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Some Children Don't Learn to Read by 5---And That's Okay

I used to think that every child had to read by 5 or 6 years old. I used to fear being “behind,” and I often pushed through curricula to stay on track.

Despite my pushing and stress, however, two of my children still had a harder time with reading. One was diagnosed with dyslexia, and one had eye convergence insufficiency.

The other child decided she would read by 3 years old and now reads books well above her “grade level.”

Had I based my parenting or teaching on either one of the children at that time, I may have felt like a failure. I would have made it solely about staying "on track" and pushed through despite the tears and frustration of my children. Or I may have been filled with pride, boasting about how quickly my child picked up reading and how smart she was, minimizing the efforts of my other children.

Neither would have been beneficial to our children or homeschool.

Each Child is Different

Through the years, I have come to learn how very different each child is, and how much more important it is for me, as a parent to encourage, support, and uplift rather than label, box, and stress.

Our children come to us with so many different abilities, interests, and gifts. God has created them "fearfully and wonderfully" for "such a time as this." It is society that has created a system of standardization that ultimately strives for sameness and pushes some children out toward the fringes.

As parents, we must learn to see the beauty in each child and to support their learning and growth, however bumpy the ride may be. We must learn not to make their journey about us but rather pray for how we may be an encouragement unto them.

We need to be their greatest fans.

Whether our children learn slowly or quickly is not for us to decide. Our role as homeschool mom is simply to challenge them each day to grow and develop the skills they need to persevere. For our quick learners, we may need to cultivate humble hearts that seek to inspire others. For our slower learners, we may need to help them develop fortitude and creativity. Wherever they are, learning will best take place in a nurturing environment, and it will be up to us to create that for our children.

Learning Can Look Different

Over the years, I have also learned how very important it is for little ones to play and spend time outdoors, to explore and imagine rather than solely focus on academics. There is so much more to a child’s cognitive, emotional, and social development than learning their ABC’s by the age of 3.

I have learned that education is not limited to age or manmade timeframes. It is a lifelong endeavor, and it can look completely different that we may expect.

For little ones, learning is experienced through play and meaningful interactions with their parents. Learning to prepare a healthy snack alongside Mom can prove so much more meaningful in the little years than sitting at a desk for formal lessons.

Embrace the unique gift of those early years, and learn to see the learning in all that they do. Enjoy lots of great books together and explore the topics you read about. Read poetry, enjoy beautiful art, sing songs, bake cookies, paint, go for nature walks, and enjoy time with family and friends.

God created children with such an innate curiosity to learn about the world around them. Seek to embrace that curiosity rather than simply check off a box on some list. The little years will go by quickly. Cultivate a love for learning and exploration.

Reading Will Come

When a child is ready to learn to read, it will be so much easier to teach. It’s amazing how much more easily reading happens when a child is developmentally ready. It’s amazing how much more smoothly learning happens when we’re not stressed or worried.

Stress and worry only lead to frustration and make it difficult for us to provide the security our children need to learn and thrive. They are constantly looking to us for approval and guidance. It is so very important that we are providing that nurturing instead of grumbling, complaining, or stressing about what they cannot do just yet. Remember to watch what you say to others.

If a child is developmentally delayed, pray for direction. Seek out resources that can be helpful, and implement them with a hopeful heart. It’s amazing how much our children can overcome when they are loved and encouraged above all.

Your child can learn to read.

It may not be on someone else's timeline, and it may not look anything like you expected it to. But if you're there to hold their hand and walk alongside them, they can get there, one step at a time.

Line by line, precept by precept.

Learn to embrace the journey . . . and all the learning YOU will do through it all as well.


***If your child needs additional support with learning to read, consider my beginning reading curriculum: Nurturing Connections in Reading-Level A, a multi-sensory reading curriculum set up to cultivate connections with God, family, and learning. Find out more here.



Hi, I'm Veronica! 

I'm a follower of Christ, a wife to the love of my life, and a homeschool mom. I am also a step-mama and have an amazing son, daughter-in-love, and three of the sweetest grand-babies you'll ever meet!

I am a former middle school teacher and educational consultant turned homeschool mom and am passionate about Jesus, home education, reading, writing, and seeking truth. I also have a heart for simple living, health and nutrition, organization, planning, and helping homeschoolers walk in freedom. :)

Join me for the journey as we seek to connect with what matters most. 


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