Learning to Read: how old were you?

United Kingdom
November 1, 2023 3:36am CST
Hello to you all. I was just reading something that was mostly not interesting, but there were some comments saying they didn't believe a 4 year old would be able to read a menu. Further comments ensued with people insinuating that anyone claiming to have learned to read before the age of 5 must be mistaken. I have seen it before where some are convinced that reading before the age of 5 is impossible. This has extended to the assumption that a child of or under a certain age wouldn't be able to do other things or wouldn't know certain things. With my own two boys, one did find reading a struggle and couldn't really do it until he started school. Saying that, he was more interested in numbers and was good at other things. The other son was reading before he went to nursery at age 2. This has been quite the norm for our family as I was around that age as, I believe, were my mum, my older nephew, and my sisters. I understand that many education systems teach certain things at a certain age, but education starts at home. Further learning can be through other preschool settings. In my family, reading has mainly been something that parents taught children (with some self-teaching). I am curious, then, as to how old you were when you learned to read, and who taught you.
15 people like this
16 responses
@snowy22315 (166475)
• United States
1 Nov
I know for a fact I was reading at 5, but it could have been before then. I had Dr. Seuss books I was reading before I went to school I think.
3 people like this
• United Kingdom
4 Nov
As I understand, Dr Seuss books are designed as first books for children starting to read alone. I'm not sure we had any at home. We've always had a lot of books of various genres and difficulty levels.
2 people like this
@snowy22315 (166475)
• United States
4 Nov
@pumpkinjam I got them the summer before I started school.and I think I could read some of them before going..I sure liked the pictures!!!.
2 people like this
@GardenGerty (156261)
• United States
2 Nov
Likely I was 5 and in school. I say that because I could not see well until I go my glasses at that age. That is not to say that no one taught me. I know my older sister taught me my letters and numbers before that. My daughter was that way. We found she needed glasses right before she started kindergarten . . . BUT as soon as she had those glasses on, she could read. Our house was a reading house and my son began recognizing numbers and reading around 3 years old. His first month in Kindergarten his teacher had a friend who specialized in reading and gifted education and the kids in her class were all tested in their reading skills. My son read at the equivalent of 12th grade, 9th month--in other words, he read as well as a student who had already graduated.
3 people like this
• United Kingdom
4 Nov
Needing glasses would not have helped, I guess For some who read later, there are different reasons for them not being able to do so sooner. Like needing glasses, of course. I also knew someone who was a very late reader because there were no books in his household. I'm not sure he'd seen a book (other than, perhaps, on the shelves of shops). It turned out that his parents were not able to read. I don't know if it was simply that they had never been taught or if there was something else like dyslexia.
1 person likes this
@much2say (53247)
• Los Angeles, California
1 Nov
Not impossible at all! I completely agree with you in that education starts at home. I don't remember when I learned to read, but I did know how to read before entering kindergarten (which was well before age 5). My mother read to me a lot. I read to both my kids since birth . . . they knew their alphabet by 2 and could read before 4.
2 people like this
• United Kingdom
4 Nov
I don't remember learning to read. I guess because it was so long ago I used to take my boys on buses quite a lot, and some of their earliest reading was reading signs on the buses.
2 people like this
@much2say (53247)
• Los Angeles, California
4 Nov
@pumpkinjam The good thing is it's like a bike - we never forget how to read . That's good your boys read the signs on the bus . . . that teaches them that reading is a skill needed everywhere you go - it's not just for reading "books".
1 person likes this
@sallypup (56907)
• Centralia, Washington
2 Nov
My husband and I have always read out loud to each other so daughter heard us from when she was a diapered kid. She was about 2 years old when she helped hubby read the letters on envelopes so he would know who the mail came from. (He is blind.) I had a schoolteacher in my family as well as a Mom who liked to read so I learned to read very well before I went to first grade.
2 people like this
• United Kingdom
4 Nov
A friend of mine has books with both normal writing and braille for his son. My friend is blind but his son is sighted. I guess it's the same idea as bilingual households having books in both languages for their children.
2 people like this
@sallypup (56907)
• Centralia, Washington
4 Nov
@pumpkinjam Your friend has the same issues as my household. And yes, it is a bilingual situation. My husband has an engineering degree though he is blind. He used to read textbooks to daughter to get her to go to sleep.
2 people like this
@Fleura (28544)
• United Kingdom
1 Nov
I know I could read before I started school, which was at 4 and a half. It was mainly my Dad that used to read to and with me, although I remember my Mum teaching me the alphabet in both Welsh and English while I lay in bed.
2 people like this
• United Kingdom
4 Nov
It was mainly my mum who taught me to read. I recall her saying that her dad taught her to read. She said that her dad got fed up of reading her the same story every bedtime, so he taught her to read that book. I believe she was around 2 or 3 years old. Now, we try to get my mum books as gifts but we're running out of ideas because I think she's read everything I am curious - is there much difference between the Welsh and English alphabets? I know a few words in Welsh but not the alphabet.
1 person likes this
• United Kingdom
4 Nov
@Fleura thank you
1 person likes this
@Fleura (28544)
• United Kingdom
4 Nov
@pumpkinjam A, B, C, Ch, D, Dd, E, F, Ff, G, Ng, H, I, L, Ll, M, N, O, P, Ph, R, Rh, S, T, Th, U, W, Y.
1 person likes this
@just4him (299984)
• Green Bay, Wisconsin
1 Nov
I was six when I started first grade. If given the opportunity, I think I could have learned earlier, but my parents didn't read. I don't think a Golden Book existed in my home until my younger brother came along. I know my grand nephew has been reading for a long time. I think my sister told me he was at least four when he learned. His parents were always reading to him.
2 people like this
• United Kingdom
4 Nov
I recall a documentary (don't remember what it was called or much else about it) in which two intelligent professionals couldn't work out why their child wasn't reading or doing other things they would have expected. It turned out that those 'intelligent professionals' had never read with their child, never sat down with him to support learning and had not figured out that that was the problem. Once they began to do that, the child thrived.
2 people like this
@Fleura (28544)
• United Kingdom
4 Nov
What's a Golden Book @just4him?
1 person likes this
@Fleura (28544)
• United Kingdom
4 Nov
@pumpkinjam I remember visiting a friend with two young boys, aged almost three and almost one I think at the time. I took small gifts for the boys, including a picture book for the eldest, I thought his parents would read it to him. So I was a bit surprised when they just handed it over to him and said 'Here you are, you like books don't you?' and just left him to flick through and look at the pictures. And I found that they never read bed-time stories, they just lay down with the boys until they fell asleep (they often fell asleep as well of course!)
2 people like this
@May2k8 (17920)
• Indonesia
1 Nov
I learned to read and write also connect sentences when I was 6 years old.
2 people like this
• United Kingdom
4 Nov
That seems quite late to me, although it does appear to be the norm for many. Do you recall who taught you?
2 people like this
@May2k8 (17920)
• Indonesia
5 Nov
@pumpkinjam my mother taught me the most and second was my teacher.
@marguicha (212931)
• Chile
1 Nov
I learned to read when I was 3 years old. My grandma taught me. I was reading novels when I was around 8 or 9 years old.
2 people like this
• United Kingdom
4 Nov
I remember my youngest son reading something at age 6. He read it out loud and perfectly well. Someone heard him and asked if he'd memorised it. He hadn't. I don't think he'd even seen that particular book before. I was confused as, first of all, it was quite a simple book. Second, I was surprised that they were surprised by a 6 year old being able to read!
2 people like this
@marguicha (212931)
• Chile
4 Nov
@pumpkinjam My 2 girls knew how to read when they first went to school. I taught them at home before they were of Kindergarten age.
2 people like this
@ShyBear88 (59204)
• Sterling, Virginia
1 Nov
I didn't know how to read and learn till I was in elementary school which is normal because every child is different and their brains are different and putting too much on a plant at a young age isn't always good. Yes, little kids' brains are sponges but that doesn't take into account neuropathways. So I started at age 6 when I was in kindergarten but didn't catch on till 2 second grade. This is very normal for children like myself that has learning disabilities some are good at flying under the radar for years and others not so much. For me, it was easy to see I was struggling and had intervention in places in 1st grade because they don't do that with Kindergarten in most places across the US. Currently, my 12, 11, and 8 years all have learned to read at different ages. My 12 year was reading in Kindergarten 1st grade but was struggling and mixing up letters. My 11-year-old learned in Kindergarten and was a fast learner with reading and letters so he didn't get caught having trouble till 3rd grade. My 8-year-old can read not very well at a PK level and he is in 3rd grade and getting intervention and will be looking into child study because his 3rd grade teacher had both his siblings and she knows we all know that he isn't where he should be. Most schools will always regardless of if your kid knows or doesn't know how to read, write, or count start at the same places in Kindergarten till they do testing to find where you are eating, and then the teachers should or will place kids in groups to give based on there level learning tools.
2 people like this
• United Kingdom
4 Nov
If you have a learning difficulty, it makes sense that it may take longer to learn things. Of course every child is different but I don't think that teaching (or trying to teach) a child to read is putting too much on them.
1 person likes this
@ShyBear88 (59204)
• Sterling, Virginia
4 Nov
@pumpkinjam It is educational psychologists who will tell you pushing a child to learn something before they are ready will have setbacks. It's like telling a child because they are a toddler they have to pee or poop in the toilet when bladder readiness doesn't even set in till they are 4-6 years old. Children will naturally show signs of readiness when they are mentally able to. For every age you are is how long you can focus on activities and other things and expecting a child to sit and read to you because you want them to read or you want them to learn doesn't mean they are ready and that they will pick it up. It can cause stress and this stress will transfer from adult to child. Just because I have a learning disability not difficulty just means my brain works differently than others. Doesn mean I'm unable to learn something it just means I have to use different tools to learn something and some things are just not teachable. Teaching also has to be in the way of that child and the way that child will learn it. It's not one way is the only way to learn something. This is why teachers spend so long learning how to be a teacher they also have to psychology classes and learn to read children's body language and what signs a child is ready to take on a new task, or a new skill.
@LadyDuck (450838)
• Switzerland
1 Nov
I do not remember at all. I know that I already could read when I was sent to the kindergarten at the age of 4.
2 people like this
• United Kingdom
4 Nov
I believe that the majority of people who doubted the early readers were from the USA. I am not surprised at all that someone like yourself would already have been reading before school.
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@LadyDuck (450838)
• Switzerland
4 Nov
@pumpkinjam My father was an avid books reader. He was the one who used to read children book to my brother and I. He showed the pictures and the word associated to the picture. I know that is how I started to learn.
2 people like this
@paigea (35401)
• Canada
1 Nov
My parents taught me. I was four. I don't remember ever reading a menu though.
2 people like this
• United Kingdom
4 Nov
I don't suppose a menu would necessarily be a common thing for such a young child to read. I would, however, think it to be one of the easier things. I would occasionally take my boys to a local pub for food, and would get them to read the menu there.
2 people like this
@aninditasen (15453)
• Raurkela, India
1 Nov
I started reading when I was five but I saw a boy of 3 in Kolkata whose mother tongue was not English but spoke English fluently and could read and write too.
1 person likes this
• United Kingdom
4 Nov
That is impressive for someone whose mother tongue is not English. Saying that, there is something to be said for learning more than one language at the same time. I studied this but have mainly forgotten what I learned What I do remember is that children who learn more than one language at the same time create additional neural pathways and can often find it easier to learn other things in the future.
2 people like this
@aninditasen (15453)
• Raurkela, India
5 Nov
@pumpkinjam Here in India school whose medium instructions is in English teachers speak to students in English and therefore children learn to speak in English. I studied in such a school.
@LindaOHio (148724)
• United States
1 Nov
Things were a lot different back in the 40s and 50s. I learned to read in the first grade and was in the top 4 in the class. I skipped 2nd grade because of this. Have a great day.
2 people like this
• United Kingdom
4 Nov
If my conversions are correct regarding grades, you would have been 6 or 7 when you learned to read? I know one or two people who skipped a year at school for various reasons, although being able to read well wasn't one of them. There were plenty of us who didn't skip but were just as capable. My eldest nephew was given the opportunity to skip ahead a year. I can't remember how old he was, but my sister declined. While my nephew was academically capable, he had friends in his year and my sister didn't feel he would have had the necessary emotional maturity.
2 people like this
@LindaOHio (148724)
• United States
4 Nov
@pumpkinjam Yes, I was probably 6. My mother approved the first skip but fortunately turned down the second. I would have graduated high school at 16. Much too young. Hope you have a great day.
2 people like this
@porwest (76012)
• United States
1 Nov
I think kids can learn at any age really. My mom started to teach me to read when I was 3.
2 people like this
• United Kingdom
4 Nov
I agree that kids can learn at any age. I am also of the strong belief that it is never too early to start teaching them.
2 people like this
@porwest (76012)
• United States
5 Nov
@pumpkinjam Nope. The sooner one can start the better, I say. If they don't catch on right away, no matter. Eventually they will. I actually attribute my large vocabulary, ability to write, and my good reading ability to learning at a very young age.
@RebeccasFarm (81683)
• Wheat Ridge, Colorado
1 Nov
I think I was around 5 yrs old.
1 person likes this
@ogbenishyna (2516)
5 Nov
I think I was enrolled in school at the age of 4 or 5, thats when I started to learn to read.
1 person likes this