My Three Year Old Can Read

Mackenzie is not yet 3 1/2, and she can read anything you put in front of her.

We definitely played a role in teaching her, but that girl is just plain enamored with books and she really took to reading like a duck to water.

To teach her, I used the same book I learned from when I was 4 years old: Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons.

It was the hardest thing I’ve had to do as a parent thus far, and the most rewarding. There was laughter. There were tears. There were days the “15 minute” lesson took hours. There were days she begged to do extra lessons.

This past week she finished lesson 100 and I’m so proud of her!

Read on for the nitty gritty details. You know I’m happy to give ’em and I’ve had plenty of questions about how and why we taught her so young.

Before The Book

We taught Mackenzie her alphabet right before she turned 2. Honestly, she learned it mainly from watching the DVD “Meet The Letters” a half dozen times over the course of a few weeks. I don’t think she’d ever really seen t.v. before so it was mesmerizing (and it’s sorta eerie, actually, if you watch it) but it got the job done quickly.

We didn’t bother with letter sounds at all, since those are part of the book “Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons” and they differ somewhat from the traditional “B says BUH” style.

Though I did sing her the alphabet song regularly and we had letter magnets to play with, really the only thing we did with her before she turned three was we read to her a lot. Scott and I both love to read, so it came really naturally for us to want to share it with her.

We’d read stories before bedtime. Poems or scriptures at mealtimes. Scriptures as a family at night. Board books, picture books, my journal, words on food labels and on signs… I just shared with her all the things I was seeing in the world. Any free time during the day, snuggling up and reading with Mama was a viable choice and she’d often pick it. We would truck home big bags of library books and she’d happily ask for repeats of her favorites.

She’d see us reading books and ask to be included. We taught her from early on that books were special and to be treated nicely.

Here’s Scott reading to her from his prep book for the boards:

I’m reading her favorite, The Little Engine That Could, while we wait for Caitlyn to arrive:

A False Start

Mackenzie was such a big fan of reading and I was chomping at the bit to unlock the whole world of words for her… so I blew it. I started doing lessons with her when she was 2 1/2. The book says you can start at 3 1/2 for “precocious” children, and 4 for “almost any child”. So yeah, I was way early. Although she was capable of understanding the instructions and she made it through a dozen lessons, her attention span was short and I was trying to keep it “light” so I’d let her bail whenever she said she was done. My policy was to only do a lesson if she “wanted to” .

She quickly picked up on how badly I wanted her to do them, and delighted in cutting lessons short and waffling as to whether she “felt like” reading. I noticed she would stop as soon as things got remotely difficult for her, and I did not want to foster that instinct so I put the book away and told her we’d wait until she turned 3.

Of course after that, she was anxious to turn 3 so she could start lessons again. Little did she know I would mean business the second time around…

Beans Don’t Do Half Jobs

When she turned 3, I knew she was capable of doing the lessons and I was confident that she would love reading once she became proficient. So, I jumped in with both feet. No longer were lessons optional. We did one lesson a day, six days a week, and until we finished the lesson for the day, we didn’t do anything else.

You may have heard of the book, “The Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother,” which came out recently. Parts of it really resonated with me. I do believe that children grow from doing hard things, and that we naturally love things that we are good at. Kids are stronger than we often think they are.

I had unwavering faith in Mackenzie’s ability to do this, so I was pretty much unmoved by tears and claims that it was too hard. She saw my confidence in her and started to be confident in herself, not just in reading but in other areas of her life as well. It was rewarding to see her grow as she did something difficult.

One major difference between me and the Tiger Mother lady, however, is that I did not teach Mackenzie to read so she could go impress people. In fact, I’m kind of embarrassed when people hear her read. Scott substituted in Primary (our Church’s children program) last week and it was Mackenzie’s turn to recite a scripture. Typically a three year old will repeat as an adult reads the scripture, but Scott just whipped out the book and pointed where she should read. I was mortified when I found out. I knew that would peg me as either “Wonder Mom” or “Crazy Mom” depending on who was doing the pegging, and I don’t feel that either shoe fits.

The Good

I was right about Mackenzie having a tendency to give up on things when they got tough. Sticking with reading lessons did wonders for her self-confidence, problem solving, and sense of independence. She is a much tougher girl than when we started.

Having a reading lesson on the agenda every day gave our lives structure it was lacking. We had to be ready for the day early enough to start that reading lesson and finish it before running errands, meeting up with friends, or tackling housework.

It taught me so much about my amazing daughter, and about myself. Although I spent all day every day for three years with her, sitting down and teaching her eye-to-eye and working with her strengths and weaknesses was very eye-opening and has been invaluable in knowing how to parent her in other aspects of our days.

The Bad

Mackenzie is stubborn as snot. Forgive the expression, but I really haven’t seen anything like it before.

Most of the time she is as mellow as they come. Mild, meek, sweet and eager to please. But when she digs in her heels, she doesn’t budge. Remember the time she went longer than 24 hours without eating? At the age of 2 she was determined enough to spend an entire day sitting at the table rather than give in and eat four bites of food.

Here she is napping at the table during her second(?) and final(?) food throwdown:

Picture that applied to reading lessons, and you’ll understand why on two or three days, I hid in the bathroom and surreptitiously phoned Scott for moral support while Mackenzie sat at the table with her arms folded.

Just like with the food, she dug in her heels on something simple. It would be a word she can sound out perfectly well. Nothing tricky, nothing out of the ordinary… she would just decide to stop cold in the middle of a lesson and refuse to continue. I’m not a wheedler and the rules were pretty clear: Finish the lesson before you do anything else. So we’d miss music time, she’d lose all her play time for the day and just sit it out until lunch or later.

Eventually, she’d decide to finish the lesson and life would resume as normal. It’s been months now since we’ve had one of these bad boys. Maybe they are out of her system for now?

On the other end of the spectrum, I also dealt with frequent emotional breakdowns in the first several weeks. Far from the stubborn sit-ins she staged, these would be caused by perceived difficulty in the task at hand and she’d weep and wail and beg for a drink of water and a tissue and a hug and a kiss and a cuddle and on and on… sometimes it was hard not to laugh, to be honest. Other times I wanted to cry right along side her in frustration.

Just like the throwdowns, this behavior is something she exhibited outside of reading lessons on occasion as well, so I was actually grateful to be able to anticipate them and deal with them head-on. These were (and are) dealt with using tough love, distraction, or coping mechanisms, depending on the situation. Now when her emotions well up over something trivial, she knows to take some deep breaths, she tries to use her words, and she retreats to a couch or her bedroom to regroup as needed. She comes back ready to tackle whatever it was that set her off.

Methods

As I mentioned, we did one lesson a day. I started at the kitchen table and stayed there until we had worked out all the kinks (definitely beyond level 50). After that, things were like clockwork and she was much less easily distracted. I let her pick where we’d do each lesson: couches, floor, beds, etc.

The lessons did typically take around 15 minutes, with the middle lessons being the longest because the story was a full page but her speed was still pretty slow. They would push closer to 45 minutes of an hour, as I recall. The book is VERY easy to use and you just have to read what it tells you to read, and you’ll be in good shape. But I did find some techniques I used helped us a great deal:

  • I’d ask her to hold all questions, stories, etc. not related to the lesson until the end of the page. By the end of the page she had usually forgotten the thing that seemed so desperately important (and distracting) in the middle of the page.

  • She had a chart that numbered to 100 where she’d put her sticker, and if it holds up I plan on giving Caitlyn a different colored sticker and letting her use the same chart.
  • When we got to the longer stories, her excitement and motivation was waning a bit so I added a few things to make it more fun:
    – A victory lap after the first read-through of the story. Complete with theme music and dashing around the house in circles and arm pumps, this got her grinning every time.
    – A fancy countdown on my fingers for the questions I ask during the story. Each time she’d get to the end of a sentence, I’d make a big fuss about which question I had for her. She ate it up.
  • Overall, I was very heavy with the praise. I praised her for being such a hard worker and for sticking with it when it got tough. I was careful not to become frustrated or impatient when she struggled with concepts and I focused more on her effort than on whether she got it right on the first try. She picked up on that and became more brave as we continued. This has been invaluable because now she will give ANY word a shot, even if it’s very long or unfamiliar.
  • I reminded her often how much I enjoyed teaching her to read and how exciting it is that she’s becoming a “reader” (sort of like a club!) From lesson 55 on, I started asking her to help me read books. I would read and then stop and point to a word I wanted her to read, making sure to do a good mix of easy-peasy ones and ones that she was unfamiliar with. We moved on to her reading every other sentence, and then every other page. This was much better for us than having her read entire stories at first because it helped the plot and pages move along without her frustration building when she encountered multiple difficult words in a row.
  • We called grandmas and read to them over the phone, and I tried to keep Scott abreast of progress so he could scoop her up at the end of the day and hear all about the stories she read.

  • We asked her to start reading part of our family scripture study each night and she was so proud to do it!
  • I encourage her to read throughout the day, because sometimes she seems to forget she can! “What’s this?” she’ll ask a the grocery store and point to something. “Read it and see” is my answer. “What am I supposed to do on this page?” she asks about her coloring book. “Read it and find out” I answer. πŸ™‚

Next Time Around…

Unless my next children are book-hounds like Mackenzie, I will wait until they are 3 1/2 to start, and maybe later if the circumstances aren’t right. Much like potty training, this is something I need to gear up for and commit to, so it shouldn’t coincide with a new baby or a move.

I absolutely plan on teaching Caitlyn and any future children using the same book and similar techniques. This post was focused on the nitty gritty so much, I feel like I may have missed sharing the forest for the trees:

I cry happy tears nearly every day when Mackenzie comes up to me and tells me what happened in the book she just read.

She’s always been a good sport about being in the car, but now she’s actually discovering things as we drive. She brings a stack of magazines with us and reads them cover to cover.

I love that she reads to her little sister already.

Much like when she learned to sign “hat” as a baby and soon spotted every hat for a mile around and eagerly pointed them out to me, she is a keen observer of all things word-related now and shows me things I would have missed if left to my own devices. Her mind is constantly synthesizing and she’ll tell me things like: “Oh! “Begins” begins with a B!” and “This book is called The Ant and the Elephant but ‘elephant’ already has an ‘ant’ in it! That’s silly.”

She is suddenly interested in typing Scott notes. Her spelling is atrocious and the note is always some variation of the following, but each one makes me so happy:
“I luv yoo.
Luv ciytlin and macinze and mama. I luv yoo vire much. I hop yoo cum hom luv yoo”

I consider myself privileged beyond measure to teach her, cheer her on, and watch in amazement as she blossoms. I’m so proud of her for finishing her 100 lessons!

Only three more years until I get to start lesson 1 with Caitlyn. πŸ˜‰

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About beanland

Scott is a family practice doctor and Anne is a full-time mother and teacher to three beautiful girls and one boy.
This entry was posted in Homeschooling, Life as we know it and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

33 Responses to My Three Year Old Can Read

  1. Andrea says:

    What a beautiful and smart little girl! Congrats Mackenzie! It is so rewarding to be a mom, isn’t it? Especially when you’re deliberate with your time like you guys have been.

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  2. Congratulations!!! That is quite the accomplishment on both your parts. So I was given that book as well but I am a lazy mom and haven’t even opened it yet because I keep saying “someday.” Michael just finished kindergarten though and at the promotion ceremony they had a couple of his classmates actually read a poem and it amazed me because Michael still struggles with some sight words and usually still sounds out 90% of his words. (This is due to major neglect on my part) My daughter just turned 4 already too. Would these lessons work for teaching both of them at the same time? Or should I work through it with each of them seperately? Michael would have a slight advantage to her but not much. She definitely knows all her letters. Also I would like to know how much preparation you did for each lesson? Is it really something you can just sit down with her and read aloud and work through it like a normal workbook from the dollar store? Or did you read through the lesson at least once prior to sitting down with her? And last question… Did it really only take 15 – 45 minutes a lesson? Thanks Anne.

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    • beanland says:

      Hey Lorina,

      You already have this same book? Awesome! I would definitely do each child individually especially because it sounds as though the younger may be more advanced and I would imagine that would lessen Michael’s enthusiasm considerably. A big part of the appeal for the child is your excitement and the attention surrounding their individual progress and hard work. In fact, I might be tempted to have my older child do the lessons and then start the younger, if it were me.

      Yep, 15-45 minutes a day! And there really isn’t any prep you need to do, beyond reading the introduction to the book carefully and familiarizing yourself with the lesson layout once. After that, you can read the lesson for the first time as you read it to your child… it really is simple.

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  3. lonica says:

    Congratulations to Mackenzie. I know she worked really hard to achieve admittance to the “reader’s club”! Tell her it’s the best club to ever be a part of and she should never take her reading for granted! I miss seeing the “Beans Can Read Poster,” but you’re probably glad Amelia isn’t around to pull it off the wall. Good work Anne, I know that was a difficult motherhood challenge, but you tackled it and came out triumphant! I’m so impressed with your ability to mother. Beautiful pictures, too! Were you doing manual? The lighting is fantastic…

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    • beanland says:

      Hey Lonica,

      Thanks! I had the camera on aperture priority. The pictures of her in the red and white shirt were on a snowy day and there was beautiful light reflecting off the snow through our sliding glass door. The colorful sweatshirt pics were on a pretty typical overcast Columbus day, so I had to be careful with how I positioned her so she caught the light coming in.

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  4. Anne, I went to the library today and right before leaving I thought, man I wish Emi could read these all to herself, I could get so much more done! (not that I don’t love reading to her, but ya know, we’re moving…) So that thought reminded me of this book you told me about. So I hurried back in to the library and looked it up. They totally had this book! I checked it out and will just re-check it out throughout the summer. I’m so excited. We’ve already done lesson one. It took just a few minutes, because she already knew the sounds and such, but that’s okay because it got her really excited for the next lesson. Thanks for sharing all your great ideas!!

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  5. Oh, and everyday I remind her that her friend Mackenzie can read, she thinks that is pretty awesome. Good job Mackenzie!!

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  6. Mom says:

    Grandchild #3 to finish the reading book! Hurray!
    That book is such a great book. I am so proud of Mackenzie and her mother for making it through. It is easier with the next child as you know some tricks by then.

    Love,
    Grandma MacAskill

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  7. Spencer says:

    Scott and Anne,

    We made our way through Columbus yesterday and stopped off at my cousin’s house for a little bit. I was surprised to hear that you guys live only 5 doors down from him. We tried to stop by and say hi, but you guys must have been taking a Sunday afternoon nap.
    We’ll have to catch you guys another time we make it to Columbus, perhaps to visit the temple.

    Spence

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  8. Pingback: Our First Day of Homeschool – The Nitty and Gritty « Adventures in Beanland

  9. Alicia S. says:

    I just found this and have to say that I was almost crying toward the end; your story sounds so much like the journey I’ve been on with my boy, who has always been a very strong-willed and precocious child. I love your parenting philosophies and you’re daughter was an absolute delight to read about this morning!

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  10. Helen says:

    What book are you talking about? I have read the article but can not see any mention of the books you are referring to?

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  11. Beth M. says:

    Oh my goodness, your Mackenzie sounds just like my Abby. The extreme stubbornness, the dramatic emotional breakdowns over trivial things… and then the total sweetness, helpfulness, and love of reading. I used the same book with her, starting when she was 4 because that’s when I discovered it. We had quite a few battles over it, and other days she loved it. She’s now almost 6 and reading on a 5th grade reading level. She devours books. I also just finished teaching my son to read with the same book. We made one attempt when he was 2 and 1/2 and it didn’t work – we made it through a dozen lessons or so and then he lost interest and I realized he wasn’t really getting it. So we stopped. Started again when he was 3, and just flew through it. He has a very different personality, much more laid back, so I didn’t have nearly as many battles with him and the ones we did have were shorter. We finished just before Christmas, so now he is eagerly reading everything he can get his hands on. I just found you today (reading your review of Singapore math, actually) and this page was so much fun to read because I could have written most of it. πŸ™‚

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    • beanland says:

      Thanks so much for taking time to comment. I did think the personality of your child would make a big difference and I’m happy to hear your experience supported that! I was just telling my husband that I want to wait with our second child until she’s excited about it and asks to start (she’s 2 1/2 now and I would guess it’ll be a year from now) because I feel like she will take off with very little drama if she comes to the table herself to learn.

      When I was a brand-new mom, all the talk about “knowing your child” was intimidating to me. Now, if I step out of a situation and put my head together with my husband, I’m always surprised by how often knowing our child makes all the difference in the effectiveness of our approach. And it starts to come very naturally if you spend enough time with your children and keep your eyes open!

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  12. Brittany says:

    Just started with my 3 year old (3yrs, 3 mos) and he blew through the first few lessons. Once we started doing 3 letter words he acted completely uninterested and will not have anything to do with it. At all. But I noticed that even up until lesson 7ish, you’re supposed to tell them the word. You don’t make them figure it out. I’ve pushed him to do that and maybe I shouldn’t have. Any thoughts?

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    • beanland says:

      He’s so young, I would probably take a break for a few months and then try again.

      But for me, it would all depend on whether he was giving up because it was hard (but he was still totally capable of doing it)… or if he just wasn’t interested at all… or if it was really too much for his ability/attention span at this point.

      In the first case, if I was up for the challenge myself… I’d encourage him, making sure to praise him for effort and not just getting things right. I’d do a sticker chart, a sticker on every finished page, etc. Whatever it took to get him tackling the challenging stuff with abandon. That’s what I experienced most often with my daughter.

      If he wasn’t interested, that could be because he needs some more age/maturity under his belt, or it could be because he’s not good at it yet so it’s not fun yet. When they start reading sentences and picking words out of “real” books, that’s when it gets more fun. Again, it depends on your own desire to push past the more boring stuff, cheerlead, etc. If I were you, I’d just wait and try again later.

      -Anne

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  13. Sherry says:

    My 13 year old had no interest in books at all in his toddler years. None. I was so worried about him, thought he would be “behind” other kids his age, would struggle when he *did* decide to read, etc etc. It made me feel horrible when I heard stories from other mothers of their 2 and 3 year olds readers and mine was anything but. Well ten years later he is in all advanced classes, does extra credit projects because he is an over achiever (this is all I hear from his teachers) and is a straight A student and never has to study. Ever. I sure wasn’t in his category, and I’m pretty proud of him to say the least.
    I guess the reason I am posting is it’s for those who have toddlers who have zero interest in learning to read. I know how it feels. Fast forward (and boy it has been a FAST forward, they grow up soo fast) I have a 3 year old who some nights really wants me to read a book, other nights she has a meltdown and the book she ends up throwing at her teenage brother. i am going to try what you have done and post how we are doing in our attempts. I know children are all different, but you never know it is worth a try. She has the worst tantrums and melt downs, very strong willed also.
    At any rate, thanks for posting the above. I just happened to read your blog because I googled “toddlers and reading” and there it was. anyway, have a good one, and thanks =o)

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  14. Karen says:

    Can you make a suggestion about what to do when we finish this book? My son (4 1/2) and I are on lesson 86. I know that when we finish there will be some gaps so to speak. I want to make sure we stick to phonics based teaching. What did you do to help your daughter get to the level where she can read the Bible? I did see that the author makes a suggestion about what books to read next and how to help them. That seems easy enough. What other suggestions would you make? We are constantly having him read other simple books and everything around him although he seems to read the 100 Easy Lessons the best. Any suggestions about what to do next would be great. Thanks!

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    • Beth M. says:

      Karen, I have used this book with two of my kids. My daughter was 4 when we went through the book, and is now 6. My son was 3, and is now 4. With both of them, I have continued simply by having them read aloud to me from whatever books I have available at their level. Both read through McGuffey’s primer not long after, and dozens of “easy reader” or “beginning reader” type books until they were ready to move on. I haven’t done any other phonics with them at all. My daughter is on at least a 5th grade reading level now and my son is about 3rd grade reading level. They both can read the Bible (I’m currently having them do a little of that each day) although my son still needs help with a lot of words. Sometimes he surprises me with the ones he *doesn’t* need help with! I really feel like after 100 Easy Lessons, all that is really needed is lots of reading with a parent to help with new words. Even with further phonics instruction, lots of reading with an adult would still be necessary since there are SO many words in the English language that just don’t follow the rules!

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      • beanland says:

        Thanks for chiming in, Beth.

        I will say I’m becoming more and more convinced that further phonics instruction can be very helpful for reading, and is perhaps even more important for spelling!

        I didn’t realize until I started digging into the various spelling curricula on the market for homeschoolers that the most common approach is the equivalent of the “whole word” approach to reading. Almost every spelling program on the homeschooling market uses rote memorization and worksheets to help kids spell a certain list of loosely related words and then they move on to another list. Around and around it goes.

        I learned to spell this way and combined with being a voracious reader, I became a good speller. However, I discovered what I feel is a much better approach to teach spelling. It involves teaching the phonograms and their sounds, along with some spelling rules. It makes so much more sense and empowers you to spell many more words than you have studied on a list.

        There are two curricula available that I’m aware of that follow this approach. All About Reading / All About Spelling: http://www.allaboutlearningpress.com/ and Logic of English: http://www.logicofenglish.com . I use the latter, and would recommend their Essentials book without reservation, but you don’t need to buy a curriculum. You can familiarize yourself with the phonograms: http://www.logicofenglish.com/resources/phonogram-list and can learn spelling rules and applications, etc. from her “Uncovering the Logic of English” paperback book. You can see more about why I love this method here: https://beanland.wordpress.com/2012/06/05/spelling-curriculum-the-logic-of-english/.

        We are now about halfway through the book and I am more sold than ever, but I do need to update that review with a few changes (e.g. I’m not convinced that the convenience of the consumable workbook is worth the cost).

        I used to feel that most words didn’t follow the rules… that they were “funny words”, but it turns out a lot of that was due to the fact that I never learned the rules in school! Some examples: “augh” makes two sounds, “ea” makes three sounds, “oo” makes three sounds but one is rare, . My daughter now knows this and she knows when those spellings are typically used in a word. (augh before a “t” or at the end of a word, etc.) She knows when “ck” may be used, and the list goes on… I love learning these things myself!

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      • Beth M. says:

        Okay, now that you mention spelling I realize we *are* doing more phonics. My daughter is currently using “Spelling Power” which has word lists which are each associated with a particular spelling (phonics) rule. So for spelling, she is getting more phonics instruction. But by the time we started that she was already reading on a 4th or 5th grade level.

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    • beanland says:

      Great question. I looked up a few of the suggestions in the back of the book, but it seemed like some of them were out of print and the few I did get from the library didn’t wow me.

      I had a pretty good feel for what level of book my daughter could tackle at that point. I really tried to have the attitude with her that she could and should give ANY word a try. I never said “you know this word” or “uh-oh here’s a long word”. So we grabbed favorite picture books along with some “easy readers” like Amelia Bedelia, Frog and Toad, Nate the Great, etc.

      When she was just starting out with real books, we’d trade off reading words… then trade off reading sentences… then paragraphs… then pages. That kept the story flowing better than if she was sounding everything out on her own. And, it gave her a greater awareness of punctuation, which is important with reading fluency.

      Basically I would do some easy books but also encourage a child to tackle anything (labels on food, street signs, the Bible, etc.) Just stay positive and give further phonics instruction (see my next comment) to help them out with sticky spots. This is the most fun stage, when they realize the world is open to them!

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  15. April Stevens says:

    Hi,
    I just stumbled on your blog, (via research regarding Singapore Math and Kumon – I’m a big fan of Kumon) and while I did not use the reading method that you used, my daughter was an early reader and I am a strong believer that the expectations of most parents and educators are unfortunately low.

    BTW,I can certainly sympathize with your moments with your strong willed child – I have had similar trials, not an eating strike, but other showdowns (this is one of the things that worries me regarding home schooling.)

    I wanted to mention that I used a combination of Glen Doman’s “How to Teach Your Baby to Read” and a small paperback called “Native Reading” to teach my daughter to read. The first book came from the library and the second I purchased for 12 dollars on Amazon. I began teaching her to read at eight months old – in her highchair, after dinner – using the Doman method. I taught my daughter to read before age two, and by three and 1/2 she was reading anything. ( BTW, a good picture book with large vocabulary words that we have enjoyed is Gerald Durrell’s “The Fantastic Flying Journey.”) Recently, she read Charlotte’s Web, mostly independently. She pulled it off of the bookshelf and read the first 22 pages on her own, so I figured that she was in it already. So, I did quite a bit of emotional prep about the lifespans of spiders before we got very far in the book. At the end, I found I was crying, but she was not, because she was happy that Charlotte’s babies would be friends to Wilbur.

    Anyway, my daughter has now just turned 5 and has begun school at a gifted public school in NYC. This school is prestigious and has a competitive entry process, yet I am concerned that the curriculum is not as advanced or ambitious as we have been for our daughter – it’s a bit of a let down – so I’m asking myself if I should be homeschooling her or alternatively sending her to a private school where there are more individualized lesson plans (more advanced) near our second home in a rural community (this would actually be cheaper than public school in NYC). She has made immediate friends at the NYC school, and on the bus, and I hope that our decision to send her to this school is a sound one. Your blog has given me much food for thought and made me realize that I am not the only mom who wants more than “normal” for my child.

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    • beanland says:

      Thanks for stopping by and sharing your experience. I read a bit about the Doman method and didn’t think it had much merit so it was interesting to hear from someone who had found so much success with it!

      Charlotte’s Web is a great read, but you bring up an interesting point: Early readers may not have the emotional maturity to handle the content of the books they’re capable of reading. Personally, I read Charlotte’s Web to my 3 year olds, but there are plenty of other books I’m not giving them access to for many more years.

      Your dilemma with school is a tricky one. Everyone has their own reasons to homeschool or not homeschool, but I feel like if you’re reading great books at home (and give your child access and time to enjoy great books on their own) then they’ll be able to keep the fire of learning and supplement their own education pretty well. In other words, if I sent my daughter to school, I wouldn’t want her to be bored all day, but I wouldn’t be worried that she wasn’t blazing ahead academically in that setting. I’m not in a hurry for her to move up grade levels, just for her to stay engaged and love learning. If she’s learning other things in school and enjoying friendships and the experiences, I wouldn’t personally switch to homeschooling just to fast track academics. Hopefully that makes sense! But, it sounds like we may have different goals. I wish you all the best in making a decision that’s right for your family.

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      • Olga says:

        I’ve tried Doman with my son as well. He is 3 and reading easily. As an addition to Doman I’ve used a great tool: http://www.brillkids.com/ra.php?BKAFF44172 Saved so much time with it. Everything is preplanned and use the same as Doman technique.

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      • beanland says:

        Ah, interesting. My understanding is that every baby reading program is a “whole word” approach as opposed to phonics. As long as phonics are introduced later and both baby and parent enjoy the extra project… I guess I can see the appeal. For me, though, I’m fine waiting. πŸ™‚

        >

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  18. Shelby says:

    Yea! I know this was posted ages ago but I’m just reading it now. I have a three year old who I haven’t done much with yet my Mom was a reading specialist for kindergarteners so I was also reading in the early threes and writing my name and other simple words. The books I was reading were the old Dick and Jane series. I’m now inspired by your post to try and teach my son! Thanks for the inspiration and a book to try!

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    • beanland says:

      Shelby,

      Thanks for the comment! I need to write a post for my next daughter, but she’s reading wonderfully now and just turned 4. She has a very different personality, attention span, and energy level, but we used the same book and started when she was 3 and 3 months. We had different challenges with her but not a single battle of will like we had with our oldest. Our second had zero trouble blending sounds, but did (and still sometimes does) have a tendency to take wild guesses instead of patiently sounding words out. πŸ™‚ Your experience teaching your son will undoubtedly be unique, challenging, and so rewarding!

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  19. Jessica T. says:

    Nice to see there are other kids out there the same age as my daughter who can read( 3 years old) … We live on an island… we have yet to meet a ton of people, but my so far my daughter has not had the privilege of meeting other kids her age who share her joy in reading and learning .. .

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