Skip to main content

Learning To Read Is Not A Race

So much emphasis is put on early literacy these days. Many school districts expect children to be reading by the end (or sometimes even the beginning) of kindergarten. While there is certainly nothing wrong with a child learning to read early, not all kids are developmentally ready to read at age 5, and that's okay. In this post I share several reasons why learning to read isn't a race.



#thebarefootmom





Developmental Readiness


Kids all develop at their own pace. We know this when it comes to learning to walk, or climbing the jungle gym, or being ready for slumber parties, but it is often over looked when it comes to learning to read. Not all kids are developmentally there at the same age.  

Pushing kids to read before they're ready can cause a lot of frustration and resentment. It can destroy a child's chance to develop a love for reading by turning it into a frustrating chore. 



Reading Isn't The Only Way To Learn New Information


One of the reasons reading is pushed so early is to get kids ready for learning in the public school system where textbooks and worksheets are the main source of learning. 

As homeschoolers we have a great advantage in that we can offer our kids a wide variety of methods for learning. We can do more hands on learning, more field trips, watch more documentaries, read more books aloud, etc... Reading and writing are not the only ways to educate.



Let Kids Be Kids


Young children learn so much simply through play and everyday interaction with the world around them. Early childhood is a time for learning to be kind to others, learning to read social cues, developing good social habits, and developing muscle and coordination. Too much emphasis on academic learning can take time away from play and hands on experiences.

I read something once that said: "Employers don't care when you learned to read, only that you can". And it's true. In the grand scheme of things, whether you learned to read at age 4 or 7 or even 8 is pretty irrelevant. 



#thebarefootmom




What We Can Learn From The Finnish School System


Finnish schools are among some of Europe's highest ranking schools but surprisingly, they don't start any sort of formal education until age 7. Before that emphasis is put on play based learning and arts and crafts.

This "late" start on learning to read doesn't hold students back, in fact Finland is one of the world's most literate societies. 

Pushing the expected reading age earlier, as many school districts here in the U.S. have done, hasn't done anything to increase test scores or literacy rates. What it has done, is destroyed the opportunity for many children to develop a natural love of reading.










Comments

  1. I wrote a post about the same thing a while back!! My daughter is 8 years old and her reading just took off in the last 6 months. So many people hounded me about her reading and questioned me all the time. I started our homeschool journey following the public school system and it seriously made my daughter frustrated and dislike reading. I backed off and let her develop more, now she begs to read books :)

    ReplyDelete
  2. I wrote a very similar post when my youngest was struggling to read. My middle son taught himself to read at age 4 and my youngest couldn't have cared less about anything to do with reading until at least age 7 or 8. Then he skipped right ahead in no time and I know if we had pushed and pushed he would have hated reading.

    ReplyDelete

Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

Make A Simple Compost Bin (a fun way to teach kids about soil)

We did a fun unit on soil last year and our big culminating project was setting up our own backyard compost bin. It ended up being much more simple to do than I originally thought it would be. In fact it's so simple, everyone should consider starting one! It's a great way to reduce your household waste, teach kids about soil and composting, and you end up with some excellent soil for your garden out of the process.




Setting Up A Compost Bin:
The first thing you need to do is pick a place for your bin. The best location will get a few hours of sun a day (the heat will help speed up the composting process) but not too much sun because you want your compost to stay moist. You also want to pick a spot somewhat close to the house so adding kitchen scraps is easy. 
Once you've chosen a location, it's time to actually set up your bin. Your compost bin can be as simple as just a pile in your yard (I personally don't use this method because we have too many critters around here…

Learning About The Human Body Part 1: The Skeletal And Muscular Systems

At the end of each school year, I sit down with my daughter to discuss what topics she most wants to learn about the next year. One of her science topics she picked to study this year was the human body. Instead of ordering a boxed curriculum set, I decided to put together my own human body unit. In this 3 part series I will share some of the activities and resources we used for each of the body systems starting with the skeletal and muscular systems.






The Human Skeletal System


Our skeletons are the frame of our body. They give us structure, without them our bodies would be limp like noodles. They also provide places for muscles to attach so our bodies can move.


Why Does Your Body Need Calcium? Experiment:

This is a simple experiment you can do to explore why calcium is important for our bones.

You will need:

-several clean chicken bones

-vinegar 

-a bowl with a lid or plastic wrap to cover it

Let your child examine a clean chicken bone. Note how hard it is.

Place several clean chicken bones int…

5 Reasons To Let Your Kids Go Barefoot

I'm always surprised by how many concerned comments we get from well meaning strangers when my kids are barefoot in public. Comments like "Be careful, there are sharp rocks out here" or "Ouch, don't the wood chips hurt their feet?" I know these people mean well and are genuinely concerned but their concern is misplaced. Going barefoot has many benefits and wearing shoes too often can actually be damaging.


In this post I will share 5 ways going barefoot is beneficial for children (and adults too).




Proper Foot And Leg Development:
Wearing shoes affects the way a person steps. It requires using different sets of muscles differently than walking barefoot. Over time this can affect the development of the foot and leg muscles.
Modern shoes are constricting. Over time they can actually change the shape of a person's feet. Shoes can squish the bones of the feet together, affecting toe spread and arch. 
Flat feet are rare in places where shoes are seldom worn. Toe sp…

Six Fun Activities for Teaching Sight Word Recognition and Spelling

Sight words are words that you recognize by sight instead of sounding them out phonetically. Most of us do the vast majority of our reading by sight. When your reading a book you aren't sounding out words as you go, your reading by sight. You recognize the words because you've seen them many times before. The Dolche List is a list of the 315 most commonly used words in the English language. About 80% of the words in children's literature and 50% of the words in adult literature are compromised of these 315 words. Once a child has mastered these words, reading becomes much easier. In this post I'll share some of my favorite fun hands on sight word games and activities.


Flash card games:    We have several flash card games we like to play. Some of our favorites are Sight Word Go Fish and Sight Word memory. Making sight word flash cards is simple. I just write the sight words we're working on on 3 x 5 cards or even just rectangle pieces of construction paper. I don'…