Six Reasons to Teach Your Child to Read
When my first child was about three-and-a-half years old, I decided I wanted to teach her how to read myself. As a first-grade teacher at the time, I may have just wanted to do it myself and not let anyone else do it. I can honestly tell you I am not sure why I was driven to do it, but in the end, I did teach her and I have taught my other two children to read as well.
In this article I will tell you, based on my experiences, why I believe parents themselves can and should take the initiative to teach their children to read. I no longer have any doubt whatsoever as to why and can share six reasons with you.
The first reason I will give you is that by ensuring your child reads well in school leads to early success in school. I learned in teacher school that success leads to more success. Children love to feel successful and will work hard to feel more success. This is the type of cycle I wanted my children and students to experience. And I saw a lot of it using the phonograms. First-graders love recess. There is no doubt about that. But when we were working on the phonograms, we often did not take morning recess and I rarely heard complaints about it. Other teachers would ask me where we were and then could hardly believe it when I told them we were working.
The second reason is that children will be more self-confident students. Imagine your child going to school already knowing how to read. Your child will walk into that school already knowing that this learning thing is not so hard and that they can do it. Contrast with an example of a student who does not yet know how to read and the difficulties faced. Much of life is believing in yourself and teaching your child to read is a good way to get them started believing early. You must know once they have it the odds of losing it are small.
Next, your child will learn so much through the world of reading. You might as well get them started early and let the learning begin. I helped my children choose books to read early on and often made non-fiction books an option. Pretty amazing what their little brains can soak up just because they can read about it. Children can learn a lot by watching TV too, but there is plenty of research that shows people who read are smarter than people who don’t read. Need I say more?
I haven’t talked about the phonograms yet. But teaching your child to read using 70 phonograms makes them understand that words are made up of parts. Research shows that children who understand that words are made up of parts are better readers. It is easy to see why your child would understand that words are made up of parts. You will teach them all the parts using the phonograms. There is a Stanford study linking learning the sounds activates the left hemisphere, which is the hemisphere used by skilled readers. All of these reasons are important. I think if I had to rate them, I’d lean towards this one as number one.
Another reason to teach your child to read is that you will have no doubt as to how your child learns to read. I’m not saying there aren’t many successful teachers in the world teaching children how to read and that there aren’t many different ways to teach children to read. I’m actually a very firm believer that if the parent is extremely involved and supportive, just about any method will work. What I’m saying is, you get the opportunity to remove any doubt about the process.
And finally, the last reason, which I lean toward as number one as well. This reason involves the joy that you get to experience during the process of teaching your child to read. You will spend many hours with your child during the process, some of it very challenging and some of it very frustrating. But in the end, your child will be reading well and you will have been instrumental in making it happen. When children transition from sounding out all the words to those first few words that become their own, it is a wonderful moment. And then the joy continues as you watch them learn more and more and more words and start reading. You will be amazed at what your child can do once all the phonograms have been learned and they start reading regularly. And it was because you made the choice to make it happen.
There you have it, six excellent reasons for parents themselves to teach their children to read. Success, confidence, knowledge, words are made of parts, surety of method, and finally, the joy that will be experienced. I may not have known why I was driven to teach my children to read, but I sure was lucky to experience all six reasons and I am now driven to help other parents have the same experience.
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