BigGuy taught himself to read by the age of 3–despite all of his other global developmental challenges. He actually taught himself to sight-read; but since he knew all of his letters and letter sounds, I intervened and imposed phonics on him. It wasn’t easy, but it was quick.
People used to tell me that I was so chill about homeschooling and my stock reply was “Well, he can read. Come talk to me when Girly is 8 and not reading yet and let’s see how chill I am then.” Because it seems like reading becomes the barometer of educational success and Girly is another story…
The reality is that I had met enough people who had kids that didn’t read until they were NINE (yes, NINE) and were totally fine. So I was able to really relax about when Girly decided she was ready to read. But she started verbalizing a desire to read at age 4.
I’m pretty sure she knew all of her letters at that point. I know she had to learn at least A-G because that was the requirement to take piano lessons and she was pretty driven for that. I think we learned all of them, though. Despite her regular request to learn to read, she had zero tolerance for the process I knew: start with 3-letter words that are consonant-vowel-consonant (CVC) and sound them out.
She would have none of that.
I would have none of anything else.
Because she was 4 and nobody needs to read at four.
This went on intermittently and I would follow her request and try again with her. Nnnnope. I even bought Funnix because someone said it was “Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons” but in video game format. Nnnnnnope.
I didn’t even read to her THAT much. Seriously. But I DID let her watch an episode of Sesame Street each day for probably a good 6 months and suddenly she was trying to sound out words on her own. SHE WAS READY.
Now we sat down with some Bob Books and got down to it. Now she had the perseverance she needed to get through sounding out the words. Now she wasn’t discouraged when it got hard, she was determined. Here we are, age 6-1/2 at the end of what would be a public school Kindergarten year and she is reading. She understands the concept of “silent e” but doesn’t always apply it (she will if you remind her that “there’s a silent e there”). She knows what “th”, “ch” and “sh” are supposed to sound like. And more often than I can understand, she manages to sound out enough of a long word to nail it. Like “beautiful”.
We need to work on sight words and vowel combinations and some other stuff, but it’s a lot easier now that she actually wants to do it.
So we read on the hammock. She reads something to me and then I read something to her. And I can continue to be chill because she can read. Which is pretty much what the mainstream wants to hear so they can judge the success of our homeschooling.