen Smith

    You seem to be doing just fine without the first Delightful Reading kit!

    Unless you are in need of ideas for activities to teach the letters and sounds, I would not buy Delightful Reading, Level 1. I would keep working on gently teaching her the letters and the sounds they make. You can teach her the lowercase letters, long vowel sounds, short vowel sounds, and the different sounds some of the consonants make. After she is able to recognize both uppercase and lowercase letters and associates the letters with the sounds they make then you might consider purchasing Delightful Reading, Level 2: Words I Can Build, which will give you activities and guidance in teaching her how to put the sounds she knows together to make words.


    Thanks Karen Smith! That is very helpful.  Today she asked me to teach her her name, so we did the first few letters in salt on a tray. She was able to then do it on her own, and enjoy the salt for play.

    That gives me something to go off of next with her if she continues to be interested. I have heard of some children learning to read at very young ages. It will be fun to watch her grow!

    Little Women

    We mostly played with my kids, and suddenly, they were reading!  🙂    It sounds like that’s just about what you are doing, too, and it seems to be working.

    If she knows her letters and sounds, the next step is to start putting them together.  There are several things you can do just as you go through your day that will help with this.

    1.   If you haven’t done this while teaching letter sounds, you can play word games about looking for words that start with a certain sound.  Eg, I taught my kids that this was MMMMMMMMommy’s letter, D-D-D-Daddy’s letter,  K-K-K-Katie’s letter, etc.  Then a bit later, when riding in the car or making dinner and just needing something to do mentally, I would ask, “what other words can we think of that start with MMMMMMommy’s letter?”    (It’s easier if the milk is sitting out on the counter, but we found lots of options.)     This gives them the idea that words have distinct letters.

    2.  When I was reading to them, if the book had repeated words, I would give them a word to be “their” word whenever we came to it.  So, eg, “Are You My Mother,” I would give them “Mother,” and every time it was there, I paused or pointed, and they would “read” their word.   It helped them look at the words, and they did learn a few words by rote that way, but it was fun and I think helped build general word ability.

    Putting letters together into words is actually very difficult for young kids.    One thing I did was show them with my finger how I was reading the letters.   Eg, I would say, running my finger along, “Oh, look!  This says, “Ch-eeeee-rrrrr-iiiiiii-oooooo-ssssss, Cheerios!”    We did that a lot, with things like stop signs, little signs we might see at the store, words on boxes at a meal, any simple word at a time when we had mental space for it.     (I found out later that one major reading program teaches them to say it slowly, letter by letter, and then quickly.  I was pretty much doing the same thing.)    Because I was the one doing this, there was no pressure for them, but they were able to see what I was doing and get the idea of running the letters together.

    Eventually, we got some of the little Mac books (which are pretty much twaddle, but my kids enjoyed them and they served their purpose 🙂 ), and they were able to sound these out.

    I wasn’t really trying to teach my 3yos to read, but the older 2 were right at their 4th birthday when they were able to read, and the 3rd was 3 1/2.  (Then the 4th was 6, just to keep me humble! 🙂  )

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