My 5-Year-Old Can’t Read

My daughter Hannah is a perfectly normal 5-year-old. She can hold up her end of a conversation, she enjoys books and music, and she loves to play outside. She can print her name, most of the time. She can dress herself and use the washroom on her own, and she plays well with her friends at preschool. All things considered, she is pretty typical.

Like a lot of parents, I still feel anxiety about my daughter’s development. The other day I met a child exactly 1 year younger than Hannah. An adult was reading a book that neither kid had seen before, and would occasionally point at a word. Hannah guessed based on context and the picture, with about a 30% accuracy rate. The other child, though, was clearly reading the words. I’m not particularly proud of myself, but seeing that a child a full year younger could read words when my own daughter doesn’t recognize all the letters in the alphabet sort of caught in my throat. I became concerned that my child is behind somehow, and won’t catch up.

There are a lot of organizations that prey on these parental fears and concerns. Of course we all want to make sure that our children have the basic skills to succeed in life. And so people and organizations step up to the plate, promising to help our children do better. They claim that the younger that reading starts, the better a child’s reading skills will be in the long term. In reading I even heard somebody cite the Matthew Effect as a reason that babies should read.

The Matthew Effect is named after Matthew 25:29 in the Bible, which says:

For to all those who have, more will be given, and they will have an abundance; but from those who have nothing, even what they have will be taken away.

In the context of reading, what this means is that when children don’t master reading by a certain age, it negatively impacts their educational advancement. They continue to fall farther and farther behind. This is because reading becomes critical to learning about many other subjects – children can’t research whales, or ancient Rome, or do mathematical word problems if they can’t read. However, it seems that most educational experts believe that the threshold for the Matthew Effect is around grade 3, not in preschool.

I have no doubt that people touting the benefits of teaching your baby to read are very sincere. But I will admit, reading their sites fills me with panic. If the sensitive period for reading really does start to close at 4, as one site claimed, then we have totally missed the boat and I have failed my child.

And then I came across a fabulous post by BluebirdMama, who is writing a series on her thoughts as her son gets ready to start kindergarten in the fall. Her post, Let Them Play, spoke to me and calmed a lot of my fears. In particular, I was delighted to hear about a study from New Zealand that demonstrated that by the time they are 11 years old, there is no difference in reading ability between early readers and later readers.

Anecdotally, our own family confirms that study. My husband Jon apparently started reading at around age 4, and I didn’t learn to read until I was in grade 1, at around 6 1/2. It makes no difference today, just as the fact that I was an early walker makes no difference to my current walking abilities. The fact is, children develop in their own time and at their own pace, and most of them end up just fine regardless of what that pace is.

Current research actually indicates that preschool-aged children, like my daughter, often do better in a an open-ended and creative environment that focuses on their social and emotional development. If children are interested in reading, that’s great. But if they’re not and we force them to complete academically-oriented tasks they can actually become discouraged and develop negative school associations. If we don’t impose academics on preschoolers who aren’t ready, they will catch up down the line. In fact, strong social skills in early childhood are linked to learning abilities in school-aged children.

Sooner or later my daughter will learn to read, when the time is right for her. In the meantime, we will do puzzles and paint and dance and role-play. And I will feel confident that I am not, in fact, dooming her to a lifetime of illiteracy.

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  1. Jennifer says:

    I cannot wait to share this with my husband. He worries about our homeschooled five year old "not reading" (he can sound out a few words), but feel he's doing just right. THANK YOU for this reassurance!

  2. I completely agree with the fact that the late readers will eventually catch up with the early readers. My daughter was an early reader, could read by the age of four…. but my son who will be four in May.. .is nowhere near where my daughter was at this age. He is just not as interested in reading right now, and I've realized that's okay! I know by forcing him, I could actually make things worse, he has his own development path to follow. In Kylah's Gr. One class, a lot of kids could barely read when they started, and now most of them are doing quite well….my observations of course through volunteering in her class. So I think you are right not to worry…it all works out in the end!

  3. I have no idea if Victoria can actually read or not. I think it’s more she memorizes and that’s fine with me. As you say, kids develop at their own rates.

    Hey, where is your “what I learned in Februay post?” I was so happy with myself getting one done for March 1 😉
    .-= Carrie´s last post ..What I learned… =-.

  4. I have no idea if most 5 years read or not … but I can provide some reassurance that my DD did not take to reading until she was 6 (grade 1). And now she literally doesn’t stop reading. What got her turned on to reading was that she wanted to understand how to play Pokemon – haha! So anyone who says video games interfere with reading have no idea what they’re talking about! 😉

  5. Of my four kids, two learned to read at 3, and two learned to read at 8. I'm watching the same kind of patterns with my grandchildren – one has just learned to read at age 8, and his younger sister who is 5 is quickly catching up. I know other kids who started reading at 10 or 11 who ended up doing well in university. It does not matter when they start!!!

  6. I’m so glad you answered your own worry here, because you ended up saying just what I was going to. Waldorf Steiner doesn’t even think kids should look at a book until age 7 and Waldorf kids tend to be quite the smarty pants, so definitely don’t beat yourself up over it. Plus, think of all the other things Hannah CAN do that some other kids can’t and know you can boast about that if you ever feel the need. 🙂
    .-= Melodie´s last post ..Poll: How Old is Your Nursling? =-.

  7. Oh my God, Angus totally learned to read because of Pokemon cards too!

    Amber, I know that pit in the stomach feeling SO well. Everybody says don’t compare your children to other children, but it’s impossible not to. Other parents in playgroup were marvelling over Angus speaking in sentences at one year old, while I was looking enviously at their kids walking and climbing like little monkeys. I busted my head trying to teach Angus his letters before he went to kindergarten, which usually resulted in both of us crying. Just recently he read a three-hundred page book in under three weeks because I told him he couldn’t see the movie until he’d read the book (and he WAS reading it — I quizzed him :). My kids are also in French immersion, which means they’re taught to read in French, which means English reading comes a little more slowly. Eve reads better than Angus did at her age, but who cares? And I do, finally, reallly believe that. Hannah is obviously intelligent and curious and creative. She will read when she bloody well feels like it.

  8. It never even occurred to me that a child would know how to read before they started school. I don’t know what age I was before I could read. I know I recognized the alphabet before kindergarten started but I don’t think I was actually reading. These “rules” about when a child should be able to xxxx kind of bug me. Often they seem arbitrary and unnecessary. Most kids will be able to read, walk, talk (in the case of my still non-verbal daughter)eventually so we should all chill-ax a bit.

    Hannah sounds like a smart kid and I agree with you that she’ll be just fine.

    PS. I’ve never heard of the Matthew Effect but in my opinion it’s yet another case of taking one verse out of the Bible and twisting it to support a wack idea. I’ve read that verse this morning and I read something different: Take what you are given and do something with it, don’t let it squander. In other words, if you can speak, do so, if you can’t speak, use one of the other blessings you have been given instead. To let it fall unused is the sin (in this parable).
    .-= Marilyn @ A Lot of Loves´s last post ..Cleaning out the Closets and (sort of) Picking up Toys =-.

  9. @Carrie: My post about what I learned in February is going up tomorrow. I usually post it on the 2nd of the month, because that’s how long it takes me to get organized. I am just not as on top of things as you are, I’m afraid. Go Carrie! 🙂

  10. @Marilyn: I want to clarify that the Matthew Effect is not Biblically based. It is an observed psychological phenomena, that basically says a child who is behind at a certain age (like grade 3 / 4) falls farther and farther behind, while children who are advanced at that age move farther and farther ahead. The reason is that a kid of a certain age who lacks basic skills like literacy doesn’t have the tools to learn. If you can’t read, you can’t do science / social studies / etc. It was named after a verse in the Bible, but has no religious context.

    I am no expert, but I think that most kids who would fall under this umbrella would be kids with learning disabilities or very difficult home lives. We do know, for sure, that those kids have a much harder time keeping up in school. However, one website I read actually cited the Matthew Effect as a reason to teach your baby to read. Based on my other reading, I think it was clearly a misuse in order to prey on parents’ fears. 🙁

  11. I’ve never heard of the Matthew effect. I think that there is a tremendous pressure on children to master reading at an absurdly young age. I’ve seen this firsthand working in the NYC Department of Education in the States.

    I’m sure your daughter is doing perfectly fine. It sounds like she is interested in reading, and wants to learn. And the fact that she is actively guessing the context of words is wonderful.

    Like many milestones, reading is the same. I think these developmental books and experts can get us freaked out, sometimes for no apparent reason.

    You are the mama, Amber! You rock!
    .-= Old School/New School Mom´s last post ..Working to Live, or Living to Work =-.

  12. I was a later reader in English, around 9-10 years I was finally getting it (which is when English was introduced in my elementary). I read faster in French, closer to 6-7 on par with my peers in French Immersion school. I often wonder if it was the second language, lack of parent home reading, or something else that caused this delay in my English. Whilst, I can read just as well as anyone else now, being a late reader in elementary did mark me as 'not as smart' pretty fast, and this lead to more and more issues with schooling because I was teased, and pulled aside for one-on-one reading time with my teachers. Had I been in a situation where I was not held against the stick of other children's development, I'm sure this wouldn't have mattered one bit. It is a very interesting topic, because I've been there first hand. While I know everyone catches up, peers are can be very cruel. I guess we all get teased for something, sadly for me it was academics for the most part. Thanks for sharing this!

  13. Hey, my 7 year old can’t read. It’s ll good. She’ll get there someday. I was a slow learner in el. school – I don’t think anyone can tell now. Sometimes, though, I do freak out. But what can I do, tie her down and force her to learn? Then what – she’ll have learned to read, but will she ever want to if that’s how she was taught? I’m going for no. So for now, I’ll keep on reading to her – knowing that she loves books and eventually she will learn!

  14. Interesting! I was an early reader (apparently mostly of my own and Sesame Street’s accord, not my Mom’s) and I can assure you that it hasn’t made me a much smarter person in adulthood. 😉

    But I liked that phrase, ‘Let them Play’. There’s so much stress put on children now to learn faster and read earlier and do all these activities. We need to bring back the benefits of unregulated exploration and PLAY. The very best learning comes from play and experience.
    .-= the Grumbles´s last post ..belly laughs =-.

  15. I think it’s so easy to get caught up in the pressure and mama guilt but from what I can tell the best indicator to later success is being in a language rich environment…and this is where the disadvantaged kids tend to suffer.

    I heard a little anecdote about kindergarten kids who were asked to bring a book from home and some had to bring the phonebook because it’s all they had. That’s going to be a greater indication of the Matthew Effect than not grilling your child on flashcards and such.

    Talking with and reading to your kids is what they really need. Teach them to love books and reading will follow when they are ready. Who wants to have their kids associate books with an odious chore? Not me.
    .-= BluebirdMama aka @childbearing´s last post ..On Finding Time =-.

  16. I remember Hannah being two and climbing a rock climbing wall on the playground that was made for older kids. My kid couldn’t do something like that till she was 3 or 4.

    I suspect a lot of it comes down to interest as well as abilities. You have to be motivated to do something. Mine is very motivated to learn to read, but crashes and burns on a number of more physical activities.

  17. Just to add to the ‘battle of the studies’ here’s an article that my son’s (waldorf) school distributed last month. I mention the source, just to disclose any possible bias! I will say that I was an early reader- I apparently taught myself (perhaps with the help of Sesame Street like Grumbles) and I can’t say that it did me any real good, nor did it do me any real harm. It seems to me that the trouble comes when we start to label and then stigmatize children on the basis of their abilities and skills.
    As long as he’s been around, he’ll sit and listen to stories told or read until your voice goes out, and I thought that the love of story would drive him (as it did me) to want to read on his own.
    When it didn’t, I admit I did get a little worried. Since he’s in a Waldorf school, his teacher wasn’t overly concerned, and we let things slide for a couple of years. There were definitely some rumblings amongst the grandparents wondering why he wasn’t reading like his cousins, etc… but we kept that out of his field of consciousness as best we could.
    By 3rd grade, he wasn’t reading at a level that matched my assessment of his general intelligence and my husband and I did get a little more concerned. This led us to a series of inquiries which revealed he had a visual processing disorder- his eyes weren’t tracking together, resulting in scrambled signals to the brain. After only a few weeks of vision therapy, he started school and his whole attitude towards school, reading and the like had been transformed.
    He’s just about finished with his vision therapy, and it seems to have made a world of difference. It may be a long long time before he’ll pick up a book on his own just for fun, but that’s OK with me.
    Moral of the story for me: don’t get flipped out if the reading doesn’t come early, but trust your own intuition if it seems like something else might be going on.

  18. As Melodie above pointed out, Steiner had a totally different opinion on the timing and the need to encourage a child’s intellectual development (his thoughts on the subject are very interesting, and his bracketing childhood development into three 7 year stages very convincing – I have a very good book on the subject, an Italian translation from German, which if I’m not mistaken should be the following:
    Hannah can’t read at 5? It means she spent her early childhood being the child she needed to be.
    .-= Francesca´s last post ..Timeless & efficient gardening tool =-.

  19. I wonder about this too. It usually isn’t until I see another child her age that I question whether she should also be able to do whatever it is they can do. Then I worry. But I am trying to remind myself it will all happen in good time.
    Thanks for this.

  20. I’ve thought a great deal about this topic and read about it too. I’ve read approaches from Waldorf, Montessori, and traditional education (as I am familiar with it in our public schools here in the U.S.). My impressions of how literacy and reading are handled in our public schools was challenged though; in the fall, my daughter’s preschool invited a reading specialist and community college literature professor to talk with a group of parents about early childhood literacy. I attended, mostly, because I was uncertain whether my daughter’s school was placing too much emphasis on her learning her letters and learning to read (I’d enrolled her at a play-based school). I shared our family’s approach to literacy which has been to explore the interests of our daughter. When she asks about letters, we tell her the letter and the sound it makes. She has letters to play with in the bathtub and on our refrigerator and once upon a time, she and I made sand letters (which I think she enjoyed because she could play with sand).

    What I learned by attending the literacy discussion at my daughter’s school is that approaches to literacy are becoming more holistic . . . and I hope, more creative and supportive for our children’s sake. Gosh, this is such a huge topic. I could write more but I’ll end it here and “listen” for what others have to say. Definitely a great topic worth further exploration.

  21. Kids are different. Not reading at 5? sounds pretty normal to me. I started school at almost 7, so only learned to read then. I’ve always been good at reading, writing, spelling, I love to learn new languages etc – so learning to read “late” (it is normal in Germany) didn’t do me any harm.

    My nephew was able to put the alphabet in order (and reverse) by his 2nd birthday. He was able to count to 150 when 2 1/2. He can read individual words at 3. He is obsessed with numbers and letters. He speaks like a 4 or 5 year old. It’s his interest, his thing, not pushed upon him. My daughter loves creative, messy and imaginary play. At 3 she is unable to recognise numbers and won’t count beyond 13. Her spoken language is miles behind my nephew’s, but she’s ahead of him in physical, and creative play. They are different individuals, both given the opportunity to explore what they like. They spend a lot of time together and still are interested in different things, sometimes in the same game, often not. They love each other’s company.

    Some kids will learn to read early. I don’t believe in pushing it at all, this can be counter productive and lead to delays. A bit like potty training. It’s the right time to learn for them when they express an interest, whether that is at 2 or at 7. Our job is to listen to our children’s interests and provide learning opportunities based on their interest that are engaging. Not to force feed reading et al.
    .-= cartside´s last post ..Time to watch and listen =-.

  22. oh PLEASE let them play!

    I don’t know what is normal for reading. But like Liz, my child wasn’t “getting it” and falling farther and farther behind. (He does wear glasses because one eye turns in a bit, so I will check out the visual link!) In late grade 4 they diagnosed him with a learning disability as well as a clear dose of ADHD. I hate the labels with a passion, but it was the only way for him to get any support at all. Now he is weeks away from being 13, and still reading at a grade 3 level, and his printing looks like he’s in kindergarten! I am terrified what highschool has in store for him.

    Other than his issues with the grunt work of school (reading and writing) he is very clever has excellent language skills, good concept understandings, a great grasp of Science and Math, so I am not worried about how he will function in the workforce as an adult. It’s school that is the nightmare for him, so if his self-esteem can handle the terrible grades he will do fine in the long run!

    (he can read well enough to get by in day to day life, but it is not an enjoyable experience — which breaks my heart)
    .-= *pol´s last post ..News =-.

  23. My five year old wasn’t reading either. In fact, she’s 6.5 now and still only reads when encouraged and still has problems with sounding out words. But Madelyn is a very creative person. She likes to draw, make up stories and games. I hope that someday it will turn into a desire to read and write stories – but until then, I just read to her and hope she develops the urge to read. I have no idea when I learned to potty train or read (never asked) but I’m capable of both and had good marks in school. Hannah will get there!

  24. I tend to agree that being an super early reader isn’t going to make much difference. Playing with recognizing letters and words with the boys is as much a self defense mechanism to distract them (“What letter is that?” pointing to the cereal box, while whisking away sweets or cleaning up a mess) as anything else.

    One thought about the Waldolf philosophy about not reading until age 7. A child of a friend went to a Waldorf school until age 7, when he was transferred to a regular school. Everyone but him knew how to read, making him feel behind and alone (besides the fact that he was already in a new school). He ended up really disliking school from then on. If a family embraces one type of schooling philosophy, it’s important to support the child in those kinds of transitions.
    .-= Lady M´s last post ..Yo, M House Cribs =-.

  25. I’m a teacher, and I have read and studied all the studies. But I have also lived it and experienced it first hand. Later readers do NO different in school than early readers. Children with reading problems or disabilities – that is a different story as they very likely may struggle with reading for much of their life if they don’t get remedial help.

    Not only am I a teacher but I have TWO kids in kindergarten. One in senior, and one in junior. The younger one, who is four, is starting to read quite well, yet my five year old is not really grasping it yet. Nor is he interested in it at all.

    I am all for kids playing and enjoying life to the fullest before they start school. As a teacher a friend of mine asked me if my kids could read and print their name before they started school.

    NO WAY. But you know what they could do? They could put on their own freaking snowsuits and boots!!! Most of the other kids could not do that 🙂
    .-= A Crafty Mom´s last post ..Learning . . . And Moving On =-.

  26. I wondered if my comments on facebook should show here, sadly not. Note to self, click your link!

    Thanks for this blog post.

  27. The thing I worry about, especially since my baby was born in September so the cut-off for school may be good or bad for her, is that very often children get categorized early and then it follows them.

  28. One of the most interesting books I’ve read on early reading is Reading Magic by Mem Fox. One of the things she is really passionate about is that a love of reading is far more important than anything else and making it fun for both parents and kids. Another thing that stuck out to me when reading it was that contextual reading is far more important – because as adults that’s how we read words we don’t know. Well worth the read.
    .-= Zoey @ Good Goog´s last post ..In the Wet =-.

  29. bythtnoth says:

    More troubling, I think, than children who don’t yet read at six are cases like the following:

  30. I just wanted to applaud you on your position and finding a comfortable place lacking panic regarding reading by kindergarten. I have a daughter who just started and she can not read however she is in nearly the same place her two older siblings were when they began and I am confident she will be a strong student later.

    I have a middle schooler and a 6th grader and both are extremely confident and qualified students. In fact one is extremely advanced and the other nearly so. Neither of then could read upon entering kindergarten.

    If you want a great read, research an article, The Creativity Crisis by Po Bronson and Ashley Merryman. (I have forgotten where I found it.) It is far more important she encourage what you have been than forcing them to read. It will come in time and your daughter will turn extraordinary because of all the well-rounded attention you have given her. 🙂

  31. I love this post ! I am so glad you shared it, it addresses the worry all parents feel at some point with their child’s development. I loathe those baby reading programs, like a previous commenter said a love of reading is more important than reading in preschool.

  32. I’m very grateful to have found your discussion on reading ability even though it’s been over 1 year since posting.

    My daughter is turning 6 next week and she’s been in P1 for 3 weeks now.

    Her teacher at school and at her tuition centres had been telling me how she’s behind in reading and can’t even read or write simple phrases. Yet, I see her doing well in her doing her worksheets because she’s using her cognitive ability aka guess the word through context or picture.

    I feel my daughter is creative in many ways and able to think like an adult, no problem with logic and common sense. But her vocabulary and literacy skills is not up par with her peers. I’m frustrated wondering is it because I didn’t give her the right support or is it because she had started P1 too early.

    Either way, after reading this discussion post, I feel much better and consoled. Thank you so much for sharing your experiences.

    Mel in Asia.

  33. This discussion actually brought tears to my eyes. I’ve been so anxious about my daughter’s lack of reading skills. She started kindergarden this year and even though she’s not at the bottom of her class in skills, she’s still not progressing as quickly as she is expected to. My husband and I are very upset about this and it’s causing anxiety all around.

    This morning I was speaking to a co-worker about a new schedule that I’ve created to that I can spend more time with my daughter to help her with school. She asked me if my daughter could read. I said no. She was continued to explain that this is a serious problem and that her three year old granddaughter already knew how to read. As to what level, I was too mortified at my child’s lack of reading ability to ask.

    It’s nice to know that my daughter isn’t the only child out there who isn’t a genious, that there are folks out there that are feeling what I feel. Thank you so much for sharing.

    • I just wanted to tell you that Hannah is now 6 1/2 years old, and in grade one. She’s learning to read – but she’s still not there yet. It was only in the past 6 months or so that she mastered all the letters of the alphabet and the sounds they make. But she’s an amazing and talented artist, a fabulous singer, super-active, outgoing and all those great things. Her teachers aren’t concerned, either. I’m convinced that by the end of this year she’ll be reading, and that in a year or two no one will be able to tell the difference.

      As I said in the post, I was a later reader myself. I graduated first in my high school class of about 500 students, and went on to earn an engineering degree that was fully funded by scholarships. Clearly, the fact that I couldn’t read a book at 6 1/2 has not harmed me in any measurable way, and I’m certain it won’t harm our daughters, either.

  34. im glad i came upon this post. my 5yr old recently started kindergarten and its only been about 4weeks and we got a note home saying that we needed a meeting because there are concerns in the area of her reading. It’s made me start to panic now because i had a feeling she was not picking things up so much.
    i was a fast learner and the only one in kindergarten that knew how to read (with no help at home!). But now my daughter is not like that. So im pleased to see this post.

    • By way of an update, my daughter started to actually read around the time she turned 7. She’s still learning, but she’s getting better all the time. So I can say from experience that kids come to it at different times, and that’s totally fine. I’m sure your daughter will learn to read in her own time, too.

  35. I have just read this for the third time. It is such a comfort to me to see others with my beliefs – that my smart, imaginative, completely non-reading 5 year old will read, just not yet. SHe is the youngest kid in her kindergarten class, and shows basically no interest in reading. And yet! Every other kid her age in our little circle of friends has interest, tries to sound out words, some can read bits and pieces or even whole sentences and books. And I was a mega-early reader, so this is hard for me to understand. My husband only read starting in grade 2, one of his brothers didn’t read until GRADE FIVE!! Both are smart, employed, successful adults now:) I am sticking to my guns and not pressuring and trying not to compare and worry too much. Re-reading posts like this that help me to stay strong:)

  36. I agree and fully understand that a child will learn when he actually needs it or wants it. However, how do you handle the pressure from the school that causes lot of anxiety? My kindergartener is rigid on not trying to read words by making up based on the starting or ending letters. School says he will have tough time in 1st grade if he continues the path and that they may recommend him to remain in Kindergarten another year.

    Suggestions please!

    • I haven’t had to deal with this myself, as my daughter’s kindergarten teacher was more focused on social and emotional development than on academic achievement. So, fortunately, we didn’t face that kind of pressure. However, I can tell you that while my daughter was behind when she started grade one, now that she’s in grade two she’s all caught up. In fact, her current teacher was surprised when I said that my daughter was a late reader. So, in our case, it was just a matter of my child developing on her own time frame. She was faster than her peers in some areas, and slower in others.

      Perhaps you can suggest that you’d like to take a “wait and see” approach? It sounds like they’re speculating that your child may have issues in grade one, but they don’t really know. If they can back off and remove the pressure, then your child will have the freedom to develop at his own pace. And he may be more willing to try reading if there isn’t so much stress around it. If he’s behind later, you can deal with it then, instead of holding him back now.

  37. This post provides such a relief for me because I’ve always held this fear of my little sister (who’s 8 years old) not being able to read at an age-appropriate level. Due to a large age gap, I’ve always felt like a sister, disciplinary figure, and teacher all combined into one. Since my parents’ first language is Mandarin, they’ve always depended on me to teach my sister reading and writing. When I initially started tutoring her, I always went back and forth on how I felt about her propensity to excel academically. This thought was also exaggerated by the fact that many parents love to talk about the latest Kumon level his/her daughter achieved, or how their son could read books with 11 chapters now. Although those are definitely great accomplishments, they also made me feel like I was playing a game of “catch-up.” I don’t want to force my sister to read 12 chapters or write a story everyday because she’ll probably resent me for it and lose all interest in academic work. My hope is that she won’t feel like she’s constantly in an academic competition with the rest of the world. I do hope that she will develop an intrinsic passion reading someday.

  38. Wow. In Finland, where I’m from, children go to school when they are 7 and usually learn to read while in school. I knew how to read when I was 6, but that was not the norm. I think we are doing rather well as a country when they compare reading skills of young people, so this whole discussion seems quite curious to me.

  39. Kristy Tommy says:

    Thanks a lot, these responses has gone a long way to putting my worries to rest. I was really worried that my 5 year plus daughter cannot read, but she can master all the alphabetical letters. Thanks once more.

  40. Kristy Tommy says:

    We really dont need to listen to peoples negativity, all children has a different developmental stages n ability to adaptaion. Lets listen to the positive and encouraging advice.

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  1. […] daughter, Hannah, is 6 years old now. She still can’t read on her own, but she’s enjoying increasingly complex books that we read to her. On a whim at Christmas […]

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