I have two children- a girl in preschool who just turned five and another one who is three and a half. The five year old can read and comprehend on the fourth grade level, and the other one is able to read most five and six letter words without hesitation and reads books like Fancy Nancy with total fluency.
I know that might sound like bragging, and of course I am proud of them, but I take very little credit for their abilities other than giving some time and guidance here and there–my wife definitely deserves more credit, but even she doesn’t get most of it–the kids themselves do. They like reading so much that they want to do it on their own.
Parents have asked me “how we did it” and I can point to a few things that I believe helped.
Let me preface this list by saying that I think its really important that kids enjoy reading. Some kids just might not be ready to read at a young age. I do believe to a certain extent that the earlier they can get learning to read out of the way, the faster they can read to learn. I also think that many many more kids are capable of learning to read young than actually do learn.
There are plenty of different reasons for this, for instance: many times the parents just don’t think they need to do it, they don’t have time, they don’t think they are able to do it, they think it’s the school’s responsibility to teach them. The bottom line though is not to push them too hard on it.
Give them the resources and patience and don’t be upset if your child just isn’t ready. I also want to mention that my wife stayed home with the older one until she was three and the younger one until she was almost two. I know that’s not possible for many parents, but I do think there were huge dividends from this.
Ok, and now for the list of reading resources:
6) LeapFrog animated videos such as Talking Letter Factory. This an effective and very entertaining series.Also good are the TV shows Little Einsteins, Martha Speaks and Super Why–although the first two don’t help with reading directly. Martha Speaks builds toddlers‘ vocabulary. Little Einsteins introduces children to art, musical instruments and composition. Super Why does include some literacy.
See my list of educational TV shows on Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime and YouTube. In another post I discuss great educational gift ideas.