Since the British school system begins a year earlier than the American system, and it is full day school from the start, they have loads of time to teach each child to read. During the orientation for parents program that our school did, they made it clear that they expect every child to be reading by the end of the year AND they would be able to write full sentences of dictation. We were ecstatic to have a ton more support from school than we had with the older two.
I was a little nervous at first because Talia had been slow to identify which letters of the alphabet were which. It is now my opinion that her "not knowing" was an act because she has been quickly picking up letter sounds and putting them together to make words. The school uses a cool phonics "scheme" that puts together the sounds of the letters with hand/body motions making learning a lot of fun and something that makes a big impression on the little brains.
I love how enthusiastic she is. She is trying to sound out everything. Unfortunately, she has two older readers who haven't quite picked up on the fact that they shouldn't yell the answers out. Isaac is especially hard up to "help" her all the time. Elie has learned that she should keep quiet, but still has a hard time sometimes. I also love that it is another completely different experience; Elie had to be encouraged to learn, Isaac picked it up through osmosis, and here is Talia enthusiastically working hard. Learning to read is a beautiful thing!