The Surprising Reason This Mom Isn’t Teaching Her 5-Year-Old How to Read (Yet)
Her son may not be learning to read—yet!—but here’s what he IS learning.
Among the many essential skills children are taught as they grow up, perhaps the most widely endorsed is reading. But one mom has challenged that assumption—and her post has quickly gone viral.
After speaking with a group of mom friends, Crystal Lowery, a comedian and the blogger behind Creepy Ginger Kid, walked away with a new parenting goal. Many of those moms felt that teaching their children to read early had turned the joyful job of parenting into a competition.
Although she and her husband had started to teach phonics lessons to their son, she admitted that they did so for their own benefit—not for his. “I realized I had been forcing phonics on my 18-month-old so that I could brag,” she said.
Since then, Lowery has abandoned her approach. Instead of forcing her now five-year-old son to read, she chooses to teach him other kinds of lessons, instead—including skills in emotional intelligence, curiosity, and creativity.
“He’s learning how to build: from blocks, to sticks, to Legos, he feels the weight of the different materials in his little sausage fingers, and examines the physical integrity of the various structures he has made,” Lowery wrote in a Facebook post. “He’s learning about ecosystems. He looks at bugs, flowers, and thunderstorms. He sees how fauna and flora inhabit the world together interdependently.”
Thanks to her new parenting approach, Lowery hopes her son will one day have “the ability to try new things without getting frustrated. The ability [to] make friends, even though friendship can be a messy business. The ability to listen to others and follow instructions. The ability to problem-solve. The ability to concentrate on a task.” (These are the signs that you, too, are raising an emotionally intelligent child.)
That doesn’t mean he’ll never touch a book, however. In fact, Lowery and her husband read to him often, from Charlie and the Chocolate Factory to Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets. “We’re teaching him to enjoy stories, to get lost in characters,” Lowery wrote. She’s just choosing to leave reading skills as a lesson learned best in the classroom.
Plus, she has no doubt that books will continue to play an important role in her son’s education. “I know my child will be an avid reader someday, because science says reading to kids—not forcing phonics on them—is the number one predictor of literacy,” she told TODAY.