Early ReaderJake started reading shortly after he turned two. He hadn’t even been talking very long. A few years ago I started a different blog and wrote about when he first read something out of the blue, and his fascination with ALL. THE. LETTERS. I’ve republished an updated version of that post here. He has always seemed to have some weird, innate reading superpower. Before they started Kindergarten, I had both boys tested for “gifted”. My reasoning wasn’t crazy – I’ll have to write some more about that separately. Anyway, Jake was 5 years old, 0 months and read at the level of 9 years, 2 months old. 4th grade! People have asked me what I did to teach him to read so early.
ExposureHere’s the thing. I have built in comparisons since the boys are twins. Reid did not start reading at the same time Jake did, yet he was exposed to the exact same things (you know because they are twins of a single mama, so are rarely apart.) Jake clearly had a very early aptitude for reading. But I wouldn’t have known how much if I hadn’t made reading with them a priority. While Reid did not show the interest or aptitude as early as Jake – I think it was more because it was “Jake’s thing”, and Reid couldn’t compete (nor should he want to). BUT….Reid tested in the 75th percentile for reading at 5 years, 0 months, and at the end of Kindergarten, he tested in the 99th percentile. So….he’s no slouch in the reading department! (We’ll talk later about his freakish math and logic skills.) I feel like I could write a whole series related to reading. (Hmmm…I think I might do that…)
Ideas to Teach the Love of Reading…here are a few things I did early on with the boys that I believe helped them learn to love reading.
Exposure – Surround them with BooksI wish I had taken them to the library more, but I didn’t take them many places by myself for the first few years. Instead, I bought a ton of books for them – fiction and non-fiction – so when we read out loud they heard many different kinds of words – especially from non-fiction books that weren’t necessarily geared toward babies.
Read Out Loud – ObvsI read aloud to them every day. Okay well, to be honest, not when they were super tiny and I was just trying to survive. But, once we found a groove, plenty of reading was part of our normal everyday thing. And it still is.
Show them words, underline the syllables with your finger as you enunciate each oneWhile I know it is recommended to have NO screen-time for children under two years old, I was (am) a single, full-time working mom of twin babies and needed to wash bottles and fold laundry, and you know, breathe sometimes. So my boys got some screen-time starting around six months (hold the judgy-ness, please). I was at least particular about what they watched (look for a post about that in the near future.) One of the few things I allowed them to watch was the Your Baby Can Learn DVD Series. Jake used to watch the letters and words, not the pictures. Now, as I said, Reid saw these as well and he didn’t read at 26 months. But, it was exposure to letters, words, and sounds, that I still believe was beneficial. (Bonus – the program I bought included flashcards too!)
Teach them how to comprehend what they are readingWhen I read to them, I read with the characters, with inflection and animation, to make it engaging and interesting. We also talked about the story and the pictures as we went. I think this helps comprehension.
- In Goodnight Moon – where is the mouse? Where is the red balloon? (We LOVE the entire Goodnight Series!)
- In Madeline – That is the Eifel Tower; this story is in Paris, France. Let’s find it on the world map on the wall.
- In If You Give a Moose a Muffin – What kind of muffin is the moose’s favorite? What do you love about the moose’s painting?