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An increasing number of parents are opting not to teach their children to read before they start school.

When children start primary school, they are all individuals with different backgrounds, upbringings and experiences. Some arrive already able to read and, in some cases, write. Others start school having never been taught to read at all. So is starting school unable to read putting your child at a disadvantage?

All About Communication

Communication is an important part of a child’s development, and reading is just one aspect of improving your child’s skills. Talking to your child from the time they are a baby familiarises them with particular sounds, helping them with their own speech and increasing their vocabulary. Reading is a natural next step, but some parents worry about pushing their children too early.

There is an argument that says that if parents act as if reading as a chore, or treat reading as something difficult and boring, children will develop an aversion to giving it a go. On the other hand, it’s also important that pre-school aged children are given sufficient time for play. Comedian and mum of two Crystal Lowery has taken to Facebook to declare that she is in the second group, and won’t be teaching her son John to read prior to kindy.

Learning To Be A Person

In the post, Lowery reassures her followers saying she does read to John. “Don’t get me wrong, we read him books all the time. We’re teaching him to enjoy stories, to get lost in characters.” Even though they regularly read, Crystal says she has other priorities. “He’s learning how to be a good sport…he’s learning how to build. He’s learning how to exercise…he builds his muscles through activity instead of sitting at a desk all day.”

Many have disagreed with Crystal’s approach, prompting hateful comments in response to her post, but she has been applauded by educators and parents alike. “I wrote the post to remind parents that there are many other things young children are learning besides phonics,” she said.

We totally understand where Crystal is coming from, but in this age of screens and gadgets, we don’t think there’s anything wrong with encouraging your child to pick up a book now and again.

Would you teach your child to read before kindy? Tell us in the comments!

  • I had my kids looking at and interested in books before kindergarten, but I didn’t really push them to learn to read

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  • My eldest had the basics down before starting school but he learnt what he needed to very quickly once he started. I think instilling a love of literacy and learning is the most important first step; read to kids as much as possible and show them you are a reader too.

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  • My first born had minimal reading and writing skills, he could nearly write his name. My second born used to sit with my first born when he was practicing his readin and writing, after starting school, so she had a bit more learnt before she started. I always read to them, but didn’t really push them to read or write before school. I think it’s handy if they can, but as this article states, you could create a negativity toward learning

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  • As a preschool teacher, and a mum, I totally agree with Crystal. Too many parents are focused on trying to make their child ‘smarter’ than their peers. I believe it is far more important to read to your child every night from when they are a toddler; talk to your child and encourage conversation to build up their communication skills; encourage independence and confidence in what they are doing; and to learn as they play. Then they will be ready to learn how to read when they start school.

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  • I didn’t teach my kids to read before gping to school but we read a book together every night before bed time and they would follow the words as I read and start3d yo recognise words.

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  • I don’t know if I agree with this, I think the child will struggle when it comes to kindy if they can’t read a little at least?

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  • My bubs only 12 weeks and I already read to him, I think that is what’s made him say his first word already (mum) when he’s ready and shows interest in wanting to read himself I will help him until then let kids be kids

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  • I just read to my daughter and she was intrigued by the pictures and story.

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  • I read to my boys while they looked at the pictures but I never taught them to read. I would only have done that if they asked me to teach them.

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  • You can teach them to love books and reading without actually teaching them to read.

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  • I didn’t teach but I did read to them because my youngest loves his books

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  • It’s good reading

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  • Kids will naturally start picking up these skills as a result of their parents reading them books and getting them interested in reading. Too many pushy parents out there (a teachers nightmare…so time consuming)

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  • It’s really not necessary. It feels that everyone wants their child to be able to manage all the school skills, before they start school. We read with our son, always, and he loved letters and numbers and learning new things, but we did not ensure he was able to read, write, and do all those things that you’re at school to learn. He had no issues at school and was ready to learn. I’m shocked now at parents checking their babies into Montessori and all sorts of formal learning before they start school. They’re young kids for such a short time… they need to enjoy it before the 13 years of schooling they’re about to experience.

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  • I taught my kids to read when they were interested in books

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