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Reading is More Than an Academic Subject

To learn more about this, read my previous post on Systematic Ways of Teaching Reading.

Something that I hear a lot is: 

“I just want him to feel confident in reading like I did” 

or 

“I just want him to love books and cuddle up next to a book, like I did when I was a kid.” 

For a lot of us who loved reading as children, and have kids who are reluctant readers, it is difficult to see our kids struggle with something that is so inherent to how we interact with the world. 

What I see from a lot of parents is that they want their kid to be able to read to learn, of course, but also to have a deep love and connection to reading. 

To use reading to soothe themselves, to learn new things, to pass the time. We want our kids to have a relationship with reading for more than just their academic success. To use reading as a skill to gain information about something they’re interested in, to use reading to calm down after a long day. 

I’ll tell you something – no one says this about math!!

Reading is in a league of its own and to help our child become someone who values reading, it takes something different than simply teaching reading skills. 

We need to stop addressing reading as only an academic exercise, and really get into the deep and abiding role that reading plays in our lives from childhood through elder adulthood. 

Of course, we do need to address the skill gaps that can come with not having a proper reading education. Statistics show that 70% of kids will learn to read on your lap. As they cozy up with you as you read them a bedtime story, they’re also picking up reading skills. However, the other 30% of kids need explicit and systematic phonics instruction. This is really not done in schools. Some kids just need a different type of reading instruction. Until they get it, they’re going to have a hard time reading because they haven’t yet developed the reading skills.

Addressing skill gaps, however, is really the job of a teacher. As parents, we want to focus on the life-long value of reading.

Similar to how we teach truthfulness, religion, or environmental stewardship, we teach reading by making it feel good, by speaking about it often, and, most importantly, by taking away the pressure when it starts to feel like a chore! 

I hope you are able to apply this and that it works for you. Good Luck!!

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