Thursday, September 8, 2016

Learn with Joy: Yes, I'm Raising a Reader and I'm Not in a Hurry!

Whenever I hear some parents say, "Oh, just look at that! My toddler is already reading! I'm so happy," I get excited for them. Although sometimes it stirs me a little bit, I'm not actually worried if my love bug is not fully reading yet. In a world where the beliefs"earlier is better" and "getting ahead" are slowly creeping and becoming established, I still embrace the philosophy "better late than early" which was popularised by Dr. Robert Moore. Don't get me wrong, of course, I want my child to be able to read well but I'm not hurrying her up.

Each child is unique. 

I believe that each child is special and learns in his/her own unique way and at his/her own pace. I learned how to read at the age of 5. I was a fast reader at age 6. At age 7, I was teaching my classmates in 1st Grade how to read. My teacher would tell me to hold the fort and lead my classmates in reading exercises while she's in a meeting. That was me. My husband has a different story and so does our daughter; I acknowledge that. Yes, she loves books and she loves being read to. I am contented with that. There's no point to compare her with me because, although she's my daughter, she is still an individual who has her own personality traits, likes, dislikes and learning style. I must respect that. And I know that when she's ready to read, she is really ready.

Learning should be meaningful.

I don't want my daughter to learn how to read just because she is pressured to do so. I want it to be meaningful to her; that she'll discover the beauty of each word because she understands it and its relevance to her day-to-day life. I remember the time she learned to read the word "mom". Because she always calls me "mom", one day she just asked me how to write it. So I wrote each letter while saying the sound of each one.  And for a time since then, she would always say the sounds of the letters first before she would call me "mom". The same thing happened with "dad". 

Childhood is not a race.

When I was a kid, I felt like I need to grow up fast; that I need to understand stuff that adults or grown ups know and understand. I was in a hurry to become an adult. It's not because my parents were hurrying me up. It's just that I felt that way. Then I realised as I grew up and became a full-fledged adult, there's so much to be enjoyed in childhood; that there's no cause to be in a hurry. Childhood happens only once and a child must take pleasure in it. My daughter still loves to play not because she doesn't want to learn how to read but because she's still a child. If she chooses play before reading time with Mom, then I must give her that freedom. After all, she will not play her tea sets and blocks for a long time, but she will definitely read all her life once she learns how. An article I have read says it perfectly: "Childhood is not a dress rehearsal for adulthood, nor is it a race. It is a separate, unique, and very special phase of life. And I’m afraid that we’re essentially wiping it out of existence due to a misguided belief that earlier is better." 

Yes, I'm raising a reader and I'm not in a hurry because I believe that my daughter is unique, that a meaningful learning is more effective and that she's not in a race to speed up. How about you? Are you also raising a reader? How do you do it? I would love to hear your thoughts.

"Childhood is not a race to see how quickly a child can read, write and count. 
It is a small window of time to learn and develop at the pace that is right for each individual child. Earlier is not better."
Magda Gerber