Maletch is officially a beginner reader!! Yep, that's right!! Way to go, Maletch!
Hard to believe that he has known all of his phonics (sounds the letters make) for almost 2 years already. He learned them around his 2nd birthday, thanks to watching a few DVDs (from the Hooked on Phonics program).
Even though naturally the next step would be to learn how to 'sound out' words with phonics, I didn't feel he was ready for that (at age 2) since he was so young. Since he had mastered the lessons up to then (they were getting too easy and boring), I did go to the next lesson in the program and was surprised at how fast paced they went after that. So I felt it was way too much, and decided to put it all away for a while.
Meanwhile, we started what we call "school" for him last year. It started when I bought some Pre-school workbooks and he sped through the whole stack quickly since he loved them so much. When I say he loved it, I mean he would do an entire workbook in one day- if I would let him. I always had to limit him to no more than 6 pages in a day because I thought it would be too much. Not a day would go by that he wouldn't ask, "Can we do school now mommy?" Like I said, he plowed through the stack I bought, so I kept buying more challenging ones as he would plow through.
I decided to plan like a 'balanced curriculum' (with as many subjects as I could), mostly to see how he liked different things. I used the recommendations by some doctors and experts and bought a boatload of educational toys and teaching aids from a School Supply (I want to do a separate post about some of those things- I want to share since they are awesome). Anyway, I introduced beginner: math, science, computers, art, and lots more. There isn't anything he doesn't like so far, I take that back the only thing he doesn't like are coloring books- he thinks they are boring (but he likes tracing, drawing, and doing connect-the dots). He mostly enjoys books that have problem solving and logical questions, but his FAVORITES are doing mazes, and working with pattern blocks, and puzzles (mazes are his all-time fav though). He doesn't like easy mazes, if I give him an easy one, he'll make a face and say, mommy can I do a different one- and he'll flip to the back and find a really big difficult one that has only one correct path where he has to really think about. It's funny his mazes are so hard now, sometimes while he is working them, and I am trying to look ahead to see where he should go, sometimes I struggle and then have to try working it from the end point (backwards) to help me :) All of his workbooks are for ages 6 and up now: they all range from Kindergarten to Second Grade.
I had felt like he was ready for a while, so a few days ago, I decided to pull back out the Hooked on Phonics program to see how he liked it.... he LOVES it! He followed right along and immediately began sounding out '3-letter words.' He is so excited! Every night, "Mommy can I read tonight?" When I say yes, he starts jumping around, it is so cute! He's already said, he can't wait to tell everyone that he can read! He even started naming all of the people he wants to show and tell! Like everything else, I am tying to keep his pace slow and steady, because he is wanting to race through it. The rate he is going though, I'll bet he will be reading at a pretty decent level before his 4th birthday.
Although I didn't plan on teaching him this just yet, he has also been learning how to tell time (mostly on his own) and he has been asking me to teach him that too.
I really wish I knew how he learns so many things without being taught, I still can't figure it out!!