Teaching Reading: 4 Benefits of Waiting

By Jessica Leavitt


A common mistake made by many (parents, teachers, doctors, relatives, well-meaning strangers) is that literacy only relates to being able to read. This couldn’t be further from the truth! The Language Arts encompass so much more than simply the reading of words. Children should be learning to listen and speak, both in a learning context and in a casual conversational context. Did you know? Drawing is considered a pre-writing skill! Make sure you give your child credit for talking about stories they have heard, for making up and telling stories orally, and for having conversations with others.  When you pay attention to other literacy skills such as these, you will realize that you don’t need to rush reading skills. If you slow down and let your child learn to read at a natural, enjoyable pace, great things will happen. You will both appreciate the added benefits of waiting – here are just a few to look for:

  • Increased vocabulary: Having a large vocabulary is a strong factor when it comes to reading success. Read to and talk to your child. Introduce new words and explain them in a way your child will understand.
  • Increased confidence: Many children guess at words when first learning to read. This is very common. However, it is also a sign that the child is struggling and would benefit from more time before reading independently.
  • Better Comprehension: If you spend an extra year or two reading TO your child and talking about the books together, you will be setting your child up for future success in reading. While you are reading, you can introduce vocabulary such as: character, plot, setting, narrator, comparison, conflict, symbol, etc.
  • Lifelong love of reading: Removing the pressure of early reading does so much to foster a natural love of reading – and learning! – that will last a lifetime

To help take the stress out of teaching reading to your child, consider purchasing HOME's New Teaching Reading: A Stress Free Resource Guide.


Jessica Leavitt is a former elementary teacher who now homeschools her two children. She enjoys camping and hiking with her family, loves children’s literature, and works from home part-time. Jessica supports the Early Learners group for Homeschoolers of Maine and believes in the importance of play for children of all ages.