As a homeschooling mom, I feel the pressure. My kids are supposed to be smarter than the public school kids, right? They should be farther ahead than their peers and about ready for college by age ten. Except that they aren’t.
With child number 1, I was right on the money. She could read by age 4. Reading was a breeze for her! Of course I just knew my other children would easily follow suit and read by 5 or 6. Except that they didn’t.
Kids number 2 has a speech impediment that also has affected his reading abilities. He had so much trouble speaking that we could forget reading out loud. After a couple years with a super fantastic speech teacher, he made progress and was reading more and more at almost age 8. I believe what caused the sudden trigger in his reading was finding what he was interested in reading. For him, it was A to Z Mysteries and Magic Treehouse books. Once we started reading one he wanted to quickly finish it and I didn’t have the time to sit and read an entire chapter book with him every evening. He found the desire and ended up wanting to learn to read. I know at almost 8, that’s not too “old” for learning to read, but compared to his friends, it was much later. Now at age 9, he’s competing with some friends on reading the entire Bible! Big difference a year makes!
With kid number 3, she just would rather play at this point. I’m okay with that for the most part. She’s 6 and a half. I’m not one to force school before they are ready. The only problem we have run into is people expecting that she can read since she is much taller than the average 6 year old. When they find out that she can’t read, I get those looks. You know, the “you’re one of THOSE homeschoolers”. But whatever. She’s my kid and she will get it in due time. She’s SIX! As with her brother, there will come a day when she has the desire to learn and then reading will be picked up very quickly.
Don’t get me wrong, though. I still work with her on flash cards. We read together daily. We are fostering learning but we will not force it to the point of tears.
So I say the following to the frustrated mom whose child isn’t reading according to the standards of their peers:
- Don’t make reading your only focus. It can be as frustrating to your child as it is to you!
- It will happen. One day it will click and they will be reading chapter books very soon after!
- Don’t make reading a source of tension in the house. Keep making it light and fun.
- Read, Read, Read.
- Go to the library and get new books. If your child likes frogs, find all the fun books on frogs. Help foster the desire to read.
- Find books on tape and have your child follow along with the book.
- Don’t compare your child to other children. It’s so easy to fall into this trap. It’s not worth it. Every child learns at their own pace.
- If needed, contact a specialist to check for dyslexia or other conditions that could be causing the delay.
- Check out websites like Reading Eggs, ABCya.com, and the Getting Ready program on Allinonehomeschool.com.
As a final thought, take heart. Every child is so different in the way they learn and process. Find what works for them and run with it. They come with their very own timetables and do not learn at the exact same pace.
Do you have any other tips to add? What age was your child when they started reading?