New home-schoolers are often intimidated by the idea of teaching their kids to read. They know it is vitally important and therefore must be complicated to teach properly. I think it would be complicated to teach to a classroom full of squirmy six-year-olds of varying levels of readiness (my heart goes out to those poor teachers). But it really isn’t that hard to teach your own. It’s actually pretty fun – assuming you like to read yourself.
To begin with, it’s wonderful snuggling up on the couch or outside on a blanket, reading piles of delightful children’s books. Every day – not just before bed – read to your kids and enjoy the expressions on their faces and the comments they make. Don’t make them hold still. They can roll on the floor, play with blocks, draw or do whatever quiet thing they like and still enjoy the stories – but they will usually want a front-row seat to see the illustrations.
Eventually your child will want to know what you are doing when you read. They may ask questions about letters or words – then you know they are ready to start learning. Not all kids are ready at the same time and it has nothing to do with intelligence so don’t worry about it. In fact, I am fairly convinced that many of the so-called reading disabilities (apart from genuine dyslexia) are caused by forcing kids to read before they are ready. For more info on this, read Raymond and Dorothy Moore’s excellent book, Better Late Than Early. (more…)