Reading Readiness

The following is from my yahoo discussion group – it is obviously part of a thread but I thought there is enough that might be of interest here to warrant re-printing it.
My experience tells me to be even more conservative than Dr J! My experience tells me that 7 is still too early for many children – and that all the symptoms Dr J lists are just as relavant at 8, 9 or 10 years old – especially if the child is a boy. I keep on beating this drum – but I can’t deny what I’ve seen in scores of situations where children – again, usually boys but not always – “lag behind” in skills such as reading until they are about 9 or 10 (by which time they are receiving all sorts of intervention – much of which is not, I believe, necessary) and then suddenly they fly. It is shocking to most of us that kindergarteners are being pushed so young to read and that those who fail start acquiring labels such as ADHD – but I would argue that this is just as damaging for the many (though certainly not all) children as “old” as 8, 9 ,10 or even 11 years of age who cannot read or write without difficulty. And as Dr J has seen these labels fall off littlies thus “diagnosed”, so I have seen the same thing happen with much older children when only the parents wait, relax, trust and support their children’s learning pace.
Dr J speaks about the change at 7 that happens which prepares children to read – I see a change at around 9 or 10. And I am so grateful for the work of Raymond and Dorothy Moore which confirms this (I have lots of hands on experience but have done no research myself!). They talk in their books about the neurological changes that happen around the 9th or 10th year – and their experience also confirms that this seems to be the case more with boys than girls. Most “regular” homeschool resources carry their books – Better Late than Never is probably most appropos to this discussion!
As a committed anthroposophist, as someone deeply immersed in Waldorf education, I find that the curriculum and the methodology make such sense to me and are so healing to children – but I cannot overlook the fact that my experience points again and again to the “better late than early” approach to reading (and usually writing) – and late by Moore terms, not Waldorf terms! (forget what the rest of the educational establishment says!!)

Posted on September 16, 2005 in 3rd Grade, Kindergarten (and pre-K), Language Arts

  • Such a blessing~it’s what I already believe, and I have a 9yos who is not reading much at all. I know one day it will click! but OH the critics… ~sigh~ (((((HUGS))))) sandi

  • I really agree with your opinion about the age of reading acquisition. After teaching for 30+ years, I experienced so many worried parents and teachers who fret over the reading level of a child in the early years of education. As long as they are progressing and interested in learning, they will eventually master the skills of reading and comprehension. Each progresses at their own speed. As long as the child is enthusiastic and positive, they will master the task of reading independently when they are ready. We are too rushed and forgetting to delight in the magic of childhood. There are too many pressures imposed upon children. I believe that as long as you engage the child in exploring our world, listening, and observing language acquisition, they will succeed when the time is right. Let go and believe in the intrinsic nature of development.

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