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What If My 5-Year-Old Can't Read?

kid readingWhat happens at the start of another school year? The measuring stick comes out and we compare our kids against others.

My 5-year-old can write his name well enough that it’s recognizable. He can recognize letters, and he knows his alphabet, but he has no desire to learn. We talk about it, try to sound it out, but there’s no real eagerness on his end to learn to read.

His new best friend from school came over for some weekend fun, and he picked up a book on the coffee table and said “Thomas in Trouble,” flipped it open and started to read out loud.

Woah, I thought. This kid is 4 months younger than my son and blasting through the pages whereas my 5-year-old has no interest in reading.

We’re hoping school solves that issue, but in an era of Tiger moms, redshirting, and helicoptering home schoolers, a part of me wonders: is my son already falling behind?

I’ve been flipping through the Babble archives to see everyone else’s experiences with reading, and when it started has been. Here’s a list of articles that I’ve been reading.


  • How To Get Your Kid To Love Books 1 of 8
    How To Get Your Kid To Love Books
    Heather Turgeon runs down a list of strategies to help your kids love reading including setting up a reading nook, making regular library trips and reading before bed.

    Image Credit Lars Plougmann
  • 10 Things Parents Anxious To Raise Good Readers Should Know 2 of 8
    10 Things Parents Anxious To Raise Good Readers Should Know
    From not trying so hard, to cutting screen time. This list for parents with struggling readers goes a long way to help us just relax.

    Image Credit brewbooks
  • 13 Fun And Positive Ways To Help Your Struggling Reader 3 of 8
    13 Fun And Positive Ways To Help Your Struggling Reader
    Mommyfriend suggests regular library visits, using apps, running your finger along the page and making regular visits to the library as ways to encourage your kid to read.

    Image Credit Shutterstock
  • 100 Best Children Books 4 of 8
    100 Best Children Books
    Tired of reading the same ones over and over? This Babble List of the 100 Best Children's Books is sorted by age, and reading level to help you find something appropriate for their needs.
  • 9 Genius Ways to Help Kids Learn To Read (And Love It) 5 of 8
    9 Genius Ways to Help Kids Learn To Read (And Love It)
    Ellen Seidman goes over a study that encourages conversation to help comprehension. Talk with your kids about the book, about the themes, what it means, and just encourage overall storytelling to help them love reading. Image Credit Aidan Morgan
  • Top 50 iPhone Apps For Kids 6 of 8
    Top 50 iPhone Apps For Kids
    This list of Top 50 iPhone Apps For Kids includes a number that are good for those to be engaged with reading, including Super Why.
  • Can Kids Be Taught To Read? 7 of 8
    Can Kids Be Taught To Read?
    Sierra Black examines an interesting study that says kids actually cannot be taught to read. The idea is that kids will pick up skills as they need them, instead of when they are forced upon them.

    Image Credit anjanettew
  • 19 Best Read Aloud Books For Kids Of All Ages 8 of 8
    19 Best Read Aloud Books For Kids Of All Ages
    20 minutes of reading a day is what many educators encourage to help grow young readers. Reading aloud is a big part of that, and this list of 19 read aloud books includes many favorites from Roald Dahl, and Dr Seuss.

There is some great insight in those pieces, but really it boils down to me, my wife, my son, and his teachers.

At the first parent teacher interviews last month I brought up the issue and asked when reading would be part of the curriculum.

Not until Grade 1, they said. There is some letter sounding and recognizing in kindergarten, but phonics don’t come into play until next year.

My niece entered grade 1 this year, already reading at a grade 3 level. Nancy Drew, Encyclopedia Brown, are already favorites. She’s not learning to read, she’s a reader. My son isn’t.

Now while I have a small pang of worry in a corner of my mind, the rational brain has taken over and understands the the fact my son can’t read in kindergarten is not a big issue.

Kids have time. Who really cares if your kid rolled over at 3 months and was reading at 2? Things even out in the long run, this school and growing thing our kids go through is a marathon, not a sprint. There will be things they speed through, and other areas where they will lag.

We’ll continue to talk to him about reading, we’ll continue to help him sound out words when we see them on signs, and he’ll get there – eventually.

How old were your kids when they started to read? What tips would you give to parents of kids who don’t want to learn to read?

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Read more at DadCAMP or The Blog According to Buzz.

Get more DadCAMP on Kid Scoop:

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What Do You Do When Your Kids Are At Activities?
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The Biggest Mistake People Make Shooting Video
The Absolute Worst Things About Being A Parent

Image Credit Miss Messie

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