Are You Frustrated Trying to Teach Your Child to Read?

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Yes? Let me tell you, I HEAR YOU. Teaching a child to read can sometimes be an extremely frustrating process! We all want our children to be good readers. Of course we do. We want them to be ready for kindergarten. We want them to succeed. So when the going gets tough, our worry-meters go berserk. Will my child fall behind? Will he ever get it? Is he down for the count before the bout has even begun? Before you start weeping on the floor, remember: These are all normal desires and normal fears. You’re not crazy or paranoid or overprotective for having them. That being said, we do need to keep them in check when teaching our children in order to respect their developmental process.

When my oldest child was four, I decided to teach her to read. I used a common book that has worked well for millions of children. However, I made one huge mistake: I turned learning to read into a battle of wills. I made a chart (I’m a chart girl), and I vowed that every day we would practice reading for ten to twenty minutes. I was all in. She wasn’t interested. I bought prizes, bribed her, tried every trick in the book. Didn’t matter. She still didn’t want to do it, no matter how much I forced her, pleaded with her, cajoled her each day.

Did I teach her to read? Yes. But guess what? She hated it.

My oldest child hated to read. This was not the outcome I wanted. I wrongly assumed that as soon as she could read, she would love to read. And who knows? Maybe she still wouldn’t like reading, regardless of what I said or did. However, I still think the frustration we both felt while she was learning to read turned her off at the get-go.

Thankfully, I learned from my mistake. With my next child, I used the same learn-to-read book I had with my daughter, but instead of going at my pace, I followed his lead. We moved much more slowly, skipped things he wasn’t interested in, and in the end, we both had a much better experience. I treasured our shared love of reading.

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By the time my daughter entered second grade, I decided I needed to remedy her hatred of reading as well as I could. So we spent the year reading books together and listening to audio books. Don’t be fooled. The change didn’t come instantly, and I can’t say that she ultimately became a bookworm. But...sharing my love of reading with her rather than forcing her to read made a big difference. By the end of second grade, she actually liked reading.

 

By the time I had my fifth child, I knew the book I had used to teach my other children to read would turn into the same frustrating battle of wills I’d experienced with my daughter. This son couldn’t sit still, didn’t like being told what to do, and  showed no interest in reading. I was still determined to teach him, but I needed something new. This is the primary reason I developed the ABC See, Hear, Do. I wanted something that would inspire him to want to learn, that would spark a love of reading. The ABC See, Hear, Do method did the trick.

Long story short? Since children learn so differently, it’s good to have multiple methods of teaching reading. What might be super frustrating for one child might click for another child. Every child is different, which means that there’s no right or wrong pace. So learn from my experience – if you or your child are frustrated with the process, stop what you’re currently doing and try something else. Smother those fears, do your best, and you’ll both be closer (and happier) in the end.