Hello Let's Go Learn, I heard about a reading program for four year olds. I have a four year old that I would like to home school, so when she starts public school she could be ahead. I have an eight year old that has reading difficulties and thought if I could start my younger one sooner it would benefit all of us. Thank you for you time and any information you can pass along to me.
Hello, Thanks for your email. Here are my thoughts:
1) Should you begin teaching your 4 year old to read? Well, there are several schools of thought regarding when to teach children how to read. I got an email recently from the mother of a 19 month old by who said her son loved books so much she wanted to begin teaching him to read. On the very same day I got an email from someone asking me about "delayed reading," a program that does not teach kids to read until age seven. My own preferences are somewhere in the middle. I certainly don't recommend teaching babies to read, but it is probably not necessary to wait until the age of 7. This is what was a wonderful and wise speech pathologist that I used to work with said to me: "A child who is ready to learn to read will show an interest in sounds. Don't ask the child to say the sound or to repeat after you. Say the sounds yourself and when the child is ready, he or she will start repeating after you." That really stuck with me over the years. Learning to say the sounds in isolation should be fairly easy for the child who is ready to learn. Phonemic awareness is the processing ability that allows us to learn how to sound out words. Most scientists say that this develops by age 5, some say 6 or 7. If you decide that she is ready to learn to read, what programs should you use? When choosing a program, remember that any good reading instruction should include these three things: 1) Learn to sound out words, 2) Learn to memorize words that cannot be sounded out, and 3) Learn to use contextual cues when reading.
2) "I have an eight year old that has reading difficulties and thought if I could start my younger one sooner it would benefit all of us." Unfortunately, if your 8 year old has a reading problem and your 4 year old has the same kind of problem, learning to read at 4 probably won't be any easier than it will be at 8. However, if your 4 year old does have a reading problem identifying it and getting help ASAP is a great idea. If you do decide to teach her to read now, approach things slowly and don't pressure her. If she is having a hard time, don't start worrying until she is 5 or 6. Chances are she will be just fine!
Tags: reading instruction, phonemic awareness, homeschool instruction