One aspect of high investment parenting is to hold the viewpoint that ‘teaching your child to read’ is much more than just forcing them to memorize the mechanics and hold the ability to sound out words. Teaching your child to read is more about instilling a love for reading. 

This has always been a goal of ours in teaching our children. Therefore, as the primary educator in our home I did not force or push reading skills too early. I noticed that while my eldest was attending “kindergarten” (a short lived 2 month excursion), he was already overwhelmed and dreading school as I received a new 100 word spelling list for him to memorize each week. This sort of thing is very unnatural for children of age 5 and 6 who are supposed to primarily explore through their senses in nature play at that age. It also puts an absurd amount of pressure on the parent to force their child to ‘keep up’ with the teacher’s agenda. 

After pulling him out of school and choosing to homeschool, I still carried some of that pressure over for the first few months; I tried to mimic public/private school at home on beautiful sunny days with my then 5 year old child, which was a disaster. I received some of the best advice from other homeschool moms at that time who insisted that being patient was key, and reminded me of the wisdom of Rudolph Steiner whose Waldorf teachings say that children can begin to learn to read around the age of 7. 

Once I backed off and stopped forcing it, took lessons more slowly, and gave my precious child all the patience he needed- things began to shift and reading lessons were more fun. I used the book, “Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons” and I am now using it again with my 6 year old. The lessons are short- about 5 to 10 minutes a day- and by the 5th lesson they are reading a word or two, which gives them confidence. The book uses the Distar method of teaching the word sounds before the letter names. Regardless of what curriculum you choose for reading (I also highly recommend the “All About Reading” program), the idea is to relax a bit. 

These choices in homeschooling have paid off. Admittedly, my son was still not a fluent reader even by third grade. Yes, he could sound out words. Yes, he could read. But was he fluent? Did he like reading? No. There was the unfortunate occasion or two when the unsupportive, childless sister-in-law would take the opportunity to critique my teaching and our homeschool, and put him on the spot at family holidays by asking him to read aloud to everyone. This was inappropriate and we reassured our son that he was not obligated to oblige his aunt’s ‘bad faith’ challenge (which was often written in cursive). 

By 4th grade, he was reading advanced books which would be considered “gifted and talented’ material (if those classes were still allowed in public schools, which of course due to “equality”, they are not). 

By the age of 10 and 11, he is now reading as a hobby, devouring book after book with no interest in video games. He enjoys films on the weekends, but books are his favorite. I am so grateful that I took the stance that I did all those years ago. I am so glad that he does not view reading as a challenge or as a chore; on the contrary, he adores it as a pastime. Some of the books that he has recently enjoyed that I can share with those of you who might be seeking some quality content for your young readers are listed below. 

The moral of this story is to be patient and take your time with your children. Don’t allow yourself to feel competitive and/or compare yourself too heavily with others. Each child is different. They excel in various areas and some take a bit longer to become fluent readers. I would so much rather my child LOVE reading, wouldn’t you?

A few book recommendations for 10-12

Crispin (3 book series)
The Hardy Boys Classics
Blood on the River
The Penderwicks