One of the most common questions I get when it comes to my students is, “Is Early Reading A Sign Of intelligence?”
Reading before the age of 5 is an early indicator of intelligence in a child. Early readers who were tracked by researchers can show increased problem-solving skills, creativity, and even leadership later on in life.
Most early readers who have been studied by researchers continue to read at grade level or higher.
I’m sure we can all agree that early reading is a good thing, but does this mean that if your child can’t read by the age of 5, they are doomed to a life of low intelligence?
The answer is no.
There are many other factors that contribute to a child’s success. Most importantly, reading is one of several skills or activities that children should be learning to achieve their full potential, not the only skill.
Many students who later excelled at college credited childhood experiences for their early achievements.
They had learned to love reading by associating it with positive activities, such as being read to by a parent or grandparent, playing educational video games, or listening to audiobooks.
So don’t worry if your child can’t read yet. There are many things you can do to help them develop their reading skills. Just make sure that you are providing a variety of activities that will help your child increase their interest in reading.
An even better indicator of child intelligence than reading speed is reading comprehension. There are many things that contribute to a child’s reading ability, not just intelligence. The most important factor in a child’s early reading abilities is their environment.
Children of parents who read frequently to their children are more likely to become readers themselves. It is critical to note that as parents, we can encourage early reading by creating the correct environment for our kids to read earlier.
There are also great tools, like Children Learning Reading, that are proven to help children read much earlier. This might give your child an intelligence advantage later on in life.
Do Gifted Children Read Early?
So, Is Early Reading A Sign Of intelligence?
Studies show that gifted children are early readers.
Studies have found a direct correlation between a student’s reading abilities at a young age and their later SAT scores.
In a study of 100 gifted children, the 8-year-olds who were able to read more than 1,000 words per minute had taken the SAT and scored on average 200 points higher than their peers.
Because of this study, the College Board has increased the maximum SAT score of young talented readers to allow for greater differentiation among scores.
So if your child is reading more than 1,000 words per minute at age 6 or 7, that’s an excellent indicator of their potential to show gifted intelligence.
However, it’s not just about speed–the comprehension of what’s being read is also important.
What Age Is Considered As An Early Reading Age?
In general, children between 4 and 6 years old who can read are considered early readers. However, some children can read at an earlier age, and some children may not be able to read until later.
There is no one “right” age for a child to start reading. It depends on the child’s abilities and interests.
It’s critical to provide a variety of activities that will help your child develop their reading skills.
Just make sure that you are providing a variety of activities that will help your child increase their interest in reading.
5 Simple Tips To Help Your Child Read Earlier
Here are some suggestions that can help your child read earlier and help them learn to love reading:
1. Read to your child frequently. Reading to your child is one of the most essential things you can do to help them become a reader. It helps them learn the sounds of words and associate reading with positive activities.
2. Let your child see you reading for pleasure. Children learn by imitating and copying what they see their parents do. If you read for pleasure, your child will be more likely to want to read for pleasure as well.
3. Provide a variety of reading materials. Children learn best when they are exposed to a variety of reading materials. This includes books, magazines, comics, and websites.
This will help them develop their interests in reading and increase their reading abilities.
4. Let your child choose their books. Children are more likely to read a book if they have picked it themselves.
Let your child select their books from the library or bookstore to increase their interest in reading.
5. Use early reading programs designed to help kids read earlier. I recommend the Children Learning Reading program. This is a fun early reading program for kids designed by education experts and child development specialists.
You can read my complete review of this reading program here.
It makes learning fun and easy as your children play games and take quizzes about letters and words and learn to read in a matter of weeks.
Encourage, Don’t Force Early Reading
Forcing our children to read earlier could have the opposite effect. It can be difficult for young children to transition from pictures to words. When reading, they often pick pictures over words because it is much easier.
Forcing them into reading early could cause frustration and resentment of reading later on in life. This could potentially contribute to a lower intelligence score.
Is it bad to teach reading too early??
It’s important to remember that some children might start reading later than their peers. There is nothing wrong with this, especially if they are developing other skills earlier, such as speaking or understanding math concepts.
There are many children who don’t learn how to read until age 8 but go on to be successful in society.
On the other hand, there is no denying that children who learn how to read at a younger age tend to do better in school and overall.
By the time they finish high school, for example, they may have finished 2-3 years of extra schooling compared to their peers.
So learning how to read earlier can be very beneficial for your child’s learning and development.
Just as there is no one “right” age for a child to start reading, there is no one “right” way to teach them how to read.
It’s critical to always remember that our job is to encourage our children, not force them to become who we wish they should be.
A few weeks ago, I took my twin daughters to the big park near our home. It has the better playground. More swings, more slides, and more fun.
My daughters both squealed in delight and took off running toward the colorful playground area, while I followed modestly behind, smiling at their joy.
This playground has benches lining the perimeter, the perfect perch for any parent to wait upon until they must make that disappointing announcement. “It’s time to go!”
But all of them on this day were occupied by other parents.
I’m expecting my third child in a few more months, so standing isn’t exactly an option. So, I sidled up to a mom sitting alone on a bench and asked if I could sit with her.
“Of course,” she said warmly, patting the bench in an inviting way.
I saw my daughters run by, laughing with another girl who looked to be their age. They waved at me and I waved back.
“Oh, are those your children?” the other mom inquired.
“Yes,” I replied, adding, “They’re twins,” since it is ALWAYS the next question I’m asked.
“That’s wonderful,” the mom told me. “That’s my daughter, Poppy, they’re playing with.”
Naturally, this warmed up our conversation further. Our daughters were frolicking together, so perhaps we’d wind up forging a friendship of our own.
But it’s always harder among adults, isn’t it? Kids are so much more forgiving when they’re little like this.
I try to go into conversations with other moms with an open mind.
All too often though, it goes more like what happened on that bench.
The usual questions arise – How old are they? Are they in school yet? Have they started to read?
And then, you get that playground banter that leads to the my-child-is-smarter-than-yours conversation. Why do we insist on playing this game?
My daughters are 4 years old. Poppy, the mom who I’d find out was named Alice, was 5 years old and in kindergarten.
“They’ll be testing her for gifted,” she declared proudly. “Poppy has been reading on her own since just before she turned 4.”
“That’s terrific,” I said with a smile. Only thing is, my daughters are also reading on their own.
See, with playground banter like this, it becomes so dangerous. It’s like we’re in some perverse contest, using our children to best everyone else.
Shouldn’t we be talking about recipes that sneak in veggies?
Or which place has kids’ shoes on sale, so we don’t need to take out a second mortgage trying to keep up with how quickly they grow?
I could have sat there and schooled Alice about that since I’ve already had this discussion with my girls’ preschool teacher and their pediatrician.
Early ready is most definitely a sign of intelligence.
It’s not the only sign of intelligence young children can display.
In fact, if you read to your baby while they were still in your womb, you’re already promoting intelligence.
But why use it as a way to make other moms feel inferior? Why can’t we simply let our children play and enjoy the things that make childhood something we long for as we age?
So, instead of dropping the bomb on Alice that my kids were already reading on a level that approached first grade rather than kindergarten, I politely listened.
It was hard, but I wasn’t going to get into a bragging match on the playground with her.
I’m too pregnant for that kind of crap.
I shifted the conversation slightly, discussing children’s books and instead of bragging about Poppy being better than my daughters or anyone else’s children on the planet, something fascinating happened.
Alice and I soon fell into a delightful conversation, sharing our favorite books for our daughters and making notes for when we visited the library next.
We even shared which books we were reading ourselves.
After all of that, we exchanged numbers as well, so my girls could get together with Poppy. We would meet on this very same playground again in a week.
What started as a potential playground bragging mess turned into two moms investing in their children’s intelligence.
Sure, I politely listened to the initial brag that parents tend to trot out like a defense mechanism.
However, when I pivoted the conversation, the real growth began.
If you want your child to get a head start, reading is where it’s at. I read to my girls when they were in the womb when they were newborns, and even now that they can read for themselves, I still read to them.
When a child reads for themselves before the age of 5, it’s most definitely something to be proud of. Even more so if it seems self-taught. But that doesn’t give you bragging rights on the playground.
Your energy would be better spent fostering that love of books and letting your school pick up where that reading leaves off when they bounce out the door for the school bus.
Early reading signals a smart child, but there’s more to it than that. It takes a developing education to do the rest. Complex comprehension comes later down the road. It doesn’t mean that your child will be the smartest one.
And conversely, if your child isn’t reading by themselves by the age of 5, that doesn’t mean they’re not smart. The best thing you can do is stop using other children’s accomplishments as a measuring stick for your own, and vice versa.
Especially on the playground. Let them run and play. Let them revel in those moments before life gets more challenging.
There’s enough out there to worry about that we should be working together with other parents in kindness for the betterment of all kids out there, whenever they do start reading.
If you really want to boost that early reading factor, make sure your kids look over and see you reading a book of your own. Believe me, they’ll notice.