"He is four years old and not reading - do I panic now?"

Posted on October 18, 2010 at 8:35 AM



Prior to teaching my first son to read I thought to myself "How am I going to do this?"


After teaching all of my sons to read, this is what I appreciate about reading.


1. There is no trick to it. It is a NATURAL process , barring any special needs of the child, they WILL learn. What is a natural process? It means we were born with the desire to learn and know words. If that desire is nurtured, it will grow. I often think of "breathing" being so natural and done without "thinking". Did you know that reading, when the right environment is created can be just as easy? More on that in a minute.


2. That ANYTIME between 4 years old to up to 8 and even 10 years old for some children is normal. Did I mention also that some who come to the reading table later devour and enjoy reading just as much, if not more so, than the child that came earlier or the child that we might have pushed earlier?


In my case, my oldest read early and being our "first" we tend to think that probably his timetable is the "right" track to be on for reading. Along came my second son who could care less about reading and stress began. I thought what was I doing wrong as a parent? Why wasn't he interested? I read to him just as much if not MORE than my oldest.


I learned it was personality. He was a totally different child. It is not that he was not going to read, but it was going to be on his timetable. He was not going to read based on the "schedule" I so carefully crafted in my mind. I thought it was October now and he should be way ahead in reading.


That thinking reminds me of a recent happening in my neck of the woods. There was a flurry of emails on my local homeschool group. The rare corpse flower in our museum received local attention by almost all the TV stations as well. We had been told ANY day now it would bloom. When it FINALLY bloomed, the headlines read in the paper "It took weeks and after weeks of teasing the flower is in full bloom"


Oh how the reading process compares to that rare flower. No amount of prying open the petals on our part would make the flower bloom any faster, it would only hurt the rare flower and diminish its value.


No amount of anxiously visiting the museum night or day was going to rush this delicate and intricate process. As long as the environment was good for blooming, it would and it DID.


3. The environment has more to do with learning how to read than the actual program. Children will learn to read by EXAMPLE. If we set the example in our house and explain to the child how reading opens our lives up to adventures, then our children follow our example.


Even when they are not old enough to understand the words, hold your child or infant in your lap and read to them .They come to associate warm feelings with reading and learn that words are good. Up to high school continue to feed them with beautiful words and literature.


The biggest mistake we can make as homeschool parents is to focus so much on how to read and not how to enjoy reading.


Continue to teach your child how to read. If your child is not reading, don't force his petals open before he is ready to bloom. A skilled reader is a valuable part of society and a reader that reads for the very delight of words adds richer meaning to his life.


Lastly, let me leave you with a poem I laminated in my early years to remind me of how I wanted my sons to feel about reading when they grew up.


"You may have tangible wealth untold. Caskets of jewels and coffers of gold.  Richer than I you can never be – I had a mother who read to me."

— Strickland Gillilan


©Tina Robertson - New Beginnings


©2010 Jupiter Image


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