Over the last year, I have realized how many childhood skills need to be taught directly and intentionally. Our kids need to learn from us how to appropriately handle money, relationships, and conflict before they become adults, right? It got me thinking about our early years of parenting, all the way back to potty-training, and how easily those same ideas apply to academic skills like learning to read and write.
It’s a beautiful process, one of my favorite things about parenting. Both of my girls have become happy, independent readers…and I love it. If you’re at all concerned about your child’s journey toward becoming a reader, I have some encouragement for you:
Every child will learn in his/her own time.
Parents often ask me about programs and curriculums designed to teach young kids how to read. Like potty-training, I think our culture has turned learning to read and “getting ahead” into a money-making opportunity. Is Reading Eggs fun? Yes. Is it necessary? Probably not.
Learning to read is a milestone in every child’s life that cannot (and should not) be rushed. A child who is read to regularly will love books and learn how to read when the time is right.
There is no ONE “right” way to learn.
There are as many ways to learn how to read as there are potty-training methods. In all facets of early learning, I believe in finding the “right” way for YOUR child and YOUR family.
Some children will do well with a balanced literacy approach, while many others will need explicit phonics instruction. You can learn more about different approaches to learning to read in this article.
Every adult caregiver needs to be on the same page.
As I have mentioned before, I have a background in elementary education. I have a HUGE respect for teachers, especially those who teach preschool and Kindergarten. I was a teacher before I was a mom, though–and if I stepped back into a classroom tomorrow, I would do things differently.
Yes, teachers know a lot about child development and classroom management, but parents are the TRUE experts when it comes to their children.
Kids will have an incredible number of influential adults in their lives: coaches, church workers, doctors, and teachers. Parents are the consistent thread throughout a child’s lifetime. You know how your child learns best, what his interests are, what kinds of books will keep her up with a flashlight at night. When it comes to your child’s learning journey, YOU are the adult with the most influence.
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Raising children who love reading doesn’t just happen. So let’s be more intentional together, okay?