Wednesday, July 1, 2009

My Personal Early Reading Experiences

I learned to read at home. At the time I went to kindergarten, I was 5 (turning 6 the following month) and at the neighborhood public school there was no reading curriculum for kindergarten. Meaning we did not have readers, or reading groups, or anything like that. I'm sure we reviewed the alphabet, but the bulk of my memories of kindergarten are of playing outdoors. No one else in my kindergarten class could read. So I believe my parents and siblings took it upon themselves to teach me to read at home. I do not know what method they used to teach me to read, but I think that I was read to until I memorized many of the early readers we had at home. At the end of my kindergarten year, my teacher had me read one of my books aloud to my class as well as the other kindergarten class, and gave me a Bernstein Bears book as a gift. I remember finding the Bernstein Bears book hard to read. I do not remember ever having been taught phonics, but it's possible some one showed me how to break down/sound out words at some point. By the time I went to first grade, I was an advanced reader in a pullout program at another school. I also remember my younger sister being in kindergarten at the new school and she had a reader that they used to teach kindergartners, I guess the school I went to for K was just no good in that respect. I'm sure that I became a fluent reader some time between kindergarten and 1st grade but I don't have many other specific memories.

I just wanted to write this out to say that reading "late" at age 6 or 7 was not a bad experience for me, I never struggled, and I became advanced very quickly after my family got involved in teaching me. I just don't want to be "alarmist" about early reading. I think reaching fluency by 1st grade is more than an adequate early start, and that working with your kids by exposing them them to print early on will help to achieve that.

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