As a mother of three girls, it has been interesting to watch each of my daughters develop into a reader and writer at her own pace. I remember my oldest daughter resisting my attempts to teach her how to read before she was in Kindergarten and then soaring with reading once she entered her first classroom. I can recall my middle daughter writing her name in sidewalk chalk at age 3 without any instruction and wondering how in the world she knew how to do that. Most recently, I observed my youngest daughter moving all the way through Kindergarten wishing she could read like other children her age, only to take off with the skill mid-year in first grade.
All three of my children were exposed to high-quality preschool environments, nightly read-alouds, and a home environment filled with rich language experiences and print materials. Despite sharing these same environmental influences, their journeys to becoming readers and writers were quite different.
In today’s competitive society, it is easy to think that earlier is always better when it comes to learning, but brain research shows that’s actually not the case. Children’s brains develop at varying rates, just as they grow taller and develop socially at different times. Because maturation of the brain influences learning readiness, normal development for learning to read and write can range from 4-9 years of age. However, children benefit from being read to years before they can read or write on their own.
In order for a child to learn how to read and write, their auditory system and motor skills must also be well-developed. Remember that brain development can be enhanced by the environment, but it cannot be rushed. Children often learn things at different paces, and that’s perfectly normal! Visit our blog for tips that will help little ones build a strong foundation in reading, writing and other communications skills.