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Old 06-07-2011, 12:09 AM
 
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I know I have asked questions related to early-stage reading before and I am aware that the first thing I need to do is to "relax". I have been told that before; and I AM relaxed.

However, I still have some questions that irk me because I am trying to understand the path my son is heading down to - so I can act in accordance with my guidance, etc.

He is 5 and 9 months yo, will soon be 6 (in September) and he will start K in the Fall. He will obviously be an old kindergartner as he missed the deadline last year by just 10 days.
During his 5th year of life I have provided a certain amount of academic insruction myself, at home, though nothing in the way of a rigorous, consistent, home-schooling K program. Just here and there - to get him ready for K. I had always been a little concerned about the beginning of school because he is the kind of child that does not like challenges.
He wants things EASY (go figure), and I simply wanted to teach him certain things so that his first contact with real school will seem easy to him. I did not want him to start school with the sensation that "school is hard, hence unpleasent".

As a result of this occasional but relatively frequent instruction I have provided at home during his 5th year of life, he learned how to read (among others). So, techniquely speaking, HE IS A READER.

If I sit next to him and give him a level 2-3 book from the Easy Reader collections (perhaps even more advanced, with help), he will read. Not 100% fluently, like an adult - but he will, with a pretty good level of fluency for his age. He also appears to comprehend the text very well.

What intrigues me though is that he will NOT opt for grabbing a book to read on his own, without prompting, inviting or assigning. So despite having the technique down, he does not seem to be motivated to decipher text on his own. Period.

Yes, I have brought home books that match his (intense) interests - dinosaurs, puppies, volcanoes, etc - at his reading level. Yes, we have read to him every day religiously since he was a baby.
Yes, he is a highly verbal child, bilingual, with very good vocabulary in BOTH languages and excellent phonemic awareness.

But he still doesn't have the reading germ in him. It s simply not there. Hopefully, I can add an "yet" to the previous sentence.

He enjoys stories very much but wants ME to read them. If he cannot have them read by me, he will not get a book at his level to read something to himself (granted, those tend to be pretty boring for his story listening level). His comprehension level is way above his reading level , so sometimes I thought that he'd rather not listen to the simple, primitive stories that he can read to himself.

Yet, instinctively, I don't feel satisfied with this answer. Because to be able to read Harry Potter or what have you to yourself, you need to be first reading those crapy, primitive little books to yourself.
So I feel there is something more at work.

I once read that the age at which a child starts reading, technically speaking, means absolutely nothing. I agree. What makes a difference is the reading progress rate AFTER the child has begun reading, technically speaking.

In my son's case, that progress is clearly not that fast.

I simply wish I could see him opting for reading a book on his own - because he has the technical capability to d so. That's all.

At this age, of course, many people will tell you that you're crazy to worry about such things because he is still so young.

But I was always a voracious reader and I remember starting devouring books as soon as I learned reading. Granted, I was taught how to read much later than he was. I started with a,b,c (the alphabet) at the age of almost 7!! - something that middle class+ kids now start at 2 or 3, at least in the US. Or earlier.
(Yes, nuts, but that's what's exactly what's going on out there).

There is another suspicion I have. He is a fidgety, easily distracted child. We brace ourselves for an ADHD official diagnosis (a psychologist who saw him recently suggested that he is very likely to develop atention problems in the future though she could not officially apply an ADHD diagnosis at his age).

But watching him during the reading process, in bed - I could see he simply cannot hold his book properly and underline the text with his finger consistently because he keeps moving his legs all the time and because he fidgets -and as a result he often loses his lines.
That will surely kill the pleasure of reading.

He reads better at the desk or sitting on his tummy but then again, it's not like he opts to go to the desk and read there or sit on his tummy so he will make it easier on himself.
I also noticed he reads very well when I hold the book and I underline with my finger for him, which again makes me think of the potential ADHD thing as a related problem. As parents, we are convinced he has the condition - whatever that is - even though the psyc did not want to apply an official diagnosis yet.


In any case, the desire to read on his own is just not there at the age of almost 6, despite presence of the ABILITY to read.

Does this predict that he will likely NOT be a voracious reader in the future?

Thanks a lot for any input.
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Old 06-07-2011, 03:55 AM
 
Location: Whoville....
25,393 posts, read 29,697,018 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by syracusa View Post
I know I have asked questions related to early-stage reading before and I am aware that the first thing I need to do is to "relax". I have been told that before; and I AM relaxed.

However, I still have some questions that irk me because I am trying to understand the path my son is heading down to - so I can act in accordance with my guidance, etc.

He is 5 and 9 months yo, will soon be 6 (in September) and he will start K in the Fall. He will obviously be an old kindergartner as he missed the deadline last year by just 10 days.
During his 5th year of life I have provided a certain amount of academic insruction myself, at home, though nothing in the way of a rigorous, consistent, home-schooling K program. Just here and there - to get him ready for K. I had always been a little concerned about the beginning of school because he is the kind of child that does not like challenges.
He wants things EASY (go figure), and I simply wanted to teach him certain things so that his first contact with real school will seem easy to him. I did not want him to start school with the sensation that "school is hard, hence unpleasent".

As a result of this occasional but relatively frequent instruction I have provided at home during his 5th year of life, he learned how to read (among others). So, techniquely speaking, HE IS A READER.

If I sit next to him and give him a level 2-3 book from the Easy Reader collections (perhaps even more advanced, with help), he will read. Not 100% fluently, like an adult - but he will, with a pretty good level of fluency for his age. He also appears to comprehend the text very well.

What intrigues me though is that he will NOT opt for grabbing a book to read on his own, without prompting, inviting or assigning. So despite having the technique down, he does not seem to be motivated to decipher text on his own. Period.

Yes, I have brought home books that match his (intense) interests - dinosaurs, puppies, volcanoes, etc - at his reading level. Yes, we have read to him every day religiously since he was a baby.
Yes, he is a highly verbal child, bilingual, with very good vocabulary in BOTH languages and excellent phonemic awareness.

But he still doesn't have the reading germ in him. It s simply not there. Hopefully, I can add an "yet" to the previous sentence.

He enjoys stories very much but wants ME to read them. If he cannot have them read by me, he will not get a book at his level to read something to himself (granted, those tend to be pretty boring for his story listening level). His comprehension level is way above his reading level , so sometimes I thought that he'd rather not listen to the simple, primitive stories that he can read to himself.

Yet, instinctively, I don't feel satisfied with this answer. Because to be able to read Harry Potter or what have you to yourself, you need to be first reading those crapy, primitive little books to yourself.
So I feel there is something more at work.

I once read that the age at which a child starts reading, technically speaking, means absolutely nothing. I agree. What makes a difference is the reading progress rate AFTER the child has begun reading, technically speaking.

In my son's case, that progress is clearly not that fast.

I simply wish I could see him opting for reading a book on his own - because he has the technical capability to d so. That's all.

At this age, of course, many people will tell you that you're crazy to worry about such things because he is still so young.

But I was always a voracious reader and I remember starting devouring books as soon as I learned reading. Granted, I was taught how to read much later than he was. I started with a,b,c (the alphabet) at the age of almost 7!! - something that middle class+ kids now start at 2 or 3, at least in the US. Or earlier.
(Yes, nuts, but that's what's exactly what's going on out there).

There is another suspicion I have. He is a fidgety, easily distracted child. We brace ourselves for an ADHD official diagnosis (a psychologist who saw him recently suggested that he is very likely to develop atention problems in the future though she could not officially apply an ADHD diagnosis at his age).

But watching him during the reading process, in bed - I could see he simply cannot hold his book properly and underline the text with his finger consistently because he keeps moving his legs all the time and because he fidgets -and as a result he often loses his lines.
That will surely kill the pleasure of reading.

He reads better at the desk or sitting on his tummy but then again, it's not like he opts to go to the desk and read there or sit on his tummy so he will make it easier on himself.
I also noticed he reads very well when I hold the book and I underline with my finger for him, which again makes me think of the potential ADHD thing as a related problem. As parents, we are convinced he has the condition - whatever that is - even though the psyc did not want to apply an official diagnosis yet.


In any case, the desire to read on his own is just not there at the age of almost 6, despite presence of the ABILITY to read.

Does this predict that he will likely NOT be a voracious reader in the future?

Thanks a lot for any input.
First, (sorry pet peeve of mine), this is his 6th year of life. Each birthday marks the end of a year.

I can't really answer your question. All I can do is give my own, anectdotal, evidence. I have two children. Neither of them was an early reader.

Dd#1 started reading around age 6 and progressed at a normal pace. She doesn't have the reading bug. Dd#2 started reading at age 6 and progressed about 3 years for each year thereafter until leveling out at a 9th grade reading level in 3rd grade. She is a voracious reader. I should buy stock in Borders (The girl hates libraries because they only give you 2 weeks to read the book....like it's ever taken her more than three days to read a book).

We were also told that the age at which a child reads is irrelvent. What does matter is how fast they progress after they start reading. Dd#1 is more normal than dd#2 who is way ahead of the curve. Sounds like your son is more like my oldest. The reading bug just isn't there. I wouldn't sweat it unless reading ability starts to impact his school work years down the road. We had to put dd#1 in Sylvan for a 40 week session to pull her up to grade level in reading when she was in 4th grade. She's stayed on grade level on her own since then.
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Old 06-07-2011, 05:41 AM
 
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Originally Posted by Ivorytickler View Post
. I wouldn't sweat it unless reading ability starts to impact his school work years down the road. We had to put dd#1 in Sylvan for a 40 week session to pull her up to grade level in reading when she was in 4th grade. She's stayed on grade level on her own since then.
Like I said, regarding his reading ability - technically speaking - his is above grade level. Clearly higher than K; but it is not reading leve that bothers me but rather the absence of the desire to read.

He also does not have alternatives readily available around (such as TV, video games etc). He just likes to color, draw, build with legos and listen to MY stories. But not to read himself.

In your experince, as teachers/parents, do you know of children who did not have the reading bug in the beginning but discovered it later, turning into voracious readers?

Last edited by syracusa; 06-07-2011 at 07:09 AM..
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Old 06-07-2011, 06:33 AM
 
Location: Space Coast
1,989 posts, read 4,466,025 times
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I think it's WAY too soon to worry about it.

I was reading by age 5, but I didn't actively get excited about it until around age 7 or 8 when my reading level was high enough to read the books about things that really interested me. For me it was horses, and I started reading books about them at that age (particularly The Black Stallion series). My mom was one of those types that would tell me to "look it up" with pretty much every single question I had, so I had no choice but to seek out books on my own.

My sister had no interest in reading until high school, when she got hooked on those romance novels. She is a very voracious reader now.

My brother still has no interest in reading for pleasure, but he is a very successful businessman.
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Old 06-07-2011, 07:15 AM
 
Location: Edmond, OK
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I'm not a teacher, but have raised 2 sons. DS1 loves books, DS2 could not care less about reading. Both are excellent students, now in college. Both kids were read to daily from infancy. We bought books and read them over and over. We went to the library every week. DS1 could not get enough. DS2 liked it when I read to him, but wasn't obsessed with it like his brother. Neither really began reading until 1st grade.

DS1, as a youngster, loved books. He read everything he could get his hands on. Once school became more intense, and time consuming, reading for pleasure went by the wayside. He loved English classes in school because it required him to read great literature, but if it wasn't assigned he didn't read. He always said, by the time all the required reading was done, he wanted a break. I don't think he picked up a book for pleasure after the 6th grade. This past semester he took off from school to do an internship. He really enjoyed it because he actually had the chance to read for pleasure again.

DS2 had a harder time with it and really didn't "get it" until he was in second grade. He was actually reading below grade level until about 1/2 way through 2nd grade, when he "got it" and by the end of 2nd grade was reading at about 5th grade level, and always stayed well above grade level from then on. For him, it just didn't come easily and it was the first thing he'd ever tried that didn't. He walked and talked early. Learned to ride a bike without training wheels in about 10 minutes, at just barely 4. When it came to reading, he really struggled. It has nothing to do with his abilities. He was always more interested in tactile things. Building things, like Legos and such. He wanted to draw and design things. That's were his interests were. He now read and writes in both English and German, and is actually minoring German. He told me just last week that he wished he read, because he thinks Nooks are so cool and he really wants one. I asked him if I bought him one would he actually read and he told me, "no, I just want to play with it. I'd never actually use it".

Both boys were diagnosed with ADHD. With DS1, the "reader", there was no question about the diagnosis. But when it came to reading, what he wanted to read, there was no problem with attention. DS2, the one that doesn't enjoy reading, has an extremely mild case, and I'm not sure he really has it at all. So I don't think ADHD has anything to do with it.

I personally believe it's just a matter of personal preference. Some people enjoy reading. Some enjoy building model airplanes. Some enjoy gardening. There are lots of ways for a person to be well rounded. I personally, as a kid, never enjoyed reading. I now occasionally go through periods that I will read quite a bit for pleasure. Then I may not read anything for a year or more. DH, who is a very successful business man, an encyclopedia of current events, and one of the smartest people I've ever met can count on one hand the books he's actually completely read for pleasure.
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Old 06-07-2011, 07:19 AM
 
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Originally Posted by Eresh View Post
I think it's WAY too soon to worry about it.

I was reading by age 5, but I didn't actively get excited about it until around age 7 or 8 when my reading level was high enough to read the books about things that really interested me. For me it was horses, and I started reading books about them at that age (particularly The Black Stallion series). My mom was one of those types that would tell me to "look it up" with pretty much every single question I had, so I had no choice but to seek out books on my own.

My sister had no interest in reading until high school, when she got hooked on those romance novels. She is a very voracious reader now.

My brother still has no interest in reading for pleasure, but he is a very successful businessman.
I guess this is kind of what I like to hear.
Maybe because I myself have been a voracious reader and tend to be intellectually inclined, I kind of expect him to end up the same way even though I know it is ridiculous to expect your children to follow in your footsteps with whatever.
Yet I can't help feeling that I would be so disappointed if he ended up NOT interested in reading for pleasure.

As for career success, I know that there are many highly succesful people who do not enjoy reading for pleasure and/or are not voracious readers (just like your brother) - yet I can't help thinking that many professions requiring grad school involve enormous amounts of complex reading; and if you don't have that reading appetite developed as a child how could you possibly end up in grad school later on?
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Old 06-07-2011, 07:25 AM
 
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Originally Posted by debzkidz View Post
Both boys were diagnosed with ADHD. With DS1, the "reader", there was no question about the diagnosis. But when it came to reading, what he wanted to read, there was no problem with attention. DS2, the one that doesn't enjoy reading, has an extremely mild case, and I'm not sure he really has it at all. So I don't think ADHD has anything to do with it.
It's nice to know an ADHD child CAN become a voracious reader (because ours is surely ADHD, diagnosed or not yet).
With what I have seen in my son, I thought that...if he fidgets his legs like crazy when trying to read in bed, how in the world would he ever be able to read anything?
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Old 06-07-2011, 07:26 AM
 
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I think that for most young children who love to read, it's not really them reading, it's the physical contact of a parent reading with them. I was another parent that read to her children from infancy and reading was/is an integral part of our lives but the individual love of reading did not start until they became fluent readers. By that I mean that one is no longer working to read, but just plain reading for content and interest, and that comes with time. The important thing now, IMO, is for you to make reading less of a skill where your son has to do it, and more of a treat to be done with you. Reading should have NO negativity associated with it at all at your son's age - it should be all pleasure.

Adding - Summer reading programs for children are underway at libraries across the country right now. At the local library where I work, we have reading clubs and activities for children of all ages from birth through High School. This is a great way for kids to be rewarded for reading!
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Old 06-07-2011, 07:35 AM
 
Location: Space Coast
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Originally Posted by syracusa View Post
yet I can't help thinking that many professions requiring grad school involve enormous amounts of complex reading; and if you don't have that reading appetite developed as a child how could you possibly end up in grad school later on?
I can only speak to this from my own experience, but..... I think the success in grad school is more related to the ability to read/comprehend at a high level rather than the desire to read for pleasure (the two aren't always correlated as established in earlier posts on this thread.) Yes, I had to do a TON of reading when I was in grad school (and still do in my profession), but it wasn't/isn't really for pleasure. I think of it as "homework" reading. I still had/have my "pleasure" book on my nightstand to read from before going to bed. Meanwhile, I have had many colleagues who excelled in grad school but claim they don't really like reading and don't read other things for pleasure.
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Old 06-07-2011, 07:40 AM
 
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Originally Posted by toobusytoday View Post
I think that for most young children who love to read, it's not really them reading, it's the physical contact of a parent reading with them. I was another parent that read to her children from infancy and reading was/is an integral part of our lives but the individual love of reading did not start until they became fluent readers. By that I mean that one is no longer working to read, but just plain reading for content and interest, and that comes with time. The important thing now, IMO, is for you to make reading less of a skill where your son has to do it, and more of a treat to be done with you. Reading should have NO negativity associated with it at all at your son's age - it should be all pleasure.
You are VERY right about that.

I just have this fear that he will enjoy reading as long as I do it - but once he has to do it himself, he will opt for NOT doing it anymore.

Given that he is a child that actively dislikes expanding too much energy/effort on anything and only does things that come in very easily to him (they used to call such kids just plain "lazy")- he might indeed not get excited about reading until his reading becomes completely fluent and there is no trace of effort involved in deciphering the text anymore - only pleasure left.

But then again...to get to that point, lots of effort-based reading must be done first. Should I continue to do that as lessons? Make him read with me daily, without counting on pleasure being involved? (Yes, we always do the "pleasure reading" too, with me doing the reading - but that's something else).

If this child ends up NOT liking to read, simply because this is how he was cut out, I will completely understand.

However, I don't want to have any regrets later about not having tried EVERYTHING to raise the voracious reader that I think any human being could benefit from becoming.
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