Our first daughter came out talking…not quite, but pretty much. To this day she can out talk just about anyone I know. By the time she was two, she was speaking in full sentences. Therefore, when her third birthday rolled around I had a little lightbulb moment… Why don’t I attempt to teach her how to read?
I thought, this would be the perfect time to try it out. If I couldn’t teach her, either I knew she wasn’t quite ready,OR teaching wasn’t for me…or both… and neither of us would be the worse for it. 😉
Of course being practically a toddler, her attention span was about five minutes starting off, so we worked with that. Every morning after Mr. Coppertop went to work we would cuddle up in the recliner and read through a little lesson together. Once we were done I would read a couple fun books out loud to her.
A year later…
Not much has changed as far as our schedule, except now her little brother joins us, but would you believe it?… She knows how to read! She is reading level-1 to level-2 books!
She wasn’t the only one who learned something, I took quite a few things from this experience that have really changed my way of thinking when it comes to teaching my kids.
Lessons Learned From Teaching My Child to Read
1. I am capable. I have a degree in education, but when it came to my kids and actually being able to teach them, I was a little unsure if I was capable. I’ve heard people say that teaching your own kids is next to impossible, but I would like to debunk that myth and say that it is possible.
2. Develop good habits. I really don’t think this experiment would have worked if we hadn’t done it regularly. Persistence– not perfection– was the key.
3. Children love routine. She came to expect her reading lesson every morning after Daddy left for work and if for some reason I got distracted with anything else, she was quick to remind me what time it was. 😉
4. Connection is key. I realized pretty quick that she equated this whole reading thing as snuggle time with Mommy. Initially, I thought there might be a pause from the parent/child feel to a more stoical teacher/student moment but there was no differentiation in her mind. She knew when we sat down together she had my undivided attention.
5. A little goes a long way. Here I come from a classroom setting where you spend 30-40mins on a subject. How could 5-15 minutes add up to anything substantial? This is the one that blows my mind to this day: not only can 5-15 minutes be substantial, it can be incredibly productive.
6. Progress is progress. In the beginning, we would spend weeks on one lesson. Sometimes it took longer than other times to grasp a concept, but with gentle persistence she would always progress.
7. Encouragement is big. Our daughter is externally motivated, and when we encouraged her with stickers or complimented her efforts, she flourished.
8. Praise effort, not accomplishment. So much of learning something new is messing up and trying again. Reading was no exception. Not only did it encourage her for us to acknowledge her effort, but it encouraged me to look past her accomplishments to her diligence.
Obviously, our children will all learn and develop differently, however, don’t discredit yourself as a parent and your ability to teach. Whether it’s reading, teaching them to fold laundry, or helping out with math homework, take those small teachable moments and know that a little instruction can go a long way. <3
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What things are you teaching your kids right now?