Friday, January 30, 2015

New Year, Gifted Exchange's 10th, and learning to read

I apologize for the radio silence these past few weeks. Those of you who read my other blog ( know I welcomed a fourth kid on January 15. His older siblings are enjoying getting to know him, and we're all getting used to being a bigger household!

This blog is celebrating a milestone this year. It pre-dates my own parenting experience, and goes all the way back to 2005. So we'll be celebrating the 10th anniversary this summer. As I look for topics to cover this year, as always I welcome suggestions.

I've been thinking about how kids learn today as I spent this morning touring an enrichment program my school district offers. The district has only half-day kindergarten (which I still find somewhat surprising). However, there's a half-day enrichment program that many students attend because they coordinate busing with the district, and maintain pretty affordable rates.

My second son turned 5 this September, right after the cut-off. We'd talked about trying to push to enroll him in the public kindergarten this year, but wound up not making a stink about it for a simple reason: I don't think it was a rock solid case. He's an incredibly bright little boy (the questions he comes up with!) but in terms of the "school" stuff, he's shown less interest. He doesn't practice writing just for fun. He likes to be read to, which we do frequently, but given his curiosity about the world, I sort of assumed he'd teach himself to read so he could study books on topics that fascinate him. But he's taking his time on that.

It's a reminder to me about how different kids are. I assume at some point he will decide he wants to read and it will all go very quickly then. The enrichment program seems a bit more given to pushing literacy than some other programs I've looked at, which might provide an extra nudge. And at least he'll get to ride the bus with his older brother!

When did your kids learn to read?


gasstationwithoutpumps said...

My son learned to read at age 5, just before kindergarten started, but I suspect that he had been doing stealth reading for a year before that.

He's now a freshman in college, and still doing things a little differently from most kids his age.
(See some of the press about his start up company, that I've collected at )

Cait Fitz said...

Congrats on your newest addition.

I find it amazing how different children are from each other. Ours (6, 5, and 3) could not be more different from each other.

Congrats on 10 years. Keep up the great work :)

nicoleandmaggie said...

Daycare noticed my son was whole word reading (first word, "zebra") somewhere around 2 years 9 mo, and reading with phonics shortly after turning 3 (we think he taught himself when allowed to play with starfall when our daycare fell through).

My daughter can sight read several words (we first noticed a few months ago and she's 2 and a half now, first word, "oops") but doesn't seem to have connected the phonics rules (memorized from Leapfrog videos) to decoding yet.

She doesn't seem to be as into books as he was and she's more into creative play and she's really into the ipad, which we didn't have with DC1.

My son is a perfectionist so it often seemed like things were a punctuated equilibrium with him... he'd not be able to do something and then suddenly out of nowhere he was an expert. With my daughter we see her trying and improving.

Nother Barb said...

Well, it would appear that both boys started to just when they turned 7, halfway through first grade. But, they went from 0 to 60 in a week, so what was going on before that? They knew the letters, and sounds, and Uno loved reading with me, Duo not so much, but he was busy doing long division. (He did a sort of subject acceleration for math, an ad hoc class for a handful of 1st-graders,,with a teacher who could guide them through pre-algebra while helping out with the reading. Pre-algebra tends to be written at a 4th-grade reading level.)

Both boys really took off with their reading, and were a few grade levels ahead by the end of 1st grade, ending up in gifted elementary and honors high school English classes.

How does that "switch" turn on for reading?

Laura Vanderkam said...

I agree with these comments on "stealth reading" and a switch going on -- going from 0 to 60. My second kid may have some perfectionist tendencies, too, and he doesn't want to show us he can read until he can do it perfectly. I casually asked him what a word was in a book last night, and he answered, correctly, "elephant" -- but there were context clues. Other times when I ask what a basic sight word is, he'll say he doesn't know. Does he? Who knows. I couldn't read at the start of kindergarten, and was reading chapter books at the end, so I know it can come very very fast when that switch gets flipped.

Anonymous said...

My four year old has been reading for about 6 months and already can use so much expression! I am struggling with finding books with age appropriate content that are still challenging him. Any suggestions?

Evan Adams said...

I was 7 when I started reading, and I'm in the "profoundly gifted" range. Basically, my mom got off TANF and started working, so she had less time to read to me. It's worth noting that, when I did start reading, I went from non-reader to basically adult reading level in a couple of months.