Teaching my 3-year-old to read.

Hope everyone is having a nice Memorial Day weekend.  The video below is my daughter learning to read on May 28, 2012, Memorial Day.  She is now a little more than 3 3/4 years old.

We practiced reading the same passage earlier in the day with some degree of success.  I say some success because halfway through the passage I noticed that she still hadn’t caught on to the fact that the spaces between the words delineated the words themselves.  So we practiced counting the spaces between the words until she recognized that the blank spaces actually meant something (a trick I learned from Melanie Gutierrez).

Then she had difficulty recognizing that certain words were exactly the same throughout the passage: “fish”, “little”, “the”.  She kept trying to pronounce each letter of each new word instead of looking at the word as a whole and recognizing that it was one she had already read.  That realization lead me to drawing little fishes above each “fish”.  Almost at once she could see that the fish picture and the word were the same throughout.  Success!

What you see below is us practicing the same passage about 12 hours later in the day after a full day of fun—at least for her, I worked while she napped.

Some of you may think that I was going too fast with her and should have let her work the words out for herself instead of feeding the first sound.  I agree.  The reason for the speed was actually due to my iPhone–you can only tape for about a minute if you want to send the video in an email to family and friends, so we were both racing the clock together.  However, the morning session was much slower; it took 20-30 minutes to read through the entire passage, including spaces and pictures.  During that time we sounded out the words completely except for certain words that I am trying to get her to sight recognize (like the word “the”).

CHANNEL: Growing Up With Eureka
© 2015 Autumn Baldridge and Scott Baldridge
Supported by NSF CAREER grant DMS-0748636

About Scott Baldridge

Distinguished Professor of Mathematics, LSU. Geometric topologist: gauge theory, exotic 4-manifolds, knot theory. Author: Elementary Mathematics for Teachers.
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3 Responses to Teaching my 3-year-old to read.

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    • Thank you! Update: Autumn is now 11 years old and reads about two full length novels a week. Start early! Parents can read full length novels to their kids while they play around the age of 2. (It is more important for parents to read to them at this age.)


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