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.


Developmental Readiness

Kids all develop at their own pace. We know this when it comes to learning to walk, or climb 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 most commonly used learning resources.

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". In the grand scheme of things, whether you learned to read at age 4 ,or 7, or even 8 is pretty irrelevant. 


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.

Maybe it's time to rethink the way we do early childhood education.


  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 :)

  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.


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


-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…

Water Relay Races For Kids

I don't know about your kids, but mine absolutely love games involving water and getting wet in the summer time.
In this post I will share 5 of our favorite water relay races to play with friends. These are perfect for birthday parties, homeschool get togethers, and other group events.

Sponge Relay:
For this relay you will need:
-2 teams of several kids each
-2 large sponges
-4 small buckets or containers of some sort
Divide your participants into 2 teams and have each team line up single file at a predetermined starting place. 
Hand out a sponge to the first participant in each line. Set a bucket of water by each team. Set an empty bucket about 20 ft away from each team. 
The two empty buckets should be the same size and should have a "fill line" marked half way up.
On a count of 3 (or ready set go) the first participant in each line should dip their sponge in the bucket of water, run to the empty bucket, squeeze the water from their sponge, then run back, hand off the sponge to…

40 Things To Look At Under A Microscope

Microscopes are an awesome scientific instrument that all kids should get a chance to learn how to use. There are so many everyday things that look amazing under a microscope. Under a microscope you can see that many objects that appear solid are actually made up of tiny parts, and that even plants and animals are made of tiny intricate parts. The microscopic world is amazing! In this post I share 40 things to try looking at, up close, under a microscope.

40 Things To Look At Under A Microscope:
1. A feather 

2. Soil

3. An insect wing

4. A human hair

5. An animal hair

6. Pond water

7. Diatomacious earth-  diatomacious earth looks SO cool magnified!

8. Cheek swab

9. An insect leg

10. A drop of blood

11. Mold

12. Sand

13. A shaving from a chicken bone- try both a piece of hard bone from the outside and some spongy bone from inside a bone.

14. Kombucha

15. Snake or lizard skin after they shed 

16. A flower petal

17. A sliver of wood

18. Sugar

19. Salt- try different types

20. Thread

21. Saliva

22. A spider web