Notes from An Alien

~ Explorations In Reading, Writing, and Publishing ~

Were You Forced To Learn Reading Too Early?


Some kids are ready to learn to read later than school systems’ timetables. It appears this may produce fluent readers who lack important comprehension skills.

I was recently led to the GeekMom Blog and its post: Reading Readiness Has To Do With The Body.

Apparently, a child’s “…development is cued to movement. These bodily experiences prepare children for the magic found when shapes become words, words become stories, and they become readers.”

The post was written by Laura Grace Weldon who’s written a book called, Free Range Learning: How Homeschooling Changes Everything.

Laura’s post has a number of links to medical source material and includes this statement:

“In order for children to read, write and spell they must be developmentally ready. Some are ready at the age of four or five, some not for many more years. This readiness includes complex neurological pathways and kinesthetic awareness. Such readiness isn’t created by workbooks or computer programs. It’s the result of brain maturation as well as rich experiences found in bodily sensation and movement.”

I don’t honestly remember how early I was forced to read. I was born in the USA in 1946 to parents who were not fans of reading; but, I became an omnivorous Reader.

Perhaps I lucked out–my neural pathways were ready for development and aided by lots of outside movement and challenge.

Do you know children who’ve suffered from too-early reading training?
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Our Comment Link Is At The Top of The Post :-)

12 responses to “Were You Forced To Learn Reading Too Early?

  1. Simone Benedict September 9, 2011 at 5:14 pm

    I was forced to learn to read in 1st grade in early 70s USA. Like you, I must have been ready. Today, I’d be forced to learn to read beginning at the age of three and expected to enter kindergarten knowing how to read. My oldest child was able to do all that and still loves reading (whew!). Looking back, I myself was not ready to read at the age of 3, 4 or 5.

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    • Alexander M Zoltai September 9, 2011 at 5:47 pm

      Wow, Simone, I didn’t realize they were forcing kids to read at three!!

      Since the current “educational” “plan” seems to be to turn out “competent” little workers for the State, I wonder if they’re forcing them to read Instruction Manuals and Job Descriptions :-)

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  2. Laura Weldon September 9, 2011 at 11:31 pm

    Thanks for mentioning my article Alexander! In our area of Ohio, parents are very pushy and want their kids to excel while having no idea what conditions really create eager learners. I just wrote another piece detailing the research that shows children who have highly instructional environments are more likely to have problems compared to children who are allowed the freedom to play. http://www.geekmom.com/2011/09/education-week-educating-too-early/ To me the pressure to perform and be evaluated in the toddler years isn’t just unhealthy, it shapes young people in ways that also are unhealthy for society.

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    • Alexander M Zoltai September 10, 2011 at 2:33 am

      Laura,

      First, thanks for stopping by and visiting :-)

      Also, your statement, “…the pressure to perform and be evaluated in the toddler years isn’t just unhealthy, it shapes young people in ways that also are unhealthy for society.”, is completely true, imho.

      Not only that, but even in adulthood, too much “indoctrination”-time and not enough play is unhealthy

      Like this

  3. Catana November 7, 2011 at 6:36 pm

    I just noticed this post on your sidebar, read the referenced article, and I have to say that the idea that reading readiness is determined by the body is just so much BS. If that were true, inactive children would learn to read later than active children. Is there really any evidence for that? Reading is a mental process that depends on the maturation of the brain. And that, for the most part, has very little to do with the amount of activity the body gets.

    The problem for theorists is that reading seems *not* to be the natural development that we think it is, so they have to figure out the supposed causes of its difficulty. Most humans, for most of our history, did not read. Reading is a cultural artifact, and it’s one that has to be forced on young children because, for many of them, it isn’t something that physical or mental development will automatically trigger. Many people today have trouble with reading and avoid it as much as they can, no matter how they were taught. And then there are the early readers, either self-taught or given an initial boost that gets them going. Those are the readers of the future–and the writers. For the rest, reading is a necessary tool in a modern world, and little more than that. Give them the choice of a book or a television show, and they’ll pick the TV.

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  4. Alexander M Zoltai November 7, 2011 at 7:00 pm

    Catana,

    Thank you for your comment.

    Let me say that the first article linked-to in this post has links itself, to more scientific articles.

    Naturally, the premise of the post can’t be proven or disproven within the confines of this blog :-)

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  5. Chris February 1, 2012 at 5:12 am

    I couldn’t agree more, children in Canada and the US are pushed to read far too early. Their brains simply aren’t yet developed enough to absorb words. “No Child Left Behind” introduced in the US has exacerbated the issue. Scandinavian children don’t read until 8 or 9, and Waldorf Education pushes age-appropriate reading into grade 2 and 3. The last thing you want to do is kill a child’s passion for reading by force feeding them books and then testing them too early. This is setting them up for failure. Do visit our blog here for more on the same topic;
    http://rootparenting.org/public-education-system-pushes-kids-to-read-too-early/

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    • Alexander M Zoltai February 1, 2012 at 5:17 am

      Chris,

      Thank you, so much, for your comment.

      Tomorrow morning, I’m going to do a follow-on post to this one and feature your site :-)

      Like this

  6. Pingback: Forcing Kids To Learn To Read . . . « Notes from An Alien

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  8. Laura Grace Weldon January 10, 2013 at 4:00 pm

    Alexander, thank you so much for linking to my article.

    You mentioned not recalling whether you were forced to read or not. I’m guessing by the birth year you included, chances are you had a minimally monitored, active, and playful childhood. Perfect conditions for a lively mind open to the joys of reading. My father taught elementary school from the 50s to the 80s, and recalled that the early grades in the first decade or two of his teaching career were far more play oriented and open to a child’s unique maturation. I hope today’s kids will soon be free from the horrors of standardized testing and relentlessly structured days.

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    • Alexander M Zoltai January 10, 2013 at 4:25 pm

      Laura,

      Perhaps our Ol’ World needs more Peace in its Institutions and Dealings to re-foster an optimal environment for childhood Education

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