Reading at an early age – Pros and cons

Cons? Can there be any negative aspects for children learning to read at a very early age? Only one, but it’s big; enjoyment! Teachers, educators, and parents should never lose sight of the pleasure of reading for pleasure. If children’s learning processes are advanced enough to start reading at the age of 4 or 5, that is wonderful and should be encouraged. If they need a little more time to understand the decoding process of turning letters and symbols into meaningful words, then 6 or 7 may be the norm for them. Generally, by age 7, children should be reading with comprehension.

Where educators and parents can make mistakes is in reading material. A parent might proudly exclaim that his 5-year-old is reading a Harry Potter book, but is he really understanding it, or is he just uttering memorized words? Reading is not only a decoding process, but a learning process of a cognitive nature; communicate words into meaningful information to process. Then, and only then, can a child begin to enjoy books.

Many people believe that reading begins prenatally by listening to the sounds of the womb; That’s a debatable topic, but most will agree that they begin to gain skills from being read to as very young children and looking at flashcards in preschool. By kindergarten or age 5, it is the norm today to begin organized reading education one full grade earlier than in the 1940s and 1950s. Children will excel at different rates and only through practice and growth development will be able to really refine their reading skills.

Literacy is the ability to cognitively use symbols and letters to create words they understand. They will continue to analyze what they have read or create their own words for others to read. Reading is the most important skill to have in order to do well in all other classes in school. Most young children “pretend” to read for about a year before they are ready. Most children also love being read to, following the pages, and looking at pictures. Smart questions and a good understanding of the layout of the pages (left to right and top to bottom) are important.

Guidance is needed regarding the selection of reading material for young readers. Parents should not be so obsessed with “showing off” their children’s ability to read long words, but rather be proud of the fact that they enjoy reading as a creative expression. It will be a good omen for them all their lives.

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