My 7 Year Old Isn’t Reading Yet

My 7 year old isn’t reading either

The truth is, a lot of 7 year olds aren’t reading yet. My youngest is working on it, but it’s going slowly, slowly. By ‘reading’ I mean being able to read pretty much anything they come across. While we can stumble through a reader and recognise and spell some words, we are not at the stage of reading whatever comes up. I’m going to hold your hand through the doubts and the comparisons, and give you some suggestions for gentle encouragement. No star charts or bribes herein.

Comparison is the thief of joy

A wise soul once said, comparison is the thief of joy, and they were right. Don’t compare siblings, don’t compare your kids with others. Just don’t compare. Repeat after me: Every child does things at there own pace, in their own time. My child WILL learn to read, and when s/he does, I will be so happy. In the mean time, I will not pressure, use star charts, or other fake motivations to get them there.

Read aloud to your child

Reading aloud is not doing it for them. It is setting up the foundation of reading itself. Sitting together, snuggled on the couch, or with a favorite snack, while pleasurable, is also creating a positive association with reading and teaching them more than you think. Not only that, it’s a beautiful way to connect with your child. Children’s author and educator, Mem Fox, puts it so well in her book, and explains how reading to your child from as early as possible (though it’s never too late to start) creates a pathway to successful reading.

Reading Magic: Why Reading Aloud to Our Children Will Change Their Lives Forever Click here to buy a copy

A wise friend sent this book to me as a gift when my children were young and I devoured in in a day or two. I only recommend what I have used and love, and this is one of my favorites.

Drawing, Creating, Storytelling

This morning we have styled some of Flora’s Beanie Boos. While I’m not trying to turn it into a ‘learning experience’ and bust out a work sheet on Beanie Boos, I am talking with her and discussing what we are doing as we play. It’s just a normal dialogue between two people.

Play and creativity are just as important as the pursuits we’ve been schooled to think are the most essential. Art, such as drawing and free craft (unstructured activities) also fill a crucial role in our children’s education. Asking questions like ‘Oh, what’s happening in this picture?’ or “Tell me about this picture” can be great prompts for getting your child to discuss their work.

Audio Books or Online Stories

We don’t always have time to read, so for when we don’t, there are many options for letting someone else read to your child. The good old fashioned CD Audio book should be available from your library. We have enjoyed many hours of lego play with a good audio book going in the background. Check out your library for their selection.

There are also online subscription based audio books like featuring homeschooled kids in their stories about feelings, experiences and lots of other subjects. They do offer a free trial if you want to try it out.

A favorite of ours is Around the World Stories, because they combine a love of geography and travel for me with a great yarn. This is also subscription based, but offers free story snippets to try.

Ask yourself, What IS my child learning

Children learn in so many ways. Pictured below we were learning by visiting a historic site. Children learn through play, through what they see, hear, touch and experience. Giving them experiences (especially the ones THEY choose) will enable them to learn what they are ready to learn and what they are interested in, and retain that information. Do you remember what you learnt about convicts in year 9 Social Studies? Maybe not? Because you weren’t interested.

Think about a classroom situation, with say 25 kids. Reading is essential to maintaining order and a uniform approach to teaching.

We have been led to believe (by our own schooling) that reading is the be all and end all to learning. The truth is, learning happens in so many ways. Think about a classroom situation, with say 25 kids. Reading is essential to maintaining order and a uniform approach to teaching. It makes sense when you are dealing with so many kids that you need them all to be able to read instructions.

We are not school though, so we don’t need to stress about a set age, and because we have the ability to use an individual approach, the impetus to read sooner is lost. Reading can happen when it happens, without unnecessary pressure. From your child’s perspective this can be the difference between feeling left behind or dumb, or just feeling how they feel about reading.

If you do technology, Reading Eggs is fun and teaches letter sounds and phonics. HERE Is your link for a FREE Trial

Two of my older kids have really enjoyed Reading Eggs, and my youngest (currently learning to read) goes through phases with it. There are often sales and discount codes so you rarely need to pay full price. (This is not sponsored – no commission)

What I really want to say is please don’t stress.

Children who learn to read later often blaze through the early stuff and have a similar ability by age 12 to those who learnt younger. They are not getting left behind. Read TO them, play with them, talk to them, take them places, follow their interests, offer art materials and generally just interact wit them as human beings. You will see when the ‘reading light’ switches on in their brains, they will never look back.


This Post Has 2 Comments

  1. I LOVE this! For me it is my 8yo, and this journey with him is significantly different to my eldest two. My experiences and beliefs align with all you’ve written above. One thing I will say is that ability to read aloud and reading ability are two very different things! Even in fluent readers there is a lag, sometimes significantly, in ability to read aloud to someone. I fully trust my son will read in his own time, already this year he is showing signs he is reading more and more…..and we’re doing nothing different other than keeping reading to him, and for him, like it’s just what we do.

    Great post!

    1. Thanks so much for your comment Linda. What a great point to make! Yes reading aloud is generally what we encourage for sure. Appreciate your feedback. Rachel

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