ksartor asks:

My 4 year old has not began to read yet but when he looks at a word, including his name, he will say the letters in order from right to left. Normal?

In Topics: School and Academics, Helping my child with reading
> 60 days ago



Dec 2, 2010
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What the Expert Says:


This is a good question.  Today's parents are often under the impression at their child needs to learn how to read at a very early age - even before starting kindergarten.  The problem with that philosophy is that children are not developmentally ready to learn to read at that young of an age.  In fact in Finland, which has some of the highest test scores, don't even teach children to read until they are 7.

So it sound like to me that your son is normal, in fact probably more advanced than you might think.  Recognizing letters is part of decoding, which happens at the early stages in the reading process.  However, an important step that is over looked at this early age is phonemic awareness.  This is when children play with sounds (not naming letters).  For a list of activities you can do with you child please read my response to another parent at http://www.education.com/question/childs-teacher-told-daughter-8/

Another way to prepare your son to learn how to read is to read to him.  I suggest reading at least 3 books a day: two he picks out and one you pick out.  He might pick the same books over and over again.  That's OK.  He is learning.  By you picking out a book you can expose him to all different types of genres such as nonfiction.  Boys love to hear about how things work like trucks, and they are often into learning about animals.  A great guide for all parents on learning the importance of reading aloud to their children and how to do it is in a book by Mem Fox called Reading Magic.

I understand the pressure parents are under and how they want what is best for their child.  And I know that a child that has the help and support from their family member have a better change of academic success.  However, there are somethings we just can't rush and that is their growth and development.  It sounds like you are doing all the right things - so scoop up your son and read him a story.  His time will come.

Hope that helps!  However, if you have a more specific question, please feel free to contact me directly.

Barb K

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