Reading on Time

In my mind, learning to read is the most important thing a person needs to learn. Once someone can read well, he can find books to learn anything else in the entire world – history, mathematics, politics, science … everything.

I feel very fortunate to like reading myself and that my husband likes to read also. I remember talking to a neighbor once several years ago when the subject of books came up. She said, “Oh, I hate to read! Always have. None of my kids like reading either.”

Honestly, she was the first adult I’d ever heard say that she hates reading, and I found it very sad. What a life to live … never enjoying books and all the places they can take you!

When it comes to teaching our children to read, so many things play a role in the success and timing of learning to read.

  • Atmosphere
  • Reading Aloud
  • Reading Frequently
  • Each Child’s Unique Timetable

Since Jon and I both truly enjoying reading and often talk to one another about the books we’ve read, I believe we’ve set up an atmosphere that makes reading desirable. The kids have always seen us enjoy reading, and that interest and pleasure is contagious.

Robert at 17 months with a very good book, Missionary Stories with the Millers

We’ve also read books to the children from the time they were babies – both picture books and longer novels, such as the Little House series by Laura Ingalls Wilders, Hank the Cowdog series by John Erickson, and Tales from Dust River Gulch by Tim Davis. Even as toddlers, the boys would happily listen to these stories, which means that they’ve become very familiar with all the fun and interesting people and places that they can find within the pages of a book.

Reading is part of our family relationship – it’s something that we do together often, almost everyday. As Nick, James, and Robert have gotten older, the books we read together have matured. I often pick out books now based on whatever topic we’re studying in school. Check out the left-hand sidebar to see what we’re reading together right now.

Titles we’ve found to be great family read-alouds include the Childhood of Famous Americans series and Landmark Books. I can usually pick these up at our local library, though I’d love to have the complete collection of both series for our home library!

Over the years, I’ve discovered repeatedly that allowing a child to learn at his own unique pace works out much better in the long run. Each child has an internal timetable that determines when he’ll be emotionally ready and mature enough to read on his own. For some kids, this may happen at age five; for others, the readiness may not arrive until age 12 or later.

It bears repeating and emphasizing that the age at which a child learns to read is absolutely no indication of his overall intelligence. I’ve even read that children who read later often end up more successful than their early reading counterparts. (Of course, I don’t think that means young children shouldn’t be allowed to explore reading if they show readiness for it.)

The key, in my humble opinion, is not to pick any particular age at which it is “right” for a child to be reading. Accept each child for where he is at any given time and have patience to allow him to reach the next level in his own time.

This is where I think a positive atmosphere and frequently reading aloud to children becomes even more important. Children who are daily surrounded by the joys of books will naturally start to desire to read for themselves.

What is your family reading this week?

Browse the Virtual Curriculum Fair this week to see what other homeschoolers have to say about Playing with Words: The Language Arts.

© 2012, Cindy. All rights reserved.


  1. I agree! That's why homeschooling is so perfect! The child can learn when they are ready and progress at their own pace! Great post~ thanks!
    Jessica´s last blog post ..Learning Language At Our House

  2. Good tips! Part of the reason we educate our kiddos at home is because it's much easier to individualize their education that way. Just as children shouldn't be pushed beyond what they are developmentally capable of achieving, they shouldn't be held back from being all they can be. They all have their own "timetable."

    Thank you for joining the Virtual Curriculum Fair this week. ;0)
    Susan´s last blog post ..On Learning to Spell

  3. My boys have all reached the 'hooked on reading' stage at different times. My eldest did okay learning to read at school, but had no love of reading until the year we began homeschooling. He needed to find that book that really grabbed him and made him want to read more.

    Reading is a BIG thing in my house and I'm convinced that being read to since a young age and witnessing others reading helps to foster that culture. I've encountered people who 'hate' to read and just feel so sad for all the opportunities they miss. (And, it is one reason why I stopped working and stayed home with my boys. Couldn't see sending my toddler who's favorite thing in the whole wide world was books to a sitter who wouldn't read to him at all.)
    Laura O in AK´s last blog post ..The Christian Home Magazine ~ 43rd edition

  4. One of my favorite things about homeschooling is the flexibility. What works for one, might not work for the other. Great post!
    Chrissy´s last blog post ..Playing With Words

  5. I love this! It's so well-thought out and so true. Thanks for writing it!
    Nicole´s last blog post ..Why We Love Classical Conversations Essentials (and How I Know That’s Not a Complete Sentence)

  6. Your are absolutely right…having an the right atmosphere is key!
    LP´s last blog post ..WOW! A Fabulous Christian Family Magazine for FREE!


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