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Author Topic: Effects of early reading on school adjustment - what are your thoughts & stories  (Read 5535 times)
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« on: August 31, 2014, 12:47:04 AM »

Hi all. Out 2 year old munchkin has just started showing some interest and initial signs of early reading since we finished Little Reader and moved onto Reading Bear. I suspect if we continue down this path he will be starting to read by 3 if not earlier.
It has made me pause and wonder Is this the best thing for him?
He is a normal kid, probably a little  above average in his intellectual development but not gifted.
I know my experience of being 'bright' made school boring, esp from about Grade 3 to Year 10 and I had no early training. I coped by becoming a perfectionist.
We live in Australia which has a bit of a tall poppy syndrome and there is usually not a lot of opportunities for extension in primary school.
I am not concerned that reading early will damage him in any way  - more wondering whether he will be too far ahead of the curve for school and will 1. Be bored and 2. Be considered too 'different' by his peers and have trouble making friends. It makes me wonder whether I should be focusing on different skills.
I am not interested in home schooling at this stage.
What are your thoughts and experiences?

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« Reply #1 on: September 01, 2014, 09:33:19 PM »

I grew up in Australia and while I was at school there was one little boy who was in my grade at high school but he should have only been in primary school.  I remember him in our advanced math class and the teacher paused over a problem and could not work it out.  He stopped to ask this child, who had to pause and look as he was working ahead on other problems.  It took him a second to figure it out, explain it to the teacher and we all merrily continued on our way.  Even though he was years younger than all of us, we all liked him.  He was not one of us by any means, he knew words we did not, but he was accepted and we were all quietly in awe of him in a shy way.  He was a friendly, happy little chap, busily working all the time.  There were no kids his age in our school, but he did not seem bothered and I don't think this damaged him in any way.  All the kids in his family were advanced like this, I suspect them now of being an early learning family from the little bits I remember him telling me!  This was a good private school, but he had opportunities and was accepted.  I also remember in Australia tall the testing they did for advanced children, and there are special schools and classes out there to challenge kids.  If your child needs more challenges then there are additional homeschooling resources and even organisations like the NACD who will create advanced specialised programs for children at any age that you can add to your school program. 

It is up to parents though to take charge of their child's education, you will only get so much out of the public system.  But this is great as there are so many resources out there, no bright child needs to be bored any more!  Learning should be a joy which children embrace and dive deeply into, and nothing should hold them back, certainly not mainstream mediocrity.  Early learning is a pleasure and a privilege, one that I wish my parents had found when I was young! You are here now and on a good track already, more resources will come as you need them.  As for friends, it is artificial I believe for a child to be only with her same age peers all the time.  The little boy I mentioned above had many friends, of different ages but also some other advanced children he had met through advanced programs.  He was still a fun, happy little boy, not a strange genius.  A child who can relate to all age groups is a happy child, and I believe having a brain that functions better actually leads to better social skills too. 

Anyway, it is good to stop and ponder our parenting regularly, but in this case, I think the benefits of early reading can only outweigh potential disadvantages that may come through the limitations of the public school system.  If he has a happy family life and a parent who will keep challenging him I don't think he will be bored.  Just do what you enjoy doing with your son, and what he enjoys and trust that it will all work out from there.  :-)

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« Reply #2 on: September 01, 2014, 09:50:21 PM »

Another way of looking at it might be - what would you have liked to have happened when you were a child to have enhanced your social & learning experience?  Is that something that you can help your son with?  Or would you have preferred not to be bright?  All good soul searching questions!  It is a different time and day though now, and many more opportunities than there were when we kids.  And he has a big thing in his favour - you as his mother!

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« Reply #3 on: September 02, 2014, 06:04:36 AM »

What a brilliant answer, Cedarmoon!  big grin  I couldn't have put that in words any better myself.

It saddens me a little bit that this is a legitimate fear for parents: that their kids will be too smart to fit in public schooling.  sniff If only we had more systems in place all over the world which cater to each child's need for multiple intelligence learning.


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« Reply #4 on: September 02, 2014, 07:21:57 AM »

Wow cedarmoon what a great answer!
As an Aussie with accelerated kids I can say at times it is difficult. They do get bored in class often and I have to really push and be active in their schooling in order to get any accelerated material for them.
In saying that I would absolutely do it all over again! The benefits they get by being given the opportunity to read early and work at a higher and deeper level than average are well worth any pitfalls. In fact if I did it all again I would aim higher! The bigger the gap between where your kid is and where the rest of he the class  is the more help the schools will give you! This is particularly true in Australia.
There are many schools in Aus where tall Poppy's are encouraged. Where being a nerd is seen as cool. My kids are in one of these schools. The kids and parents think being smart is great. The school however is mixed on it. (Odd I know!) So when my kids do well they are congratulated and given praise for their hard work not bullied. These days theses school environments are becoming more and more common.
It is far better to be too smart and bored in school than sit in a classroom feeling stupid because all the material goes over your head. At least an early reader when bored can pull out a good book to learn some more from  smile
Don't worry about the future. Teach them now and cross each bridge as you get to it.


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« Reply #5 on: September 02, 2014, 11:10:03 AM »

Thank you for your thoughts. It has helped get me out of a bit thinking 'rut'so I am looking at the whole issue a bit more constructively now. I also shared your replies with my husband who is very nervous about EL  (though he is slowly coming on board as he sees the benefits and can't help being very proud of his son).

That was a great question, cedarmoon, about what I would have liked to happen as a child. It really got me thinking about how kids are intuitively driven towards learning & how adults can best  facilitate this while encouraging independence etc .


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« Reply #6 on: June 14, 2019, 12:10:54 PM »

I am sure that this is going to help a lot of individuals. Keep up the good work. It is highly convincing and I enjoyed going through the entire blog. Cheers!
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