Have you ever broken a rule? Probably! I started breaking my own rule by allowing almost three-year-olds to start the 1,000 book challenge in the Learning to Read by Reading program. Previously my rule was that you could start the program when you turned three years old. I have broken my rule five times and have been pleased with the results.
Let me tell you about Maeve. How could I not give her the opportunity to start reading? Seven weeks before Maeve turned three, she knew all her letters and several associations for each letter. She could read a simple three-word sentence and point to each word, one word at time while she was reading. Maeve also showed the desire to want to read. Often she would sit for long lengths of time pretend-reading a stack of books. I decided there was no reason why Maeve could not start reading. Here is a video of Maeve reading the book Keaton on her first day reading.
Let me tell you about Knox. Knox did not know all his letters and did not have associations for each letter. He, however, was like a puppy dog asking, “Why not me?” After I demonstrated how to read one page of a simple pattern book (by pointing to one word at a time while saying the words), Knox could read a simple three-word pattern book and point to each word, one word at time while he was reading. He continued to build on what he knew and is now well on his way to learning how to read. (He also knows all of his letters and associations for each of the letters.)
Whether your name is Maeve, Knox or a name I do not know yet, your three-year-old or almost three-year-old can have the opportunity to learn to read. The Learning to Read by Reading program is designed for 3-5 year olds. They learn to read by reading simple texts, designed for early literacy that gradually increase with difficulty in a natural, individualized way.
Word cards are used to help children become more aware of the high frequency words they see in their reading. Often times children learn these words automatically. It appears like the easy pattern books are just memorized, but actually the children are learning many reading strategies and are learning the high frequency words at the same time. Here is a video of Maeve doing her word cards just prior to her turning three years old.
About three months after Maeve turned three years old, Maeve accomplished the goal of reading 1,000 books! Maeve loves to read and uses a variety of strategies when reading. Maeve has been reading books for about five months. She knows a lot about the literacy process. It will be exciting to see the progress she makes in the next five months. Here is a video of Maeve reading Packing My Bag for the first time on the day she celebrated her accomplishment of reading 1,000 books.
Here is a video of Maeve's first reading of Wake Up, Dad just a few days after she accomplished the goal of reading 1,000 books.
When did you learn to read? Most people learned to read when they went to kindergarten or first grade. There are others that did not learn (or become successful) until third grade or beyond. Not knowing which children will struggle, the Learning to Read by Reading program helps all children get a head start with literacy in hopes that all children succeed with reading and reach their full potential. I am willing to break the rules. Please don’t wait until your child goes to school! And – if you think your almost three-year-old is ready – let’s break that rule and give it a try!