What is "average" for a 4 year old in learning to read?

Moms… educators… dads, even… Can anyone give me good advice? I’m trying to get an idea of where Becca falls on the spectrum of development, particularly in reading, of 4 year olds. It’s kind of a hard question to ask on my usual mommy board, which is why I’m asking here.

Is your daughter actually reading? I don’t believe that either of my children read when they were four. They really started reading in kindergarten. My son was reading after the first week…and writing. It was amazing.

She [I]is[/I] actually reading! :shock: She’s got a lot of sight words down and she’s very good at sounding things out in her head before reading them out loud. She isn’t just reciting from memory either, because I can give her a BOB book that she’s never seen before and she’ll [I]read[/I] it. She loves to read signs and is always asking me what something says and means. I even gave her a few Level 2 “reading with help” books for Christmas and she did - she read with only a little help from me. I usually have to remind her to read only what is on the page and not “assume” a word from the beginning letter. And I have to help, of course, with those weird words that defy phonics or why “read” is sometimes pronounced “reed” and sometimes “red.” Fully expected. :thumbsup:

It’s a little :aww: for me to ask…where other 4 year olds are for the most part. She won’t be 5 until March, and she’s been truly reading for more than a month.
I know I was reading before Kindergarten, and it was a goal of mine to have her reading before K as well, but I am shocked at how fast and how well she picked it up!

It varies a lot among children. I was reading at the age of 4, but my younger brother didn’t read until well into kindergarten.

A combination of aptitude, interest, and fun parental involvement makes a big difference IMHO.

It does vary. I was reading at 3, my DD at 4-ish and my son just before he turned 4…but although he “could” he didn’t really do anything with it until Kindergarten. He preferred instead to have other people read for him.

There is a movement that puts reading along the lines of learning to walk. There is such a wide gap.

My son didn’t learn until Grade 2. That was with an extreme amount of participation on my part, the school, and his part. It was one of our reasons for pulling him to Home School. But, within 4 months he was reading at a late Grade 3 level according to the school specialists tests.

Whereas, my daughter has learned to read at a Grade 2 level and is a new age 6 year old.

But she still can’t ride a bike without training wheels and my son was riding one without training wheels by 18 months.

Go figure!

But either way, I’d rather deal with learning to ride a bike than deal with trying to help a child learn to read!

I had trouble reading until 5 or 6, i think:??. But after that there was no one to stop me. I’ve read it all… And now I have a B.A. in literature.

it really depends on the child as everyone has said.

i have a 4 year old (5 in may) and he can’t read anything other than the odd word he chooses, with him he hasn’t got the interest yet. i know he can as he shows me at times he gets it.

he can write words he chooses to write also. but on his terms big style. he’s home educated at the moment, he’s going to school in september when i move to england.


Sounds like she’s ahead of the game. That is just amazing! You know…it all depends on the child. I stayed home with my children, and we read a gazillion books…reading every single night. And my children have always been great students in school. So, regardless of parental involvement, although I do sincerely believe it helps, something is just wired differently in some kids. Puts them ahead of the game. Involved parents provide outlets and opportunities for growth.

Keep up the good work, and don’t be afraid to talk about her (I’ll assume that’s your hesitation about bringing it up in your other forum).

Between my two boys, they were totally different. The oldest was reading at 4, and could write all his letters, the youngest not at all. They both seemed to go at their own rate.
All through shcool I really had to be on top of them to do what they were assigned. Now they both read like there’s no tomorrow. I’ve always been a reader, and hoped that they would be, (which it turns out, they are)they both read stuff now that I would never pick up or would never have thought they would be interested in.
So there really is no “average”, sorry to say…

I agree that she’s ahead of the game…off to a great start! :slight_smile:

Both of my daughters started reading shortly after they turned 4 – my younger DD is almost 4 1/2 and is loving the level 2 books we got her for Christmas. She can read most of the beginning readers that my older DD brings home from first grade – and let me tell you, I have a whole new level of respect for K and 1st grade teachers, who teach kids with an incredibly wide variance of reading skill. It has got to be so challenging, and they’ve done a great job of keeping my voracious-reader (7yo) interested while simultaneously working with the kids who are still struggling to master the basics.

Not that there haven’t been periods of frustration, where she has been bored at school – would you believe that another parent actually said to me, “maybe you shouldn’t do so much with her at home.” :shock: LOL, we don’t force them to do anything, we just work with them when they ask, and it’s not like I’m going to say, “no, I won’t give you more books to read! No math games for you! Go play with your Polly Pockets instead!” :roll: :roflhard:

Just keep encouraging her and be thankful that she’ll be spared the hurdle of reading difficulty…no matter how much work we do as parents, some kids just struggle more with it than others. :shrug: They all have such different gifts, you know?

For most children all the right skills aren’t in order until they are around 7yo, which totally infuriates me when the schools are wanting children to read younger and younger! My son was 7 before he could put it all together. My younger daughter was 8 before it clicked for her and my oldest daughter was 4. There are certain thought processes that have to be in place for children to be able to understand reading. For some children this is very young (I was three yo when I was reading to myself) and for some children it is much older (my brother was 8 or 9 before reading made sense to him). Same children. Same parents. Same educational opportunities. Different wiring. :slight_smile:

Would I say your daughter is advanced? No. I’d say she was developmentally ready to figure out how to read and put it altogether. Would I say a child who is 8 and has been in school and still can’t figure it out is behind? Nope to that either. I’d say that child needs help in other areas in order to ready him/herself to read.

Reading is what I call a “light switch skill.” You can do all kinds of things for a child, but until all the wiring is right for that child the light switch will not operate until it is ready. For some children the wiring is easy. For some children it needs a bit more time to get it all wired correctly.

Meant to add: I have read quite a few studies over the years that show how early reading does not necessarily equate to better reading and comprehension in adults. My dh and I are living proof of that. I learned to read at 3 and he was in 3rd grade when he finally figured it out. We are both verocious readers and devour books and the printed word. His comprehension is MUCH better than mine as is his vocabulary. I’m forever asking him to explain something I’ve just read.

My mum learned to read when she was four. She was taken in to hospital to have her tonsils out and the nurses took her books off her and told her she was too young and couldn’t possible read them. She said they were just basic children’s books not rocket science.
Here we go to school at 4/5 (parental choice to keep home until 5 if you don’t think they are ready) and I remember vaguely learning to read when I was 4 but I had some hang-up words that I had problems with like “this”, but I was flying by the time I was 7.

Wow I never relized people started reading that early. My oldest son was 7 before he could read, and I have 5 year old in Kindergarten that can only reconize his name. My oldest could write the alphabet in Kindergarten, where as my 5 year old still can’t. That amazes me that 4 year olds are reading.

As everyone else is saying, it varies widely. My daughter will be 4 in April and is starting to recognize words, but not reading yet.

I soooo agree with this. I was actually really surprised when my younger DD took to reading so easily because I figured I wouldn’t luck out twice. She is her sister’s polar opposite in many ways…but I guess she got the reading gene from DH and I :teehee:

I’m a piano teacher who specializes in starting very young beginners. One of my stipulations is that they have a decent grasp of reading before they begin studying with me. For some reason, this seems to be linked with coordination and the ability to focus.

I’ve had 4 year olds do incredibly well with the reading and keeping up, and I’ve had 5 and 6-year-olds who couldn’t. It seems there’s such a huge gap developmentally with that sort of thing.

Sounds like your little one is doing really well, though! I generally haven’t seen much younger than 4 be able to grasp the concepts behind reading :).

There is a lot that seems to go into a child’s ability to read–parental involvement, the child’s learning ability, and their desire to read. I could read by the time I entered kindergarten but I geniunely didn’t want to until I was in the second grade. My nephew on the other hand is three and he is sounding out words and reads Dr. Suess, but it’s because he’s a geniunely smart kid and his mom is a teacher who is super supportive.

I’d say that four is an excellent age. As long as they are trying to read, I wouldn’t be too scared. There are so many kids these days who don’t read until they are much older so she is already ahead of the game

My daughters both started reading toward the end of the 4th year. Both were gift students (GATE program), but reading early is not the only indicator for giftedness. I suggest just making it fun and don’t push at all. Let her develop a natural love of learning and reading. :thumbsup:

my First read “The Wizard of Oz” at the age of 4, her teacher told her it was nice she could sound out the words, but if she did not understand the whole book, she should wait to read it later. My Daughter thought about it for about 20-30 seconds and handed the teacher the book, and told her she was right ‘becasue how can you talk if you only have straw for a mouth and tongue’ the teacher never questioned her again

my Second did not read anything like a book until mid Second grade, she now LOVES reading (after 6 months of Sylvan tutoring) and is .a Math genious.
My baby started reading betwween 6 and 7 years old, and is just getting into it now at 4th grade as a pleasurable thing

she is doing great
I read once that all kids learn to read in 24 hours
some need 3 sessions 8 hours long
some need 72 20 min sessions over years
Most/ all are normal