I Really Only Meant To Write About Target Today

I can’t believe I am going to write about Target again, but WHAT THE HELL, TARGET? You are hurting me. Deep down to the core.

What I entered the store needing:

Seventh Generation Non-Chlorine Bleach
Secret Unscented Conditioning Solid Deodorant
Neutrogena Anti-Wrinkle Anti-Blemish Cream (This is the best face lotion in the history of mankind. I don’t have acne-prone skin, but I read somewhere that it was good for mild rosacea and HOT DAMN, it cleared my rosacea right up!)
A bath puff thingy

What I left the store with:

A bath puff thingy

People, I don’t need any more crayons. I am literally drowning in goddamn crayons over here. Wito is obsessed with crayons — so obsessed that you wouldn’t even believe me if I tried to explain. The only way I can get in and out of Target without a nuclear whinefest is to buy him a new box of crayons. (RoseArt makes a great little box for less than a dollar, although it’s probably made from corrosive sublimate. Whatevs.) So I buy him one. Every. Time. And every time, he comes home and sings this highly annoying (yet peppy!) Box of Crayons song from Signing Times.

In a nutshell, he lines up his crayons in order of rainbow color and sings along, signing the colors and practically making out with them. HE DOESN’T EVEN ENJOY DRAWING, PEOPLE. And I’m a little hesitant to admit this, but he knows the names of an enormous amount of Crayola crayons.

(Annnd, begin tangent.)

It’s one of his favorite games – we hold up a crayon and he yells out the color. However, he has to look at the name on the crayon – it’s not pure memorization. (We’re talking pretty specific names here, such as Turtle Green, Apricot, Turquoise Blue and Blue Violet.) In all honesty, we’re not sure how he remembers all of the crayon names, but I do catch him sounding the words out when I’m not looking. Which brings me to my point- um, I think he is starting to read. We’ve finally come to the conclusion that he can’t possibly have memorized two shelves’ worth of books, yet he knows them word for word. And just recently, he’s been rattling off the names of street signs as we pass them. Um, WHAAAAA?

He memorizes everything you tell him, everything he sees, everything he hears. Don’t get me started on the spelling. He would rather listen to me spell words than spend a day at Sea World. Just this morning he asked, “Mom, how do you spell guinea pig?” UM, I DON’T KNOW, SON.

(GOD, this is sounding completely braggadocios. I am grossing myself out. Please forgive me, but if you want to know what’s going on with Wito, well, this is what’s going on with Wito. Please feel free to stop reading right now. I promise I will be back with a detailed account of my very first epilator experience later this week.)

(Painful, yet a truly delightful end result!)

I would be beyond grateful to hear any advice or suggestions you all might have for parenting early readers. Even better, I would love advice from parents who are dealing/have dealt with toddlers who have a never-ending desire to learn. Some days I really struggle with feelings that I’m not doing enough for him. I want him to be challenged, but I don’t want to be Rick Moranis from Parenthood either. It’s a slippery slope, man.

He’s only 2 1/2 years old, but he CRAVES mental stimulation in the form of memory games, spelling and reading. Do you know of any games that would be fun for him? People around here have suggested looking into “gifted programs” for him. It’s way too early in the game for that, right? Right? (Seriously, wouldn’t that be too much for a 2-year-old? He isn’t even potty-trained!)

I would kill for some wisdom right now. As my mother would say, I am “cornfused”. If commenting isn’t your thing, feel free to email me a sarahATwhoorlDOTcom. We thank you muchly!

  • Jen

    April 29, 2009 at 8:11 am

    I never NEVER get everything I need at Target. It’s maddening, because I do really like going to Target (hi, cute Dwell Studio clothes for baby), but I can’t ever get what I came there for. Why, oh why, is Target always out of Clean & Clear Moisturizer?

    But now that you’ve mentioned this miracle Neutrogena moisturizer, I might need to switch. Of course, I won’t count on Target having it. Le sigh.

  • Jessie

    April 29, 2009 at 8:18 am

    I was an early reader too, and I LOVED workbooks of all kinds. I would go through about one a week, and it was a semi-expensive habit, but it kept me entertained for hours. I also read a lot.

    For future reference, since I’m sure you’ll have to deal with this eventually, my mom never censored or limited what she let me read. Freqently there were subject areas were over my head or those that were not necessarily age appropriate for me to handle. Lately I’ve re-read a lot of the books I loved when I was little, and was surprised that my mom let me read them. Basically I just didn’t understand those things and so pretty much ignored them. If it was too much for me, I’d put it down and pick up something that interested me more. Good luck with your smart little guy!

  • andrea_jennine

    April 29, 2009 at 8:19 am

    I was an early reader, too. Based on my experience, I think the best thing you can do is give him access to lots of books. Just let him read, and he’ll satisfy his own desire to learn (without you having to provide a lot of special activities, though I’m sure he’ll enjoy those, too.)


    April 29, 2009 at 8:23 am

    Wito is SO impressive! You must be doing something right–he is well adjusted and so bright!
    My only experience right now is with an 18 month old who certainly does not appear to be following in Wito’s footsteps (though he does somehow know which pictures to anticipate in books)…
    However, my sister was (and still is!) a brilliant child. She too was reading at 2.5. My parents put her in school a year early, a few mornings a week, just to provide her with some additional stimulation. I don’t think it can hurt, but at the same time they’re only kids once! You are doing a great job. I will be coming to YOU for advice!!

  • beyond

    April 29, 2009 at 8:40 am

    kids are like sponges. i wish i had more ‘sponginess’ left in me. maybe a pre-school program a couple of times a week would stimulate him. (maybe socially more than intellectually, but that can’t be a bad thing…)

  • Erin

    April 29, 2009 at 8:41 am

    I don’t think you sound braggy! My 3 year old has been reading for about 5 months now. She’s on the spectrum and has some really unusual cognitive skills so I wasn’t necessarily encouraging the reading but once she started there was no stopping her! And honestly, I think it’s great. Does Wito go to preschool or playschool at all? If he does, you could always ask his teacher for some materials to take home to work with. The library is our best friend – and just taking him places (the beach, the library, even the mall…) is doing A LOT for a toddler. They learn incidentally. It’s a beautiful thing. Here’s a cool article from yesterday’s Boston Globe on the baby/toddler mind. Good luck!

  • Erin

    April 29, 2009 at 8:42 am
  • Jill

    April 29, 2009 at 8:54 am

    Wow! That is impressive!! I was reading along going, Hey! My kid does that too! Oh! I know about hte spelling! What’s with the spelling everything!?! Until I got to the part about Wito only being 2 1/2 and my kid is four and suddenly I didn’t feel so impressive anymore.

    But I digress… The Hooked on Phonics packages are good. And my brother recently found them online somewhere super cheap. You might check that out. You can also find flash card matching games pretty cheap. My son can’t get enough of those. He sorts them and matches them like crazy. Also, Leap Frog makes that Tag reading system, which he might like.

    Good luck with your boy genius!!

  • Amy

    April 29, 2009 at 8:55 am

    Wito sounds a bit like my brother, who started Montessori at age 3 (I started at 4). We both loved it and never realized exactly how complex some of the concepts we were “playing with” were (multiplication? really?!). Something to look into?

  • whoorl

    April 29, 2009 at 8:58 am

    This info is just what I need! And yes, I have Wito in a Mother’s Day Out program once a week, but it just isn’t enough. My only problem with getting him into a preschool is that he’s not potty-trained. (He might be off the charts with some things, but peeing in the potty IS NOT ONE OF THEM.)

    I started school early myself due to being an early reader, but I think I was 3 or 4 before I started reading. He’s one-upping me, y’all!! ;)

  • sunny

    April 29, 2009 at 9:01 am

    I would check in with a montessori preschool/school in your area ASAP! Montessori can be really great for self driven, curious learners but they also balance out all that learnin’ with lots of outdoor activities (nature is so humbling, so important in our lives), creativity and socialization.

  • Stephanie

    April 29, 2009 at 9:03 am

    I was a very early reader myself and I remember loving the old school Speak and Spell. I don’t know what current versions there are, but maybe you can pick and old one up on eBay or a garage sale or something. I also loved the Memory board games and a quick glance on Amazon shows that there are a zillion more versions than there used to be when I was a kid. Guess Who might also be a good game for him. Obviously, they are going to claim that they are out of his age range, but he seems to be beyond Candy Land and Chutes and Ladders (not that those aren’t still fun!).

    Other than that, books, books and more books. I especially remember reading all the Golden books and Dr. Suess books on my own as a kid, and later to my younger brother.

  • Angella

    April 29, 2009 at 9:06 am

    Well, you DID skip a grade, so we know where he gets his brilliance from. According to my Mom, I was reading by the time I was two-and-a-half. When their friends would come over they’d hand me the newspaper and have me read to them.

    None of my kids are quite the same, though Emily is starting to recognize words (WTH?). I have heard wonderful things about Montessori & am considering that for her this fall. Is there one near you?

  • sunny

    April 29, 2009 at 9:06 am

    do children have to be potty trained before they start preschool in the US?

    Yes, most around here require potty-training.

  • TheSpectrum

    April 29, 2009 at 9:13 am

    Agree with all the comments! Especially the library! I started reading at 2.5 and the best thing my mother did was let me take out stacks of books at a time!

    I currently nanny twin almost-5 year olds who are in the same place as Wito. We play a lot of word games, sometimes during dinner using a magnadoodle. They pick a category — “food, animals, planets, etc.”, I write out a word and they have to sound it out. It’s great for seeing what level they’re at and gives you the opportunity to challenge them a little, talk about what sounds the vowels make when paired with each other, etc. Rhyming also helps–writing out a word and then listing all the words that sound like it, etc.

    Read it up, Wito!

  • tutugirl1345

    April 29, 2009 at 9:19 am

    I agree with everyone else- Library! My dad would take me once a week and I’d check out the maximum amount of books allowed. I absolutely loved it. You might want to see if there are any preschools (or even private elementary schools that start with preschool) that will allow un-potty trained kids. My parents put me in pre-school at a 2 year old -6th grade place and I’m 99% sure I wasn’t potty trained by then.

  • am'ti b

    April 29, 2009 at 9:41 am

    i know i live in kidville, but there are programs starting at 18 mos. that teach mandarin and spanish. also, we have a place that has montessori lead playgroups. my other nieces and nephews did math/reading/spanish tutoring. be really forward and ask everyone you see-i find something new out everyday when i am at the playground, i am still in “in just moved here mode”
    funny you mention the crayon signing time we thought of sending it to you guys-bent ammi just watches wito to learn her colors.
    one of our classes has a mom who teaches at the “casady” here and she said to call the schools for programs w/parents. funny as i write this remember casady has one.

  • hi kooky

    April 29, 2009 at 10:06 am

    My children (ages 6 and almost 8) are not quite the geniuses that Wito seems to be, but I found myself feeling the same way at times – what the heck can I do to keep up with these whippersnappers?

    I agree with the Montessori suggestion, if and when it’s available. As for games & activities, here are some things that worked well for us:

    Bob Books – http://www.bobbooks.com (perhaps Wito has already blown through these, but if not, they’re great beginning reader book sets.)

    eeBoo matching games – http://www.eeboo.com/startpage.php?cat=120 Great quality, pretty designs. The “I Never Forget a Face!” is a favorite here. We get out the globe and find the countries represented on the game pieces. Memory stimulation AND geography. (And if he wants to, he can learn to spell all the countries too. :))

    Thinkfun games are great. I don’t know if they’re exactly up Wito’s alley, but they are challenging. A good one to start with is Rush Hour Jr. – http://www.thinkfun.com/PRODUCT.ASPX?PageNo=PRODUCT&Catalog=By%20Category&Category=4RUSHFAN&ProductId=5040
    My youngest (also a reading lover and math head) enjoyed this game when he was three.

    I hope this is helpful! Good luck!

  • Stephanie

    April 29, 2009 at 10:24 am

    What a great problem to have! I found through my own searching that some preschool programs (smaller ones, especially) may not require full potty training, just that you are working on it. Maybe a Montessori school that believes that “each child excels on his/her own schedule.” Potty training boys sucks, so I think some schools are more forgiving.

    Other than that we really enjoy the story times at our library. We are in the “why” stage here and I know far to well how draining it can be. It sounds like he will find what he needs to keep him interested when he needs it.
    Great job!

  • ErinM

    April 29, 2009 at 10:41 am

    My brother was off-the-charts smart and started school early. However, as he got a little older it was VERY clear that he was not as socially mature as his classmates. Not sure why because he was in Mom’s Day Out programs and the like, but it definitely caused a lot of angst over “fitting in” as we grew up. Anyway, I would suggest keeping an eye out for that kind of thing. Otherwise, read on Wito! Very cool!

  • Anna

    April 29, 2009 at 10:45 am

    My youngest daughter has really gotten our money’s worth from her Leapster LMax. There are many games that are geared towards Pre-K. They help with phonics, reading, and math without being too overly complicated.

  • sizzle

    April 29, 2009 at 11:20 am

    That Neutrogena cream is THE BOMB. I second that emotion.

  • bethany actually

    April 29, 2009 at 11:31 am

    I second Angella’s Montessori recommendation. I have a friend whose son is in a Montessori preschool and they love it.

    I was reading at about Wito’s age too, and learned in exactly the same way. My mom would try to get me to sound words out and I’d get mad and say, “Just TELL me what it says and I’ll remember!” I loved loved loved reading and could never have enough books. So definitely take him to the library, try workbooks for preschoolers, and maybe a Memory game? You know, the game where you spread all the cards facedown, then turn them over two at a time and try to match them by remembering which cards are where?

  • Emily

    April 29, 2009 at 11:43 am

    I don’t know a lot about toddlers and reading although it sounds like you are doing good things just by being interested and trying to engage him. Mostly I just wanted to say, this really made me laugh. You’re funny, Miss Lady.

  • Jenn

    April 29, 2009 at 12:11 pm

    Hmmm…as I’ve read your blog about Wito I’ve often thought, he sounds a lot like my little one. Cade is now 4, and his thing has always been numbers. His first word was NINE- and he even recognized it before he was one. For a long time he wanted us to “spell” out numbers for him (like, how do you spell one hundred and five? 1-0-5) Now we’re onto the thousands. and adding. and subtracting. and reading. and OMG if I happen to mention it, I always feel like I’m bragging, even though really, I’m trying to find out- is this normal? are other kids doing this? how do I keep up?

    Other commenters have mentioned and I have to wholeheartedly agree- MONTESSORI. Check it out. I almost fell over when I found out how much it cost (compared to a mom’s morning out type place) but it has been worth EVERY CENT. They let Cade explore the things that he’s interested in (letters and numbers), encourage him to try things he’s not (coloring and painting, yuck), and let him move at his own pace.

  • catnip

    April 29, 2009 at 12:27 pm

    I have an early reader too, he just turned six and devours every chapter book he can get his hands on. The best things we did with him were to read to him every night, (lots of stuff that we thought would be way over his head but really weren’t so he picked up a great vocabulary early), leaving lots of books lying around his room and play area, and getting him a Leapster. All of the pre-k games are really great learning tools and he had too much fun to even realize he was learning.

  • Chris Adams

    April 29, 2009 at 1:06 pm

    My son was an early reader too, but more like age 3.5 than 2.5. He’s now 5 years old in Kindergarten, reading 4th grade level chapter books. I’m a teacher myself, and everyone always asks what I did to get him to read early – I think they envision me as some sort of task-master at home. Honestly though, I can’t take very much credit for it! Like your son, he just started doing it on his own. The few things that helped: 1) access to lots and lots of books. 2) Superwhy – the show on pbskids (seriously – the hugest help of all probably!) 3) The game called Letter Factory for his Leapster. Actually all of the leapster games have been great.

    We also found him a great preschool with a great 3 year old program and an even greater pre-K program for 4 year olds.

    I didn’t read all of the comments, so forgive me if I repeated anything. The thing that I think I did best though, was let it happen at his own pace. I encouraged him, but never pushed it. Kids are such sponges and learn things so incidentally in non-structured ways.

  • Megan

    April 29, 2009 at 1:39 pm

    Library! A good children’s librarian also might be able to help you – point you to specific resources in the library, library programming, etc. And – opa! – it’s all free!

  • Jessica

    April 29, 2009 at 1:44 pm

    I know this may be the low-rent suggestion, but maybe get Wito his own library card? Even our tiny little libraries here in Brooklyn have pretty decent book sections, and he can devour all the books he wants. Program wise, I don’t know that he may need a program, so much as materials.

    I know when I was a kid, my favorite thing were those books with the tapes. I would “read” along and the tape cassette would tell me a story. But with a library card, you can get darn near anything and that way you don’t have to keep anything that doesn’t grab you. You can also do an electronic reserve of materials for anything your own library doesn’t have.

    Personally, I watched the entire series of sex and the city on electronic reserve from the library, taught myself Hebrew, and kept myself from moving ten tons of books from Denver to New York. I heart libraries.

  • whoorl

    April 29, 2009 at 1:47 pm

    Library lovers UNITE! Wito is a story time fiend – he goes every week.

  • Marin

    April 29, 2009 at 1:51 pm

    You don’t sound braggy. This next sentence might, though: I read really early and had to get my hands on everything, didn’t play all that much, if at all. (Sorry, but I figure you might like perspective from someone who was a lot like Wito.) My parents let my read everything, gave me “advanced” books, took me around, taught me. Oh, and I second what everyone said about Montessori. It may be a good fit for your young genius. :)

  • Beth

    April 29, 2009 at 1:59 pm

    I’m being totally lazy by not checking if this fact has changed, but when I did a story a few years ago about Mensa, the youngest member was 4.

    At this point in his development, I think the best course of action is to buy him a smoking jacket, an ascot, and a pipe.

  • justJENN

    April 29, 2009 at 2:02 pm

    That sounds like my kid. My son was the same way at 2-1/2. He’s now 5 and knows all 50 states and their capitals. And quizzes ME on the Great Lakes.

    It was daycare that helped with his desire for learning. Cause frankly, I got tired of answering.

  • Kimberlee

    April 29, 2009 at 2:20 pm

    It seems like this post could be filed under “What I’m not buying…” :)
    Is there anything more frustrating? Oh yes, not being able to get everything on your list and having your kids with you.

  • Miss E

    April 29, 2009 at 3:44 pm

    I love the video of Wito reading/reciting the books. I even made my husband watch it because I thought it was so amazing (and I only torture him with the really good/important blog stuff!). You’re lucky to have such a bright young man.

  • slynnro

    April 29, 2009 at 3:45 pm

    This whole entry is cracking my shit up. I miss you, Miss Whoorl.

  • heels

    April 29, 2009 at 3:53 pm

    My son has adored the Click-Start computer made by Leap Frog. It’s not too spendy, there are lots of good games that not only are good for reading but also for computer skills, and it keeps his attention for a very long time. We’ve had it for not quite a year yet, but we have been very impressed with it.

  • greyfavorite

    April 29, 2009 at 5:07 pm

    This is awesome. You don’t sound like you’re bragging, and you should be proud. I can’t speak to this as a mother (because I’m not one), but I was an early reader too and wanted to offer this:
    I very fondly remember that my mom read to me for years after I could read (and did read) whole novels to myself with ease. She encouraged my reading in many ways, but reading to me when I was too sick or tired to read to myself is probably my favorite.

  • kat

    April 29, 2009 at 8:27 pm

    genius kid! i love it! i started reading early too – so i guess the more you can expose him to, the better. hence the awesome library! ;)

    my nephew was extremely gifted from an early start – he was the same as wito. he was an early reader (earlier than me) and memroized things like crazy. he knew all the types of trains at 3. then it was whales and sharks … and then it was birds… and now 18 years later, it’s all about music. my sister did get him a therpist who mostly did physical things with him (hm that sounds weird) but basically they were worried, he was so mentally developed, he wasn’t running outside and wasn’t interacting socially. but i’m NOT saying that will happen with wito. just what happened with my nephew.

    anyway. it’s not bragging at all – it’s awesome. and i’m sure as a parent it must just be flat-out amazing.

  • Lin

    April 29, 2009 at 10:14 pm

    I think I’d write a letter to the early childhood education department of UC-Irvine (is that the closest?) and ask them how you should approach Wito’s obviously advanced academic development. It’s important that children with such skills do not become bored and also that it stays as much fun in the future as it is now.

  • Backpacking Dad

    April 29, 2009 at 10:42 pm

    A perfect box of crayons….I hope none of them are broken. One, two, three, four….

  • Siera

    April 29, 2009 at 10:49 pm

    Have you thought of putting him in a montessori school program? He may find that really stimulating. I know it goes beyond the realms of your everyday pre-school.

  • Amy

    April 30, 2009 at 6:43 am

    Somebody may have mentioned this already, or maybe you know of it, but we use http://www.starfall.com a lot, it helps sound words out and kids can read along with the program. It becomes a little too “stab my eye out” for myself after watching it for awhile, and the songs definitely get stuck in my head, but my son loves it. Good luck, Wito sounds like an awesome kid.

  • Calee

    April 30, 2009 at 9:02 am

    While I’m agreeing with the Montessori recommendations, I’ll save you some research (at least for the Newport Beach/Irvine area)–until they’re potty trained and 3, the kiddos don’t get to go in the awesome real Montessori classrooms. Yes, their toddler programs are better than most, but it’s a big problem we’re having too. The other issue is the miles long wait lists. Send me an email if you want more info about specific schools and their requirements. There is one in NB that will take them at any age, but once again, potty is required…

    My daughter is a couple of months behind Wito so she won’t be old enough to go in the fall but she knows all her letters by sight and can recognize a few words. I know what you’re going through…

    I love the crayon game idea. She’s a big fan of telling me every color on a book’s page. That would be a nice step up.

    Also- I saw “hooked on Spanish” and French at the store yesterday–you could introduce a 2nd language to slow him up a bit!

  • kakaty

    April 30, 2009 at 11:34 am

    I would look around at daycares that also have preschools – if they have that in your area. I WOH so my girl has been in a few “just daycares” but when she turned 18 months we moved her to a daycare/preschool that is much more stimulating for her (and they help with potty-training – she’s about 80% there!). She’s 2 1/2 and knows her by sight letters and numbers up to 50, all her colors, etc. She loves to “read” her books (we know they are memorized – no sounding out words for her yet) and she is also learning Hebrew (Jewish school although we aren’t Jewish), Spanish and knows about 10 instruments by ear thanks to their twice-weekly music class. She’s there all day but they have half-day and 3-day a week programs. The only downfall is the cost – my college tuition was less

  • roz

    April 30, 2009 at 1:27 pm

    My son did the same thing – especially reading street signs and bumper stickers and shouting out things like “Minnesota” that we were SURE he hadn’t memorized.

    I think a lot of the advice you’ve received so far is good. One negative aspect I will mention that we’re dealing with now – just because a kid learns to read early does not mean they’ll have as easy a time with other subjects. My son is finishing kindergarten and, while he can read better than anyone in class, he is about average in math. He finds this enormously frustrating, I think because he has to work at it, and is not used to having to work at anything!

  • roz

    April 30, 2009 at 1:49 pm

    Oh, PS, some of these bright kids are late potty trainers. My son for sure…. :(

  • Kristabella

    April 30, 2009 at 2:10 pm

    Wito is a GENIUS! My favorite was “Mom, how do you spell guinea pig?” My nephew asked me last time I was over there “Auntie, do you know how to spell chameleon?” And I was like “not without spellcheck, kiddo!”

    I have no suggestions because I am a spinster with cats. I wish I could get my cats to read and clean their own litter box.

    Kristabella’s last blog post..News Flash: Packing Sucks

  • Jenni

    April 30, 2009 at 3:13 pm

    1st off… Target is like crack. The more you go, the more you want.

    2nd off… My kid is more like Steve Martin’s kid. You know the one. He wore the bucket on his head and ran into walls that way? So, um, my advice? Keep buying Crayons! :p

  • Nancy R

    May 1, 2009 at 10:58 am

    You could play “what rhymes with _____”, and “what begins with letter __”. Just be careful with the rhyming game, because they can say words that rhyme but they don’t know the meaning of…like “what rhymes with door?” “Hoar!”

    So, yeah…sometimes not so good to play in public.

    Nancy R’s last blog post..Shots From Last Week

  • Nancy R

    May 1, 2009 at 10:59 am

    I’d like to say I made that spelling error on purpose to avoid naughty word searches…but no – just typing in a hurry.

    Nancy R’s last blog post..Shots From Last Week

  • Sam

    May 1, 2009 at 7:52 pm

    Such great suggestions, they all sound great – the memory games, especially. What popped in my mind was Julia @ Here Be Hippogriffs’ son, Patrick. You know he’s crazy smart and was obsessed with letters…you might want to send her an email and see if she has some advice for a fellow mother of a super smart kid! And you don’t sound braggy, seriously.

    Jenni, you comment made me laugh so hard. Just the visual image…smack!

    Sam’s last blog post..feeling quiet

  • Jae

    May 2, 2009 at 4:52 pm

    Not sure if this has been mentioned or not but maybe Wito would enjoy the “I’m going on a trip and I’m going to take…” alphabet/memory game? Maybe start slow and let him name whatever comes to mind and then start making it category specific?

  • margalit

    May 3, 2009 at 3:39 pm

    I have a son who is now almost 17 years old, but was a precocious reader and learner. He had absolutely NO interest in fiction books at all. He just wanted to learn, so I bought pretty much every Usborne and Dorling Kindersley book made back then, and he read them. When he was 3 a friend took him to the science museum here in Boston and she came back totally shaken. He had explained in great detail how electricity works to power lights. That’s the kind of kid he was.

    Now, not so much. He remained totally nuts about learning until middle school and then he realized that nobody learned like he did, and he basically just shut down. It isn’t unusual for profoundly gifted kids to do just this.

    When you have a gifted child, parenting becomes REALLY competitive. WAY worse than just plain old parenting, you’ve got these nutty gifted or nothing parents that only send their kids to gifted programs and gifted camps and go to gifted conferences to learn more about how to push the kid to be more gifted. 12 year olds in college. Parents who allow their kids on Oprah and Ellen to show off their precocious parents.


    My advice: let him learn at his own pace. Montessori is great for gifted kids, but sucks for kids with IQs that are over 150. They just can’t handle that type of learning. Most parents of PG kids give up on school and either home school or hire tutors to teach their kids. We did private, public, homeschooling (twice), back to public, residential for a year, back to public. The point is, with kids like this every year can be totally different and you have to be on your toes as to what works and what’s failing. And you have to be ready to turn on a dime.

    Parenting gifted children sucks. I’ll say it right out loud. It is horribly hard to have a kid that is SO different, who is almost always smarter than the teacher, who has no patience for a spiral curriculum, and who wants to spend way more on in-depth topics than any school allows.

  • Sarah @ BecomingSarah.com

    May 7, 2009 at 9:11 am

    I was an early reader too. In fact, I wasn’t much older than your son. My mom said she would go around to elementary schools looking for memory games to play with my sibs & I because otherwise she’d go out of her mind.

    On the other side of the coin, though, just so I’m not a total braggart, I did wet the bed until I was, like, 12. So. You know. Obviously there’s somethign to be said for BALANCE. Good luck!

  • page

    May 20, 2009 at 12:50 am

    I started reading at about the same age as your son, and read everything I could get my hands on (imagine a 4 year old asking her father what a hickey is, and him realizing she got it from a pilfered copy of “Grease” from the baby sitter).

    I loved the Richard Scarry Picture Dictionary, the Museum of Natural History book (big one, has the entire collection), anything descriptive and I loved reading into a tape recorder. I also got a HUGE kick out of freaking out everyone by reading The Bell Jar at age 5, and absolutely loved learning to write my own stories. However, I sucked at math. Still do. Numbers give me the cold sweats. I can spell anything, just don’t ask me to add up a column of numbers. Give that job to my husband.

    Preschool saved my parents and brother from my endless tirades of questions, and provided me with so much more stimulation than I ever would have had at home with a babysitter (my parents both were gone 6-4).

    Target + Crack. Just sayin’.

  • page

    May 20, 2009 at 12:52 am

    Oh, and GOD, the library. I know he’s already going, but the library is still my happy place. And secondhand book sales (the Planned Parenthood book sale in my hometown is stuff of legend). Let him go wild.

  • […] again, I have to thank all of you who commented and/or emailed me about the early reader situation. Your suggestions were spot […]

  • Bella

    June 1, 2009 at 2:43 pm

    Hi, I know this post is a little old, but I wanted to say THANK YOU for all the Library love. I’m a Youth Services Librarian and all the pro-library comments made my day. One often overlooked area of the library that might be great for Wito is audiobooks or ‘kits’ (when there’s an audio book AND physical book to read together). These are a great tool for early literacy and will give you a break because Wito will be independently entertained, and as with being read to, he is developing his literacy skills.