Teaching a Three Year Old Reading
Can You Really Teach a 3 Year Old to Read?
The answer to above is an emphatic YES. In fact, with patience and the right methods, you can even teach a young two year old to read. The only requirement here is that the 2 year old toddler should be able to speak clearly, and this typically is around two and a half years old. You may find it hard to believe that a two year old child can learn to read; however, we'll show you real proof of how two year old children can learn to read. Not only can they learn to read simple words, but even complicated words and long sentences. Most importantly, none of this deals with word shape memorization. This is real reading through effective decoding of printed text. It is called phonemic awareness.
We have a short video below that shows our 2 year 11 months old daughter reading:
As you can see from the video, Raine is clearly sounding out and reading everything, with the exception of "the", which is a sight word. With shorter, simple words, she sounds them out and reads flawlessly. With slightly longer words, for example, "Fluffy" (from the video), it took slightly more effort to decode, sound out, and read. (/f/ /l/ /u/ /ff/ /y/, fluffy) It should be quite clear that she is actually reading everything, and is very capable of reading long sentences. These were various random sentences that we created with foam alphabet letters.
By the time she was 3 years 9 months old, Raine had a reading age of 7 - a grade 2 reading level. Don't be surprised. If your child is able to speak clearly, then you too, can teach your child to read.
How to Teach a Three Year Old to Read?
Teaching a three year old to read isn't easy, but it doesn't have to be difficult either. Whether your toddler is 2 or 3 years old, one thing that you must have unlimited amounts of is.... patience! Patience, patience, and then some more patience. I cannot stress this enough. Having patience to the power of infinity is tantamount to teaching a small toddler to read. I guarantee that every parent or educator that tries to teach a two or three year old to read will at one point or another experience some levels of frustration. At times like these, stop the lessons, go do something else, and never take out the frustration on the child - lest it turns this wonderful learning to read experience into a negative one.
So how do you go about teaching a 2 or 3 year old child to read? I can tell you right now that silly programs that require memorization of word shapes and configurations are doomed to failure.
Synthetic phonics and helping the child develop phonemic awareness skills.
Synthetic phonics is where a word is synthesized, put together, combined, or blended. The sounds of the letters in the word are blended together to say the word. Phonemic awareness skills, on the other hand, is the ability to distinguish and work with the smallest units of sound. For example if we have the three following phonemes /c/ /a/ /t/, we can blend them together to make the word CAT.
Referring back to the video above, you'll notice that Raine clearly sounds out all the phonemes and then blends them to say the full word. With longer and more complicated words such as "muffins", (/m/ /u/ /ff/ /i/ /n/ /s/, muffins) it requires more attention and focus to decode it, sound it out, and then read it. This is a clear demonstration of phonemic awareness skills and superbly developing reading abilities. With abundant practice and exposure, the young child eventually internalizes this process of decoding, sounding out, and reading, and it becomes a very automatic process where little thought is needed to read and comprehend. This is how children learn to read and develop exceptionally fluent and efficient reading abilities.
I'd like to share another short video below. These are various clips record when Raine was 3 years 4 months old, about 6 months later. Notice the difference in reading skills she has developed.
As you can see from this second video, she is no longer sounding out, blending, and then saying the word. She simply reads, and reads very fluently and quickly - at just 3 years and 4 months old. Quite a feat for such a small child. The best part is, ANY parent can teach their child to read as we did, using our methods and techniques. The lessons of our program are laid out step-by-step, and lessons typically take no longer than 3 to 5 minutes to complete. All you need to do is go through the lessons 2 to 3 times a day, taking no more than 10 minutes of your time. You will see fantastic results.