- the Controversy
versus Late Starters
Startersmany parents begin getting anxious about
their childrens education as soon as their child
can hold a pencil. There is a lot of pressure out there
encouraging you to start teaching your children as early
as 2, 3 or 4 years old - friends, relatives, the education
system, etc. Parents who get caught up in this read books
about how to teach their one year old to read, put labels
on furniture at age two, play phonics tapes while their
three year old naps, and spend hours forcing their four
year old to write on worksheets, etc.
Startersthe other side of the controversy is the
late starters. These parents are more relaxed. They read
to their children, teach them to cook, garden, and fix
the car. They are not upset when their child doesnt
show a desire to read until age 8 -12.
school district studied two groups of children from
K- 3rd grade. One group received extensive instruction
in reading. The other group spent the same amount of
time learning science. They melted ice. They observed
thermometers in hot and cold places. They played with
magnets, grew plants, learned about animal life, and
so on. Books and pictures available but no formal lessons
in reading were held. What did the school district
learn? By third grade the science children were far ahead of the
reading children in their reading scores.
The reason? Their vocabularies and thinking skills were
more advanced. They could read on more topics and understand
higher level materials. The reading children,
by starting earlier, used up a lot of learning time on
the skills of reading, while the science children
spent the time learning real stuff. And when they did
begin reading, they were older and knew more and learned
in a fraction of the time that the others took.
(pg. 4, A Home Start in Reading by Ruth Beechick.)
answer to the early starters vs. late starters controversy
depends upon your child.
made each child unique and has given them different gifts
child has a special calling from God. The apostle Paul
said, For even before I was born God has chosen
me to be his and called me
so I could go to the
Gentiles and show them the Good News about Jesus.
(Gal 1:15, LB)
child receives special gifts from God to serve his
family, his community, and the body of Christ. 1 Peter
each one has received a special gift, employ it in serving
one another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of
child is given different talents or skills. (Matt 25:14-28,
parable of the talents)
each child is unique, with different skills, gifts, and
callings, each one will learn at a different rate.
that develop early in one child may develop years later
in another. Talents that develop in one child may never
develop in another. Einstein was four before he could
speak and seven before he could read. Both Sir Isaac Newton
and Thomas Edison were considered poor students in elementary
school. But as we know, they eventually discovered their
gifts, pursued them, and became the successful people
that we know them as today.
the other hand, Mozart was playing the keyboard confidently
when only four years of age and composing his first pieces
of music at age five.
bottom line is start formal reading, writing, and arithmetic
when your child is ready, not when your neighbors
child is ready or even when your childs older brother
or sister was ready.
with children who appear ready early, caution is advised.
shows that waiting and/or limiting the time spent in formal
schoolwork is more beneficial.
Dr. Frances Ilg and Dr. Louise Ames concluded from
their studies that it is
probable that a large amount
of the so-called reading disability cases
which are so unfortunately prevalent in our schools today
come not from actual disability on the part
of the children who are failing their reading requirements
in the school but from the schools attempt to force
unready children to perform at levels for which they are
not prepared. (pg. 96, Better Late Than Early
by Dr. Raymond Moore)
Ames, director of research at the Gesell Institute
of Child Development states that, a delay in
reading instruction would be a preventative measure
in avoiding nearly all reading failure.
Ruth Beechick in her book, A Home Start in Reading says, Too
much pressure on a child can cause a dislike of reading
and of books. The very goal you want the most can be
Raymond and Dorothy Moore said, Waiting helps
children develop maturity and logic skills and prevents
frustration and discouragement.
Griffith, author of the Homeschooling Handbook.
says, The late reader frequently blossoms suddenly
into a capable and independent reader and the late-reading
homeschooler remains an eager and interested learner.
childrens eyes are not fully developed until at
least age 8. Too much close work, watching TV, or playing
video games can lead to near-sightedness. Childrens
readiness for academic achievement such as reading, writing,
arithmetic, and language arts depends a great deal on
the maturity of their sensory systemsvision, hearing,
taste, touch, smellon their motor coordination or
ability to handle a pencil or chalk and to manipulate
small things. It depends also on the development of their
brains and central nervous systems, and on their ability
to reason consistently from cause to effectsuch
as to be able to answer why; to make judgments
of distance, time, and space; and to evaluate motives.
(pg. 36, Better Late Than Early by Dr. Raymond
do you do while you are waiting?
Everything your child learns during this waiting period increases
his vocabulary and develops his reasoning skills. Thomas
Edison was homeschooled by his mother. Her methods were simple.
She allowed him time to pursue his interests and she read
to him daily from the newspaper and from books such as David
Copperfield and The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire.
Consequently, even before he could read himself, he not only
developed an excellent vocabulary but he also acquired knowledge
and reasoning skills that he wouldn't have been able to obtain
on his own.
schools rely so heavily on textbooks, we tend to forget there
are other ways to acquire knowledge. Here are some suggestions:
your child time to play outdoors, play with friends
and family members, play games, do art projects, pretend,
listen to music, and garden. Give them time to see,
touch, feel, taste, and hear the things that God created.
Sign up for Preschool Express's free newsletter with
lots of preschool activities, stories, and songs. http://www.preschoolexpress.com/
your child work with you around the house. Let them go
with you as you minister to a friend, neighbor, and in
a church or community outreach program. Let them be involved
in what you do.
books to them - all kinds - in all subject matters and
at all reading levels.
and listen to all types of music and musical instruments.
Attend concerts, plays, and other cultural events.
games like Candyland, Cariboo, and dominoes.
the zoo; art, science and history museums; and historical
landmarks in your state and throughout the country (if
you can afford it - all over the world).
him to watch a trial at your county courthouse and a bill
being passed in your local legislature.
Ready To Read Screening Tool.
of my other favorite
BOOK OF PRESCHOOL ACTIVITIES.
Lots of fun activities to practice preschool skills.
Summer Activities: Moving From Preschool to Kindergarten
Plenty of cutting, pasting, matching, and coloring
activities to practice preschool and kindergarten
Reader Rabbit I Can Read With Phonics 1st and 2nd Grade.
printable PreK/K assessment sheets.
Book Reading Readiness List
to Teaching Reading.