15 answers

What Age Should a Child Recognize Letters and Numbers??

I will try to not go into as much detail as I could! My son will be 4 in April and he has been in a school/daycare since he was 2. He just got his annual observation and he meets and exceeds in all areas of educational and social development except for letter and number recognition. I have known this of course because at home I also try to teach him and he has never been able to name them. I have alphabet and number puzzles, books, flash cards etc... He knows only 4 letters and has for a long time. There was something about them that just "clicked" with him. The only reason I worry is because there doesn't seem to be anything I or school can do to help him understand. A part of me thinks I just need to give it time and one day it will "click" and he will learn them in one week and then recite them to the level of annoyance! A part of me is worried that there is a problem here. He potty trained completely in one week. he went from diapers to all underwear magically one week and I wonder if learning this stuff will be the same way. My question is, is this normal? Is there any type of learning disability that would only affect this type of learning. He shows NO other signs of one. Here is one example of what I'm talking about.

This weekend I decided to take one letter at a time. Saturday was time for letter "A". We went through is phonics books and had him find all the "A"s he could as well as trace it. Then we watched "word world" and he shouted out everytime he saw the letter. I would draw it on the chalk board and ask him what it was and he would tell me. We ended the day with a letter hunt. I had him go through the house and find as many "A"s as he could in his books, puzzles, toys etc... For every one he found, I gave him a penny to put in his piggy bank. He loved it. The next day was letter "B" and we went through all the same things. Today, if I ask him what letter either of them are, he can't tell me. He says "K"? and won't even guess at what "B" is. Something just isn't getting through OR he knows all of them and is messing with us. This is something else I wouldn't put past him. He did that with his colors for awhile. He would get this look on his face that told us he knew what a color was and stopped himself from saying it so that he could call it something else instead. He does mess with us a lot, like he doesn't want to admit he knows something. Any ideas or help would be appriciated.

I know school is also doing what they can. He came home yesterday with a paper about the number "3". He traced the three several times and it was obviously the number they learned about during the day. I asked him what it was and he acted like he had no idea, He guessed "1".

What can I do next?

So What Happened?™

My son just started pointing out the two letters we went over, he is just having trouble remembering the names. He got a birthday party invitation yesterday and he said look mom, k! He pointed to the letter "A" and I praised him while correcting him too. My husband put in a Scooby doo movie and my son pointed at the "B" and said "look daddy!" I think he will get it, I'm less worried now. Singing the alphabet isn't a problem, he has been doing that since he was 1.5! I ordered the leap frog fridge phonics and letter DVD, maybe that will help. Thank you all as always! Oh I'm not "pushing" him. I do this in 5-10 minute blocks in between playing outside and letting him watch his shows. He isn't in boot camp, I didn't mean to make it sound that way. We are doing it in a fun way and I'm not showing any type of discouragement when he gets things wrong. I act very neutral about the whole thing.

Featured Answers

My 4 year old knows some number and letters. But my 7 year old knew them at age 3. It takes different levels for them to learn. Don't sweat it they will pick it up. Both my girls are Sept. babies and miss the cut off at school. They are older in class and it's to their advantage. Good luck!

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They say boys are slower then girls. He will get it when he is ready to. I think I got lucky with my son. he learned his letters in one weekend after I bought him that leapster hand held game and bought the game letter factory..they also have a DVD out of the letter factory. Its so cool. He didnt know one letter and by sunday he was singing his ABCs..this was at the age of 2. He is now 4 and he is starting to read because of the games to this leapster. I guess because he knows all the sounds the letters make he knows how to sound out words now. It really was a great investment and its less then $50. Good luck :)

1 mom found this helpful

There is a state program that will evaluate the development of your child for free. They evaluate all stages and types of development by doing various tests. I am pretty sure that the younger (1-2) year old program is called Fiddlers and I think the older program (3+) is call Fast Start???? Anyway - They will evaluate him for free and if he needs assistance, they will give it to you for free. They will even come to his school/daycare to provide private sessions. I am going through this program for speech therapy for my 3 year old. The number I have is for the younger program, but you could ask them the number for the older program. It is ###-###-#### and it is run by USF and the public school system.

Good Luck!

My 4 year old knows some number and letters. But my 7 year old knew them at age 3. It takes different levels for them to learn. Don't sweat it they will pick it up. Both my girls are Sept. babies and miss the cut off at school. They are older in class and it's to their advantage. Good luck!

I'm surprised that you think a 3 year old is suppose to recognize all letters and numbers. My daughter will be 4 in March and knows a few numbers and a few letters. She's been going to daycare since she was 6 months. They have homework everyday where they trace letters and numbers. The teachers goal is to have all the kids know them by the age of 5. So, don't stress. Your son is not behind, and will learn them in time.

Relax...:) He does not need to know them before he is 4. Kids go at their own pace. I have found that some where between 4 and 5 is when they begin learning letters and numbers. Just enjoy him. My son was born in Sept so he is one of those late cut off kids. He is 5 and just now beginning to get interested in letters and reading. He is not unusual. I know some kids (mostly girls) that are interested in letters and numbers when they are 4, but most are 5.

My 32 month old girl got a toy computer for christmas / 2010. Before christmas that she only recognized the numbers (0 to 9) from a tv show and the letter R that is the first letter of her name. Today, 6 days after she got the computer toy present she already knows all the letters!!! I'm amazed! Check the video I've uploaded today where she presses the keys the computer is telling her... (in portuguese)


I am responding as a teacher of a school that has dicovered there are a lot of children out there with undiagnosed dyslexia. I would highly recommend you have him evaluated. Our school found out about Laurie Frydenlund of The Learning Solutions, who is the Barton specialist in Fort Myers. Also when searching for her name on the web for you, I also discovered a seminar next month right here in Fort Myers by Susan Barton. http://www.dys-add.com/seminars.html lists seminar dates and locations. There is also a resource teacher at Classical Christian Academy that can give you information about diagnostic options. Since you are aware enough to search out help now, I'm certain you'll be able to help your son. When parents ingore a problem and don't get help until they've failed in school, it is much much harder.

Did you ever stop to think you may be putting to much pressure on him. Good Lord he isn't even four yet. Not all children learn at the same pace. If he were older and doing this then I would be concerned. Years ago children weren't even taught their numbers or letters until they started school. Todays society puts to much pressure on little ones. It's great to work with them but you shouln't spend so much time on it. A great rule of thumb is five minutes at a time for children under five. Do five minutes here and there instead of long periods of time. Also you may want to get his eyes checked. Some children have problems because of how they are seeing things. Let him be a kid. He will learn. I never pressured mine when they were little like that and they are both on the Dean's list in college. I let them learn at their own pace.

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