The Eureka moment

It seems many dopers learned to read on their own around age 3. I always assumed I was unique in this respect. Not so!

However, I can distinctly remember the moment I figured it out. I had a book about Mickey Mouse & friends, OLD friends who haven’t been seen in years. Anyhow I was going through the book looking at the words & pictures and suddenly, I’m not sure how…


I know that this is true because I was alone in the room when it happened.

Do you remember the moment when it all made sense?

I didn’t learn to read till first grade, but the minute they explained ch, sh, th that was it for me. I knew how to read everything.

I can’t remember when I learned to read.

But I can remember not being able to read.

I would have been 3 or 4 and a friend of my mom had me on her lap and was reading me ‘Inside Outside Upside Down’. She was showing me the words and I can remember that I couldn’t make sense of it.

I seem to have gotten over it. By the time I started Kindergarten I was the best reader in my class.

I remeber learning to read. I was about 4 and I was reading at a book called A Duck is a Duck. I remember thinking “Oh is that what I have to do? I can do that, that’s easy.” And it all came together.

I don’t remember for certain exactly what I figured out but I do very clearly remember the feeling when it just clicked. Maybe it was to look at the word as a whole and not each individual letter…


My parents think I must have had something wrong with my hearing as an infant, because I was a very late talker.

One day when I was about two, my mother (who is a grade school teacher) bought me a set of alphabet blocks and set them down in front of me. After I had played with them for a while, she sat down next to me and started rearranging the blocks to spell my name. “Look,” she said, “I’ll show you how to spell ‘David.’”

I looked up at her and said, “You can’t. There aren’t two D’s.”

They were my first words.

When I was little I wasn’t that interested in learning. In preschool I usually found a way for the teacher to spell my name on stuff for me. I have some kind of fuzzy memory about misspelling ‘dog’ or some word with a D in kindergarden. But in first grade I badly broke my left arm at a friend’s birthday roller skate party. Changed me life, it did.

That was in April. I was in a soft cast and then a hard cast for a looong time. That summer there was nothing I could do but read. Everyone was enjoying our pool then, as the August before we had moved from a poolhouse home in Oklhahoma down here which had a pool and everyone not got to enjoy it full time. I read a lot of Goosebumps books then. I think I collected over 40, maybe fifty, before I outgrew them. I remember sitting by the side of the pool reading a book and having my siblings laugh and make fun of me.

The first chapter book I ever read by mself I think was this red Goosebumps book. I’ve been looking for 20 minutes on the internet but no decent list of Goosebumps books exist, so I’ll never know now what book it was. I read so much I dun think it made me smart. :stuck_out_tongue:

Second grade I kept reading How I got my Shrunken Head (I was able to pick it out now for its cover) and the teacher took it up from me until the end of class. I was sad. Now that I think about it I read so many of those. Later in second grade I got recognized by the school people for being “smart” and starting in third grade I went to the schools gifted program once a day. That was a real something to me.

Now that this trip down memory lane is near complete, it’s a shame how funding for gifted programs is being cut in schools.

Ah, and now I took so long to reflect and make that post I logged myself out. Folks, I think I’ll have some water and go to the couch and remember some more.

I don’t remember my own Eureka moment but for my kids there is always one. Most recently my youngest daughter hit a weekend when she decided she could read. She still needed help with some of the words so she would corner any adult or older child and force them to sit with her while she read aloud to them. That weekend she must have read aloud 20 books. I caught her outside with the Mexican gardener under a tree reading a book to him…:slight_smile: . He barely speaks English. She is a very persuasive child.

My parents (and brothers and grandparents and Og knows who else) were badgered constantly to read me Green Eggs and Ham by Dr. Suess. I, of course, had it memorized (which annoyed them because then they couldn’t skip anything). So one day, when I coudn’t get anyone to read it to me, I sat down and said it to myself as I turned each page. Before the end of the book, I could read (in other words, had the concept down, a basic vocabulary and could extrapolate from there). They aren’t actually sure when I started to read, but it was about 2 1/2-3 years old. Haven’t been without a book (or seven) since :slight_smile:

When I was very young (6 months or so) I had a very high fever (107F was the estimate) and seized for several minutes before my mother got my temperature down.

A few weeks after that, I started reciting the alphabet in my crib. This wasn’t spontaneous, my brother was four and learning all about reading and his ABCs, but I somehow picked it up.

Consequently, I don’t remember EVER not being able to read. Writing was a lot harder, because I have no patience with repetitive tasks (or didn’t as a young child).

My grandfather didn’t believe I could read so I read the paper to him (this was at 2 or so). He still was skeptical, so we were at a restaurant with a sign “no tipping”. He asked me what it meant and I thought for a minute and told him, it means you can’t tip your soup or your cup because it might spill. He didn’t doubt me again. :slight_smile:

I was four before I would talk in more than one word or a grunt. I knew how, (I remember being reprimanded for not speaking and merely grunting, usually at the dinner table) I wanted to get it figured out perfectly before I showed the world what I had to say.

My skill with reading (and spelling) was a BIG point of contention with my brother (who was later diagnosed dyslexic and had a speech impediment) because he struggled with reading and writing for years. He’s now a writer, so I guess he’s doing well. :slight_smile:

I was also very lucky to have a kindergarten teacher that knew I was ahead and let me read in the back while other kids were learning their ABCs and such. I also thank my parents for not advancing me any grades when I was young. The school psychologist wanted to put me in second grade (!!) at age four! I would have been really fu*ked up then.

I do think it’s interesting that most people who post in these threads did start to read about the same time. Is that the people who post or the majority of dopers, I wonder?

I can’t really remember not being able to read either. My parents say I drove them nuts while they were reading to me because I wanted to know what each individual letter was. At about 2 1/2-3 I managed to put it all together, and I do have a vague recollection of announcing “That says ‘Bus stop’” and my mother acting surprised, but no memory of any eureka moment. It also led to what must have been an entertaining conversation between my parents and my grandmother (a retired teacher with whom I spent a lot of time while my parents worked): “Did you teach her to read?” “No, I thought you did”…

FilmGeek, you’re much luckier than I was with my kindergarten teacher. She actually called my mother in because she was concerned about my habit of constantly lying by saying that I could read. She thought I had just memorized all of my books. My mother at least came up with a very simple solution to the problem - get a book I hadn’t seen before and have me read it to the teacher. I’m not auite sure why the teacher couldn’t have come up with that on her own before getting my parents involved, but whatever.

I can’t remember either. All I know is that I was reading “alphabet” books at a fairly early age, and have always read.

I never had a eureka moment for reading, but I did have a moment one day many years ago when I realized I wasn’t stupid.

My intelect switched from passive to active that day. (if that makes any sense)

Does to me, Lobsang.

I don’t remember learning to read, but I do recall that glorious moment when the TV Guide suddenly made sense. (Ohhhh! Those little boxes with the numbers are the channels!) I was four years old. It changed my life forever.

Learning to read on your own at 3? Wow. I’m nowhere near that prodigious.

I do remember learning to read though. I was in first grade. The teacher got a couple of us around one of those half-moon tables, gave us books, and told us we were going to read. Completely terrified, I said, “I don’t know how to read.” She said, “That’s OK, you’re going to learn.” I did too. :slight_smile:

I also remember figuring out how TV and schedules worked. I was about 3 or 4 and had just come home from shopping with my mom. I told her that I wanted to watch a cartoon, but she said it wasn’t on. I demanded an explanation. She must be crazy to say it wasn’t on. It was always on. She explained that was not so, it was only on at a certain time, and we had missed it. It all came together. This was in the mid-80’s so we didn’t have a VCR either.

I can’t remember when I learned to read, but I remember when reading became something wonderful to me.

I hated reading all those boring books the teacher assigned us for book reports, I read them but really didn’t think about what I was reading.

One day my dad took me to a bookstore and I was bored to pieces. Eventually I wandered over to the young adult’s secton and found a book about the Salem Witch Trials. It seemed like it might be OK. My dad was so happy I was showing some interest in a book that he bought it for me.

I still didn’t read it.

A few weeks later my sister and I were fighting about what was on TV. Dad didn’t want to hear it, so he took wire cutters and cut all of the plugs off of the televisions in the house.

With nothing better to do, I began reading the book. I loved it and when the TVs came back on a month later. I really didn’t care, I wanted to read a book.

White Ink, that is exactly how it happened with me, at approximately the same age.

Unfortunately, I don’t recall which book it was that I was reading at the time.

For me there was no real eureka moment. I do remember learning how to spell ‘cat,’ though, which seems quite strange to me (that I can remember my first word, not that ‘cat’ is spelled C-A-T).

I also remember one time when I was reading past my bedtime and didn’t know one of the words, so I asked my parents (i.e. I ratted myself out just so I could figure out that one word). That was Go Dog Go. What a classic!

The real eureka moment for me, though, was when I realized that I could write BASIC programs with GWBASIC. My first program:

10 print **** you
20 goto 10

My first word was cat too. Don’t know why I remember that, just that it was. Which is funny, because none of Mickey’s friends is a cat.

I didn’t teach myself to read. My stay at home mommy was an avid reader and lead by example. We always had books, always were read to.

I was passing the torch to my friend’s daughter today. Underlining the words with my finger…