The act of reading and writing are communication skills that every human being needs in order to survive and participate in our gradually narrowing global community. Therefore it is not surprising that parents and teachers place a lot of emphasis on children learning these skills. In fact, it can be said that, we tend to put too much emphasis on these skills, to the detriment of the other skills that children actually need.
Childhood should be a period of learning. Children need to learn about their environment, the community, the language, social skills, and they really do want to learn how to do common chores that they see their parents and others perform. These skills and activities when learned, are what helps the child develop a lot of pre-reading and pre-writing skills they need. A child needs these in order to succeed with reading and writing. And yet we find adults insisting that children as young as one and a half years old, should start writing alphabets and numbers even before they can sometimes talk, clean and dress themselves, or clean their environment. To make matters worse they are usually still in diapers!
Think about it, during the stone age, how many humans were reading and writing? They all learnt to live in their communities though, they learnt to communicate, hunt of fish, and help to prepare the food among other things. But now, it’s the 21st Century, so we think we can skip all the preliminaries and ask a child to do these additional social communication activities first!
Well dear parents and teachers, take a step back and think about it. Wouldn’t it be easier for a child who could speak and use language properly to learn to read? If a child can use his hands and fingers, pick stones from the beans and rice before it is washed and cooked, or sweep the floor and dust the furniture, then he is more prepared for what is to come. The child has developed skills that will enable him to understand what he is reading, skills to help him grasp his pencil correctly, and also skills that will give him a staying power to write for longer periods.
Teaching children the names of things is usually a good place to start with language development. Speaking to and with them, telling them stories, allowing them to talk and express themselves. Children should learn songs, sing nursery rhymes and learn poetry. All this before you start them on the journey of phonics! This is what playgroup should be about.
A child who does not know the names of objects in the room, in the house or school is expected to read! Mankind came up with reading and writing much later on in history. Reading and writing are not natural activities of mankind, we need special skills to learn these. Let the child grow naturally into these skills. Take it step by step, so you don’t overwhelm the child with worries and a sense of failure before adulthood. There will be enough time for this. I promise you they will not fail because they did not start writing at two, there is a way to teach them right. You can get training to help you teach children step by step, and bring them to success.
If you want to know more about how to teach your child to read and you have not downloaded it yet, get my Free Guide here. It gives you a step by step guide on what you need to be doing.
And Coming out soon, is the e-book Teach Your Child To Read. Make sure you are on my subscription list. You will get a special deal for the book 50% off the selling price!