Offbeat: Extraordinary Reader

November 9, 2007--Posted at 11:00 a.m. CDT

BROOKLAND, AR--Like most of his kindergarten classmates, 6 year old Dalton Johnson is working on learning to read and write, but when it comes to reading, he's way ahead of the game.  You see, Dalton can read almost anything and has been reading since he was 3.  His mom says he didn't start talking until he was 3 and reading came soon after.

"He just looks and the words and says them," said Dalton's mom, Jennifer.  "We didn't do anything special, we just read to him and his brother when they were babies.  They didn't even hear the "ABC" song until they got to Kindergarten."

Dalton's 8 year old brother Dillon is also a gifted reader and both boys went through Mrs. Schug's class at Brookland.  Mrs. Schug says she's taught kindergartners for 32 years and the Johnson boys are two of only 3 students with this of reading abilities.

Nobody taught them to read, that's just their gift," said Schug.  "I don't know, there aren't very many words he can't read. In fact we were talking and he spelled encyclopedia, he just has the ability to do that."

He's never been tested, so I decided to do my own unscientific reading test.  I pulled out the "B" encyclopedia, opened it at random and for 10 minutes Dalton rolled through word after word, sentence after sentence, barely hesitating on any of them.

"When people think it's odd, we don't think it's that big of a deal, but it is and we're proud of them," said Dalton's mom.