I always assumed my children would be early readers. I was an early reader. I have a house full of books. Until we had children, all we did in our leisure time was read, really (now we don't have the same kind of leisure time).
And so when I had a child who was clearly bright but not obviously an early reader, I got very confused. She reached three without obviously reading and I was slightly worried. She reached four, and I was distinctly disconcerted. She reached five and I spent a lot f time persuading myself that it was ok if she wasn't an early reader.
Now she's six, and still not obviously a reader.
I'm not totally comfortable with it, and I don't pretend I am. I know that for at least three years she has been learning to read, in various ways - there were early word-recognitions and mispronunciations which she couldn't have arrived at any other way. A friend overheard her reading a book to herself. She read large parts of a book aloud to another friend. She knew things she couldn't have learned without reading.
And from time to time it has been obvious that she's working on word-recognition (see-and-say, whatever you call it) and at other times that she's trying to figure out phonics.
She really really liked the Peter And Jane learning to read books, as far as we can tell precisely because the stories are not the point, practicing is the point. She doesn't like practicing her reading on decent stories. She hasn't read me a Peter and Jane book for ages, though, and has been playing phonics games on the computer (instead?) and keeping very private about the whole affair.
She has asked me to find her illustrated Learning To Write books where she can fill in the words of a pre-written and ready-illustrated story, like the Peter and Jane ones but more interesting.
I remind myself that although I was reading adult novels starting about 4 months older than she is now, my own mother taught herself to read aged seven, while ill in bed looking at a packet of ASPRO on the mantelpiece.
I find it pretty confusing, nonetheless.
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3 days ago