Below are a few words of caution for parents trying to develop their child's reading ability.
Mary Leonhardt, author of Keeping Children Reading and Parents Who Love Reading, Children Who Don't, writes:
- "Don't do anything that will make reading seem like a chore. It's better to have your son do just a little bit of reading at home at first — he'll read more later, trust me — than to have him read a lot, but only when you're forcing him."
- "Some children are very slow to catch on to reading. Some children have a specific learning disability that makes reading harder. Some children have an attention deficit disorder and have trouble concentrating. Some are just immature and have trouble settling down to learn anything. If your child has a specific problem, it's important to get help for him. But it's also important to communicate to him that he can learn to read; it just might take him a little longer. I've had students say things like, 'I'll never read well; I'm dyslexic.' Except in a tiny percentage of cases, that doesn't need to be true."
Jim Trelease, author of The Read-Aloud Handbook, writes:
- "Expect negative consequences if teaching your child to read becomes an obsession. Experts in psychology and education emphasize the importance of unforced learning during the formative childhood years. 'Avoid compulsion and let early education be a matter of amusement. Young children learn by games; compulsory education cannot remain in the soul' was the advice offered by Plato to parents."
- "Another big mistake is stopping reading to children too soon. The older the child, the less he is read to — in the home and classroom. Parents and teachers might say, “He's in the top fourth-grade reading group — why should I read to him?” The reason is that a child's listening level is often higher than his reading level. Children can hear and understand stories that are more complicated and more interesting than anything they could read on their own."