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How long after a child learns to sing the ABCs does he/she learn to read?

My son can sing the whole alphabet along with the alphabet song, and most of it if you start him, and prompt him occasionally by himself (EG I say ABCD, he goes E-P, I say QRS, he goes T-X, I say Y, and he says Z). He pretends to spell (favorite "spelling" letters being A, B, I, O, E, and S)...and he knows things like "A is for Apple", but if you ask him "Which letter is this?" (with no pictures) he only gets it right about 45% of the time.
I'm also wondering how long it takes to get the colors right? He knows all the words for the colors (and has for a long time now), but he frequently calls colors the wrong name (green, being his favorite guess).
I don't want to know an "age", because my son doesn't seem to fit in those "Milestone" age charts. I want to know something like, "It took my kid six weeks to learn..."
Any feedback would be great!


Asked by ladymomtraveler at 6:06 PM on Jan. 31, 2011 in Preschoolers (3-4)

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Answers (12)
  • My oldest was recognizing all of her letters with 100% accuracy a little before she turned 2. At 3 she was reading words by recognizing words by the order the letters appeared (sort of like memorizing). Now at 4 she reads fully with phonetics.

    She knew colors and shapes at about 15 months with 90% accuracy. She did get caught up on the purple/blue and blue/black. If the shades were similar she would sometimes confuse them, but it was normal. By the time she was 2 she was at 100% accuracy.


    Answer by banana-bear at 7:02 PM on Jan. 31, 2011

  • singing the alphabet is not the same as knowing letters or letter sounds, it is just knowing a song just like Twinkle Twinkle

    Answer by peanutsmommy1 at 6:08 PM on Jan. 31, 2011

  • Seems like it is usually years. Maybe singing the aplphabet song at around age two and starting reading stuff at 4 or 5.

    Answer by Hazelnutkin at 6:08 PM on Jan. 31, 2011

  • I agree kids usually learn the song long before they learn to read. My kids could sing the song by age 3 and didn't start reading until around age 5. I also didn't push them I would read to them every night and that is something that is a great thing to do to help them get started.

    Good Luck!

    Answer by cornflakegirl3 at 6:11 PM on Jan. 31, 2011

  • We play the letter spotting game while we read his bedtime stories. My son is 5 now and reading very basic books on his own, but he still needs lots of practice on lower case letter identification, he's got the upper case ones. But whether working on upper case, which come first, or lower, after finishing a page ask your son if he can spot a specific letter anywhere on the page, kind of like I Spy. As my son got better at this game we played I Spy letters in the car using street signs, it really helped him learn his letters.

    Answer by ba13ygrl1987 at 6:48 PM on Jan. 31, 2011

  • Took mine a few years as well. He learned the song at 2 but didn't recognize letters by themselves for at least another year and a half and it was another year and a half before he started learning site words. At 6 he is reading small word books on his on his own. SO from abc's to reading some one his own? About 4 years.

    Answer by But_Mommie at 6:13 PM on Jan. 31, 2011

  • The next step would be to play the alphabet game. We do it all the time, mostly in the car. The first person gets "A". They have to come up with a word that begins with "A". And then go through the alphabet. When he gets better you could add rules - all the words have to be names, places, animals, movies, etc. Keep it fun.

    Answer by mompam at 6:30 PM on Jan. 31, 2011

  • My child knew her ABCS at 2, she's 4 now and still can't read and knows all but 3 colors normally. She can't read all her letters yet but recognizes some.

    Answer by genagina at 6:10 PM on Jan. 31, 2011

  • Thanks ladies, those are exactly the kind of comments I was looking for. He's my only child (so far, ;) ). I always encourage him, but sometimes I forget that he's still a little boy, and I'm probably pushing him more like an adult than a kid. That's why I thought, maybe I'd better check how long this actually takes.

    Comment by ladymomtraveler (original poster) at 6:30 PM on Jan. 31, 2011

  • mompam, Great idea! Thanks. I'd forgotten about that game. My mom used to keep my sisters and me entertained in the car with that game. :)
    If anyone else has some good learning game suggestions, I'd love to hear them.

    Comment by ladymomtraveler (original poster) at 6:38 PM on Jan. 31, 2011

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