Question: When will my child learn to read?
Answer : When he is good and ready!
Question: How can I help her be ready?
Answer: More importantly, how can you not get in her way…
For a child to read, she has to be motivated. What is the best motivation? I have four children, and I can give you four different answers. For the first child, she wanted to be able to find her favorite parts of stories. For the second, we don’t know … he simply always knew how to read. For the third, she had a desire to be more grown up. And for the fourth, he was driven to not be left behind as the youngest sibling.
In every case, I did not give these children their motivations. I simply observed and enabled them when inspiration came calling. Below are listed some activities we enjoyed, some children gravitating more to one than another.
In our home, I read most books to my children until around age 9/10. Their minds are ready to grasp complex stories and concepts long before they are ready to decode the letters. When the decoding starts to kick in, I gradually move them to reading independently.
Audible.com (works flawlessly on Kindle Fires)
Classic Tales by BJ Harrison
Apps and Online Programs
Dr Seuss Read-to-Me Apps
Comics (one of my children read the entire Peanuts collection!)
Lots of physical exercise (swinging, spinning, climbing, etc)
At-home versions of brain-building activities from Ignite
Books and Articles About Language Development
Your Child’s Growing Mind (Healy)
Endangered Minds (Healy)
Experiences of Other Parent Educators
If you have a very creative child who seems to be lagging: Normal Development, Left vs Right Brain
Reading Readiness & Comprehension
A child may continue to struggle with reading at these ages. Continue reading aloud to her… decoding and comprehension are entirely different things. I had one child who did not read anything on her own until after age 9. At 12 she was scoring off the charts in reading comprehension. Her tester asked how I had taught her so well … my response was that I simply always read to her and didn’t let phonics get in the way!
From The Right Side of Normal: Promoting a Positive Relationship with Print
We do some phonics work after reading is in full swing, just as a sort of mop up. It’s not something that we do a lot of, nor very regularly; just when the idea strikes. My kids have all enjoyed doing occasional work in Explode the Code. They have books and now an online program (which we have not used).
We don’t teach spelling explicitly, preferring to pick it up through copywork. However, this is an interesting (and free)(and very complete) program that uses color coding to teach spelling: Spell By Color