Do children who have learned to read and write before starting school turn out..

Do children who have learned to read and write before starting school turn out academically better than those who don’t?

I was discussing today with a friend of mine that I plan on teaching my children (when I have them) to read and write before they start school. She retorted that this would mean they would be bored in class whilst everyone else is learning, and after a few years, the rest of the class would have caught up to their level anyway.

I am wondering if any studies have been done that show if children who haven’t learned to read and write before starting school tend to struggle academically later in life, particularly once high school starts, but also in to adulthood. I am also wondering if children who can read and write before starting school, tend to be better academically later in life (particularly at reading and writing) than those who don’t.

Speaking from experience, this is the case. However, why send them to school at all? You’ve taught them to read and write, why not homeschool?

Nobody taught me to read, but I was reading at four. I shocked the heck out of my mom and grandma one day by reading aloud when they didn’t know I could read at all. Heh. :smiley:

In my day kindergarten was more a place to play than to do the academic stuff they have the kids doing now, but when I started first grade, I was bored silly for the first few weeks. My mom finally convinced my teacher to send me to be tested, and it was found that I was reading at (my recollection) sixth-grade or (hers) fourth-grade level. Either way, I didn’t need phonics lessons. After that, Mrs. Barry believed my mom instead of thinking she was being one of those pushy moms. I’m not sure what happened after that, but I do know what happened in third grade; my wonderful teacher didn’t make me do reading class at all. There was absolutely no point, since by then I was probably reading at high school levels. I got to go through her shelves of old National Geographics and stuff during reading. The rest of the class seemed to understand that I was an oddball as far as reading went. I think most of my elementary teachers let me slide on reading classes since it was entirely obvious that I was lightyears ahead of the others.

I wouldn’t push your kids, but I see no reason why if they want to learn they can’t be reading some at five. The key here is want to learn. You don’t want to set them up to hate reading. Otherwise, have at it. :slight_smile:

I could read almost as well as I can now when I started kindergarten, but I flunked out of high school. Salutatorian of my law school class, though.

I don’t know about any studies. My scientific WAG would be that more difference is made by how well and fluently a child reads, as well as how much he enjoys it, than when he learned to read.
My husband learned to read and write at age 4. He was taught how to write (in cursive!) because his sister/babysitter was bored and thought it would be fun. The only problem it caused is that his kindergarten and first grade teachers had hissyfits because he “had been taught wrongly” (unscientifically? non-professionally? I don’t know.) They also didn’t like the cursive writing. FWIW, this was in the 60’s.

The rest of the class will have caught up to what? Their reading level? Possibly. Their level of ability in doing schoolwork? Likely. Their overall educational level? No freakin’ chance.

Anyone who thinks that school teaches you everything you need to know needs to think again. Ability to read early on leads to joy in reading, which leads to voluminous reading, which leads to an amount and breadth of knowledge that no classroom experience can ever hope to match.

Keep an eye peeled for signs of excessive boredom, definitely. And if it turns up, demand that the school find something to challenge your child with. The school is not daytime childcare-they’re responsible for helping your child learn and grow, and if they’re not doing their job, it’s *your/i] job as a parent to bitch and moan about it …

A few years ago I saw a British TV documentary about learning to read and write. The gist of the program was that in England children are taught to learn early while in Europe they consider it inapropriate to concentrate on reading skills at an early age - it is more important that children learn skills that allow them to benefit from group learning. European experts felt that children haven’t developed the mental skills required to read before the age of 6 or 7. One expert felt that it was “child abuse” to ask children to do things they are not capable of doing.

The result appeared to be that children who learned to read later did better later on. I’m sorry that I cannot find a single source to back up my post but perhaps it is worth investigating.

If you do opt for early reading I gather that Starfall is a quality source.

Nothing worse than a 40 year old child prodigy, I’ll tell you whut. But here I am.

As soon as we developed interests in things, my parents had us (I have a brother near my same age) following them along with learning more about it. We could both read well, and write a bit, well before Kintergarten.

The school I attended K-3 was fairly progressive and recognised children’s different levels. In 1st grade, I was put a 3rd grade math group and a 4th grade reading group. There were some other kids from other grades there, too. Some from higher grades, some from lower grades. By the time I was actually in Grade 3, I was used in a TA type of position, reading to the “kids” in the lower grades and helping make math more understandable.

So, if the school your kids will be in treats each one as an individual, and has the framework already in place for dealing with them, then they might not get bored.

One other thing. I am dyslexic. The individual attention from my parents, as well as some self learned lessons, before formal school made this problem almost nonexistant as a learning disability.

Our answers all seem to be in the IMHO category so far. I would be curious as to any studies that may have done on this.

From my personal experience–I was reading Laura Ingalls Wilder at 3–I’d implore you to stick with whatever choice you make. If you teach your kids to read that early, please see to it that they go to a school that can keep up with them. I was reading Dickens by my first day in first grade, when the rest of the class learned about the letter A. On the second day, we concentrated on the letter B. I never really regained a connection with the rest of the class or the process I was dumped into. School was an unmitigated misery to me. But since I was shown to be “gifted,” my poor performance in school was judged to be willful. It was an eleven-year nightmare; I dropped out my junior year in highschool.

Homeschooling is a loaded proposition too: the only homeschooled kids I know personally, including a niece, are isolated and backward. But their parents chose to homeschool to protect them from such knowledge as evolution, so they’re not the norm by any means.

But please, whatever you do, don’t teach your children to say “whilst.” Think of the children.

lissener nailed it. I had the same experience. Finding a school that is willing to treat your child as an individual and provide them with the stimulation they need is nigh impossible. Most likely, they will be bored out of their minds every single day they spend in school. I was.

The only concession most are willing to make is to allow a grade skip. Okay if you skip second grade, but not really okay if they want to put a six year old in sixth grade. I was home schooled from the fifth grade on, and started college two years later.

There is no reason to hold your children back; if they seem eager and interested to read and write, teach them. But monitor their school situation. Don’t be afraid to try to get them what they need to stay motivated and challeneged. If you do have problems on that front, there are always magnet schools, private schools, montessori schools and home schooling.

No matter what you have to do, the important thing is that they always stay motivated to learn.

Late starts in Finland don’t seem detrimental.

don’t ask has hit on some key elements of the Waldorf school philosophy. They basically don’t encourage reading until the kid is 7 or 8 years old. If a child expresses a desire to read before that age, it is neither encouraged nor discouraged. The idea is to allow the kid to play and get comfortable with who they are and with interacting with other people. By not forcing reading & writing on a kid who’d rather be building a block tower, you don’t make the kid resent school. Under normal circumstances a child can and will learn to read on his own. Same with basic math. Academically the children will test out a little behind public school kids in the first few grades, but they soon catch up and, by high school, often outperform the public school peers. And they tend not to encounter the drug & violence engendered by the public system.

The system has its critics but they are largely anecdotal examples of individuals whom, I believe, would have been failures no matter what system tried to teach them.

You can tell what side of the fence I’m on. I’ve seen the Waldorf system work for a lot of kids. Confused/disillusioned participants are often made so by a lack of commitment from the parents who want to use the school as an expensive daycare and then plop the kids in front of the TV for 4 hours of brain rot. It doesn’t work that way, any more than going on a diet for 12 hours a day and gorging on sweets for 2 hours before bedtime.

My completely unsupported WAG is that if you’re kid is going to be bored in school, they’ll be bored in school, whether or not they’ve learned to read before or not. If the child is really brighter than average (and with a more supportive parent than average), they’ll learn everything much quicker than the rest of the class anyway.

If the school is good, the teachers will find more advanced things for the child to do, and things are good. If not, the child will be bored because even though they didn’t know their letters before they started, it only took them an hour to recognize ‘A’ while the class is spending a whole day on it.

My advice is if your child wants to learn to read, teach them. If not, then don’t. But DO fight the school to make sure your child is being challenged and getting appropriate work (to a reasonable degree, of course, and remember they should also be learning social skills, art, etc. in school as well as book learnin’).

** I have not raised any children myself. I did learn to read before school. Good school system, with lots of other bright kids, so I generally was in advanced tracks and learning useful things in school. High school Health Class (required, no advanced track) excepted.

My mother taught me to read when I was three. My father taught me algebra when I was 12. Throughout school I was always ahead of most of the other kids, often significantly so, but there were always a handful of peers who were at my level. I was often bored when teachers were concentrating on students who were not at my level, but such boredom did not harm me emotionally nor intellectually. I never suffered from behavioural or attitude problems. I always found ways to educate myself further while other things were going on.

In short, I think you should go ahead and teach your kid to read if he or she shows an aptitude for such at whatever age. I don’t believe that being ahead of the rest of the class or occasionally having to deal with boredom is detrimental or dangerous in any way – in fact, learning to deal with boredom can be a valuable life skill. I would advise you to disregard those who warn you that being ahead of the class is somehow harmful.

My parents taught me a love of learning early on and that’s what I credit for any level of education I have. Without my parents’ and my own initiative, I would not have been able to absorb whatever material was presented to me in school. Most of the kids in my class quickly forgot whatever they were taught in school and probably still don’t remember 90 percent of what they “learned.” The fact that I might have already known some of the stuff being taught didn’t hurt me at all and it helped me better take in the stuff I didn’t know.

Being educated is an attitude, not an accomplishment.

My mother taught me to read at three and 10,000 books later I haven’t stopped.

But my mother-in-law, who ran a nursery school for many years, is of the opinion that learning other social skills at that age is more important. And I would find it hard to disagree with that.

There’s no one right answer.

I was reading before kindergarten. It did lead to me being bored in school. From second grade until seventh I didn’t have reading class like the rest of the students, but I was allowed to read whatever library book I cared to during that time, something that I enjoyed a whole lot more than reading ‘baby books’ out loud.
But, that gave me five years of independent reading that no one else in my class got, and I don’t know any way in which that could be bad.
I taught myself to read by memorizing my favorite books that my mother read to me at bedtime (to this day, I can still recite ‘The House that Jack Built’) including when the pages turned and then I would mimic reading them. Eventually, my brain clicked and I understood that a word wasn’t just a single spoken thing, but also a clump of letters that meant the same thing.

I don’t think that forcing your kid to read and write would be a good idea, but if they want to learn, or are even the least bit curious, I think it would be a Very Bad Thing to try to keep them from it.

My nephew is six and he’s going through a lot of the stuff that I did. He can read better than the rest of the class, and he’s just really bright all-around.

When I was one I taught myself how to read. When I was two I was reading Shakespere. By the time I was five I was writing my own novels about quantum physics. I was sooooooo bored in school it was crazy. They put me in grad school literature when I was ten and the professor let me teach the class.
I’ve read every book ever published twice I think.
Now, if only I had some real world skills.

My mom, who was a grade school teacher before I was born, started teachig me to read when I was 2-3 years old. She eventually stopped a year or two later when she realized my reading ability was getting too far ahead of my speaking ability, not to mention my socialization skills. I was a very shy and introverted kid, and she thought it would be better for me to do other things, like arts activities and playing with other kids.

By the time I started kindergarten I was reading at the 3rd or 4th grade level, but my neighborhood grade school sucked and didn’t know what to do with me. After an incident in which my homeroom teacher actually forbid me to read during free time, Mom pulled me out of that school and had a hissy fit at the school district, threatening to homeschool me unless they found a spot for me at the local experimental/quasi-magnet school, which had a much more unstructured approach with lots of enrichment activities. They did, and for me it was a pretty good fit. (My sister didn’t do nearly as well there later, because she was less academically motivated, and the unstructured nature of the place made it easier to goof off.)

How did it turn out? Pretty well, and if I ever have kids, I will do the same. I graduated high school in the top 5% of my class, and got mostly A’s in college and grad school. Still working on that shyness, though.

This is indeed the case. I have nothing but empirical data to go on. My daughter is entering Kindergarten in Sept. But, Kindergarten ain’t what it should be. No more emphasis on social skills and child-directed creative activities. And, it’s a one-size fits all mentality by the schools nowadays to ease pressures of “accountability” by teachers and administrators. It’s all dittos and even tests! (If your kid has a reading disability, they’re bound to miss it nowadays, and just sweep the kid along - despite the "no child left behind “warm fuzzy” lip service.

My daughter is reading Dr. Seuss books to her class, even upside down as a teacher would hold the book, so the class can see. She reads much more at home, too. She’s way beyond the K level, as we’ve already visited what would have been her school. She’d be bored to tears. So, we’re home schooling her.
And, it’s not like we pushed her, either! She just has a natural curiosity and a thirst to learn more and more.

BUT! Although she reads above her level, her fine motor skills still need developing. In view of this, we’re not skipping ahead to the 1st grade curriculum (Calvert School). Instead, we’re using this year to let her be a kid with a K program as you and I would have had…without mind-numbing dittos and pressures of tests as our “leaders” have demanded of our kids today. - Jinx