The other night my wife and I dropped our kids off at their grandmother’s at 6:45pm….so we could go out to dinner.
Now our kids are NEVER without books to read or academic assignments to do. In fact we take this *precaution* most especially when it’s a babysitting situation. Why?
Well it does make the sitter’s job a whole lot easier but mostly because we like to guard against 3rd parties plopping our kids in front of a television!
On his way out the car door I pointedly instructed my son to start some of the second Fablehaven book – Rise of the Evening Star.
Anyways, we returned 2.5 hours later and upon entering the car John announced the he had read the entire book – some 435 pages! – while we were at dinner.
Now realize that things like this happen all the time. My 7.75 year old son has already read more books than I have read in my entire life.
And this is strictly because we made reading a, if not THE, priority when he was young. It’s just how humans work – we get good at something and that competence breeds a self-reinforcing cycle of increasing confidence and enjoyment.
In my estimation, 95% of children who are educated in conventional group settings HATE to read. Why exactly is that?
Well because most of their reading is *assigned*. Yeah, they do get to read some good works of literature that theoretically could turn them on to bibliophilia…but not nearly enough. When I was in 8th grade, we did one book report PER MONTH.
Also, despite reading a few good books here and there, everyday mass-educated students are forced to read textbooks – horrible, horrible textbooks.
Those of us who educate ours outside this system avoid these shallow, *dead* textbooks like the plague.
Instead we read a ton of classics and a ton of biographies (“living books“).
I can think of no better time spent than a parent teaching their young child to read. The sooner the better.
And if they struggle….don’t quit. Keep pushing onward no matter what. Never make the cardinal parental mistake of confusing tears for blood! Trust me, once they *get it* they will be off and running. A child or adult who can’t/doesn’t read (aliterate) subsists in a very small, dull world.
Even worse, a child who doesn’t read will LAG their peers in myriad ways – especially in their capacity for self-entertainment.