When my first son was about three and a half years old, I decided that I wanted to teach him to read myself. As a first grade teacher at the time, I might just want to do it myself and not let anyone else do it. I can honestly tell you that I’m not sure why they prompted me to do it, but in the end, I taught her and I have also taught my other two children to read.
In this article I will tell you, based on my experiences, why I believe that parents themselves can and should take the initiative to teach their children to read. I no longer have any doubt why and I can share six reasons with you.
The first reason I will give you is that by making sure your child reads well in school, he or she will be successful early in school. I learned in teacher school that success leads to more success. Children love to feel successful and will work hard to feel more successful. This is the type of cycle that I wanted my children and students to experience. And I saw a lot of that using the phonograms. First graders love recess. There is no doubt about that. But when we were working on the phonograms, we often didn’t take morning recess and I rarely heard complaints about it. Other teachers would ask me where we were and then I could hardly believe it when I told them we were working.
The second reason is that children will be more confident learners. Imagine that your child goes to school already knowing how to read. Your child will enter that school already knowing that this learning is not that difficult and that he can do it. Contrast with the example of a student who still cannot read and the difficulties he faces. A big part of life is believing in yourself, and teaching your child to read is a good way to get him to believe early. You should know that once you have it, the chances of losing it are small.
Next, your child will learn a lot through the world of reading. You can also get them to start early and let the learning begin. I helped my children choose books to read early on, and often made nonfiction books an option. It’s quite amazing what their little brains can absorb just because they can read about it. Children can learn a lot by watching television, too, but there is much research showing that people who read are smarter than those who don’t. Do I need to say more?
I haven’t talked about phonograms yet. But teaching your child to read using 70 phonograms makes him understand that words are made up of parts. Research shows that children who understand that words are made up of parts are better readers. It’s easy to see why your child would understand that words are made up of parts. You will teach them all the parts using the phonograms. There is a Stanford study that links learning to sounds that activates the left hemisphere, which is the hemisphere used by expert readers. All of these reasons are important. I think if I were to rate them I would lean towards this one as number one.
Another reason to teach your child to read is that you will have no doubts about how your child is learning to read. I am not saying that there are not many successful teachers in the world who teach children to read and that there are not many different ways to teach children to read. In fact, I strongly believe that if parents are very involved and supportive, almost any method will work. What I am saying is that you have the opportunity to eliminate any doubt about the process.
And finally, the last reason, which I lean towards as number one as well. This rationale implies the joy you experience during the process of teaching your child to read. You will spend many hours with your child during the process, some of them very challenging and some very frustrating. But in the end, your child will read well and you will have been instrumental in making this happen. When children go from saying all the words to those first words that become their own, it is a wonderful moment. And then the joy continues as you watch them learn more and more words and start reading. You will be amazed at what your child can do once he has learned all the phonograms and starts reading regularly. And it was because you made the decision to make it happen.
There you have it, six excellent reasons parents themselves teach their children to read. Success, confidence, knowledge, words are made up of parts, the certainty of the method, and finally the joy to be experienced. I may not have known why you prompted me to teach my children to read, but I was lucky enough to experience all six reasons and now I am driven to help other parents have the same experience.