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What Is the Average Age for Kids to Learn Spelling?

My daughter is 3 and half years old. She knows all the numbers, the letters and the sound of them, and she knows how to spell her name, but I don't think she really understands the connection between knowing letters and spelling them to words. My mother keeps telling me that she should be able to spell by now, so that makes me a little nervous. I don't want to act like a paronoid mom, but since she is my first and only child, I don't have much experience about this. and my mom's comments certainly doesn't help either. Moms, can you give me a general idea?


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Hi Awesome Moms!

Thank you so much for all your support and advice. I almost cried when I read through all the responses: I truly didn't expect receiving that many emails! Your advice makes me feel much more comfortable and relaxed. I never thought that my daughter was behind and I usually try to ignore my mom's "concerns", but sometimes she gets me :)) She always have very high expectations, for me when i was growing up and now for my baby! While I know she means well, I will have to remind her to chill out a little bit. Thank you Moms!

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I wouldn't worry about that yet. If you would like to promote learning to spell in a fun way, my son LOVES this toy: http://www.melissaanddoug.com/dyn_prod.php?p=2940

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I don't mean to be rude at all, but enjoy your child. Don't worry about spelling at this age.Let them be children for a while.

1 mom found this helpful

I wouldn't worry about that yet. If you would like to promote learning to spell in a fun way, my son LOVES this toy: http://www.melissaanddoug.com/dyn_prod.php?p=2940

My kids learned to spell, if you can call it that, around 3 or 4. They really just recognized some of the shorter words. When they went to preschool at 4 yrs old, the teacher even said that for the first year or so they really just recognize the word rather than acutally realize the connection. My son started to "plus" as he called it in preschool. He knew 1 plus 1 is 2 and things like that. Every child is different and pushing kids to learn before they are truly ready just makes us paranoid when they are not at the level others think they should be. I think your daughter is right on track..It is great that she knows those things you mentioned. Keep up the good work.

Wow is your Mom in for a shock when she finds out they don't even teach spelling anymore! YOur daughter is fine. You will find that in many schools they now they use the method of "spelling the way it sounds", which I found to be very confusing when the kids got slightly older and had to learn to "really" spell. They don't teach the old school spelling methods at all anymore in most schools.

True spellng does not come until later around kindergarten or first grade. You can start pointing out things like store names, traffic signs etc.. Also you can introduce words like go and stop while walking. Teach her when you spell go she can walk, when you spell stop she stops. Show her words around her, like on cereal boxes, the title of the book you are reading, etc..Before you know it she will start reading simple words and then spelling some small words. She's doing great and I would not push her. Many children do not even know all their letters or sounds by kindergarten. More and more studies are showing that children that are allowed to play and less focus is put on academics in younger years actually do better in school. She's doing great relax and enjoy your time with her before you know it you will be picking out a college!!!

When I am sick of people giving me UNwanted advice...I just say...Oh, I had not realized you got your teacher certificate recently? OR I have not realized you got your child psychology degree recently? Stops them in their tracks.

Your daughter will be in school for the next almost 20 years....let her have fun and enjoy her toddler years!!!

Spelling at 3? That's crazy! Don't worry about it until she gets in school! She'll learn to spell as she learns to read.

Your mother is crazy. Get the book, Einstein didn't use flash cards. It is very informative on the topic of normal child development and how children may be able to learn the name of letters early but don't understand spelling and they may learn to say the numbers long before they really understand quantity and counting including one to one correspondence. Maria Montessori believed that there were sensitive times and that children were more able to pick certain things up at certain times and at your child's age it is vocabulary. You can spend a huge amount of time trying to push a child to learn something they are not ready for but if you wait a bit they will learn it quickly when they are ready. The object is to help them to love learning and in no way pressure them so that they are turned off learning. So I would just expose your little one to lots of books and show here words on signs all around her. Spelling in general isn't learned until they are 5 and older. Lots of children come to kindergarten not yet knowing their letters. The work of young children is play and they will learn much more by being allowed to discover the world through play and interaction. There is a lot of research on this. Voices for Illinois Children and others probably has stuff on their website about this. Enjoy your little sweetie and remember mothers dont generally come with degrees in early childhood development and often never read a single book with a scienctifically validated background on parenting or education, so take what they say with a huge grain of salt. Good Luck.

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