How to Support Toddlers who Show Signs of Being an Early Reader

reading early

Lynn (Parent) asks:

How can I support a toddler who is showing signs of being an early reader?

Dr. Marion Blank (Reading Kingdom Founder) answers:

As far back as Plato, scholars made an interesting distinction between two forms of learning—self generated learning (what one chooses to learn) and imposed learning (what one is required to learn from others). Not unexpectedly, self-directed learning typically proceeds in a far smoother manner. The child is electing to spend time and effort in a particular area so clearly that area is important to him or her.

Self-directed learning is generally responsible for reading skill in children who are referred to as “early readers” (i.e., toddlers and pre-schoolers who have learned to read on their own). Typically no one made any efforts at teaching; instead in the course of daily life, the child simply starts reading. The sources can be different. For example, some children pick it up from having books read to them, others from viewing Sesame Street. One of the great advantages of self-directed learning, particularly in a very young child, is that the adult does not have to give it much thought. As long as books, markers and other relevant materials are present, the child is going to keep progressing at a pace that he or she maintains. Perhaps the biggest potential difficulty is the temptation for the parent to intervene. Parents understandably love seeing a young child learning to read and they subtly, or not so subtly, try to shape the process by making suggestions, questioning the child, etc. While it is important to acknowledge the child’s efforts and any requests for assistance, the most important principle is to make the setting comfortable for the child and to let him or her be in charge of what is happening.

Once your child is able to use a mouse and keyboard, continue your support for them with a free 30 day trial of Reading Kingdom. Our online reading program is disguised as a game to make kids think they’re playing, while actually learning. Lingo and company will see you soon!