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Our daughter is 2 years and 5 months old and for some time already she knows all the letters (i.e. both reciting and recognising letter by letter in written words), numbers to 10, common shapes, and colours. However she's not talking in full sentences yet. Considering when children usually getting interested in written letters, this seems to be pretty good.

If she has an ability in this and likes it, what else can I teach her? Of course I was thinking about reading, but teaching reading in English is quite different to our native language, so I'm not sure about phonics reading vs sight word reading and all that stuff. I'd like to read some scientific materials on how children learn to read (you know not usual recommendations like blah blah don't worry, all children are different). Or maybe not reading at all? What are activities we can try to help encourage her memory and pattern recognition skills?

This is not a question about such skills vs social skills, physical skills and so on. So please don't recommend that it is better to learn to play with other kids - that's just a separate question.

  • What indicates she knows the letters, numbers and shapes if she's not talking? – Mast Mar 20 '15 at 8:46
  • Related: What should I be teaching my two year old? – Mast Mar 20 '15 at 8:47
  • It seems like she's definitely got good pattern recognition. (I assume you say something like, "Find an A" and she points?) Are you more interested in encouraging her to speak and pronounce words, or reading, or what the next natural development milestones might be? – Acire Mar 20 '15 at 12:50
  • @Mast she's not talking I mean sentences, she knows and says a lot of words and combinations like "red car", "yellow circle", etc. – pronvit Mar 24 '15 at 18:02
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You could try a memory game with tiles flipped over. Each player flips one tile, then a second to try and find a match. If you make a match, you keep the tiles. This can help with pattern recognition and memory. Start with a small number of tiles, say 4 (two pairs) just to get things going. Once she starts to catch on, you can increase the number of tiles to make things more difficult.

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When I was a toddler, my mother attached hand-made labels to many of the objects in our house. She would write the word for an object ("table" "pillow" "cabinet" "doll" "bed" etc.) on a small-ish piece of paper and tape it to the object in a place where a small child would be able to see it. Our whole house was covered in these labels at one point.

It might be fun to try this with your daughter, too. It seems like if she has learned to recognize the individual letters, she might be able to recognize entire words if she sees them often enough. And just the appearance of these labels in her house will probably spark a good deal of curiosity about them---and the relationship between words and their referents---regardless of whether she ends up recognizing the words.

I've also wondered often whether it would "work" (or just be too confusing) to do this in multiple languages, since it sounds like your daughter is learning English as well as another language.

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I am sure that there is a lot of scientific research out there on pre-reading skills, but I want to share a personal story about my son that illustrates what I believe might be a good direction for you to pursue with your daughter.

My sons both attended a fairly large day care center for the first four years of their lives. They had two classes for each year of age--i.e, younger 1 year olds and older 1 year olds. Beginning at about age 2, the teachers would start the day with a "class meeting." Some teachers called it "News of the day." The kids would all sit in a circle with the teacher who invited them to share their "news," which was frequently something along the lines of "I ate yogurt this morning." As the year went on, the teachers would start to write a "newspaper," which was basically a flip chart where the teachers would write down the stories the children told that day.

The teachers might expand on the theme by having the kids draw pictures to illustrate the newspaper, etc., but the consistent element was talking about the news and then writing it down.

One day, I went to pick up my son in the afternoon, and he told me that he had some news to share with me. He took me over to the flip chart, and showed me a squiggly line that looked something like this:

enter image description here

Then, using his finger to follow the path of the line, he "read" his news to me, which was something along the lines of "I woke up this morning, and Daddy brought us to school and I played with my friends."

Now, obviously, he wasn't really "reading" anything--but the real point was that he understood that reading was the translation of words that he said into shapes on a piece of paper, and it was possible to recreate those words by interpreting the shapes on the paper. To me, understanding this concept is the absolute core to learning to read.

So, my recommendation for something additional you can do with your daughter (and the answer for the TL;DR folks):

Start helping your daughter "write" books. Staple a bunch of sheets of paper together, let her draw pictures on each page, and then have her dictate what is in the picture while you write down the words. Then read this back to her and others--you can even use her books for bedtime reading. Don't worry if the story is actually a story, or if the pictures actually show anything you can recognize--just help her begin to understand what reading means.

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