Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Reading Readiness

It used to be the norm for kids to start learning to read in First Grade. Now reading instruction often starts in Kindergarten or Preschool.
While some children are ready to learn to read at early ages, others are not, and trying to teach them before they're ready can do more harm than good.
In order for human brains to read the myelin coating of their nerves must be complete and, just as babies get their teeth and older kids reach puberty at various times, myelinization can develop at different ages. Usually kids' brains become ready to read when they're between four and six years old, but it can happen earlier or later. And the age of reading readiness is not necessarily an indicator of intelligence.
If people try to teach children to read who aren't yet ready, those children come to believe reading is something too difficult for them ever to learn. They may think of themselves as stupid and give up trying. Pressuring them does more harm than good.
On the other hand, kids who are ready and eager to learn shouldn't be denied the opportunity.
There is a method that works for almost everyone. I'll share information about it in my next post.


BarbaraB said...

Jan, your study of linguistics is showing. I found it very interesting that a child's learning to read is controlled by chemicals in the brain. Thanks for the info.

Janet Ann Collins said...

Thanks, Barbara. Myelin isn't technically a chemical, it's a fatty substance that coats nerves.