Children learn to read and write as young as when they are 4 years old in some countries. However, critics argue that early reading is not good. But why is early reading bad for your child? First, it could lead to your child developing a lousy attitude toward reading. It can also restrict your kid’s exposure to other developmental activities.
Another reason early reading is bad for your child is that it is not a guarantee for academic success. On top of that, your child may not comprehend everything they read.
So, are there any benefits to early reading? Stay here to find out this and much more.
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What is the Right Age for a Child to Start Reading?
There isn’t a specific age when a child should start reading. This is because the brain is not naturally hard-wired to read in a similar way it is wired to speak. As such, some kids start reading as early as the age of 4 or 5 years.
However, experts recommend that a child should start to read from the ages of 6 to 7 when they are in first or second grade. The reason is before the age of six, a child is usually working on other developmental milestones. Also, at age 6, a child’s vocabulary is usually fully developed and they can comprehend many things.
While early reading is not recommended, you can start reading aloud to your child as early as possible as a pastime activity. This is to help them develop early pre-reading skills.
Check This: 7 activities to Improve Child Handwriting
Why is Early Reading Bad for Your Child?
Sure, there is not enough research to back the claims that the best age for a child to start reading is 6 to 7. Even so, critics say that early reading is bad for your child and for the following reasons.
1. Negative Attitude Towards Reading
Early reading can be bad for your kid, especially when done authoritatively. Your child could feel stressed and overwhelmed, causing them to develop a negative or poisonous attitude toward reading.
This happens, especially when your child has poor reading skills, and you keep pushing them too hard, yet they are not ready. Unfortunately, the negative attitude to reading could increase as your kid grows older.
2. No Guarantee of Success
Unfortunately, your child will not be guaranteed lifelong academic success just because they started reading early.
In one study, the researcher found that children learning to read at 7 years old caught up with those that learned to read at 5. According to the study, kids that start to read in later years usually end up with slightly better reading fluency and comprehension.
3. Excludes Some Developmental Activities
Critics also say early reading can limit your child’s exposure to other developmental activities. When your kid is below 6 years, they should engage in free play, creative art, etc. These activities help them develop pre-reading and writing skills with ease.
However, if you let your child learn to read early when they are not ready, their exposure to these activities can be restricted. As a result, this may limit their social and physical development. Typically, this happens when your kid spends more time reading.
4. Lack of Reading Comprehension
At a young age, most kids cannot comprehend what they read. This means that a child may learn to read early but have trouble understanding the meaning of words. And when this happens, the child can develop a negative attitude toward reading.
However, later readers have better reading comprehension. This is because, by age 6 years, a child’s brain usually reaches around 95% of its adult volume. As such, kids tend to have a significant vocabulary and better world knowledge.
Tips to Reduce The Negative Effects of Early Reading
While early reading can be bad for your kid, there are many ways to reduce its negative effects. These include the followings.
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- If you must introduce early reading to your child, let it be for pleasure. This can help prevent them from developing a negative attitude toward reading.
- Let your child read anything anywhere, such as road signs, food menus, and other written materials they come across.
- Don’t let your child start reading early unless they show a keen interest in the skill.
- Choose age-appropriate books designed for their development level. This will ensure they find reading more enjoyable.
- Allow your kid to choose the book or reading material they like.
- Read aloud to your child regularly. This will help them sharpen their reading skills by the time they are 6 or 7 years old.
- Stop and ask your children questions often when reading out aloud with them. This can help improve their reading comprehension.
- Don’t let your child miss out on any developmental activities just because you want them to read.
Any Benefits of Reading at an Early Age For Your Child?
Not all kids favor an early start. However, sometimes your child may show an independent interest in reading when younger than 6 years. In this case, many benefits come with early reading, including:
- Ignites their curiosity about the people, places, and things they read about
- Sparks more creativity
- Increases their vocabulary
- Improves their writing and spelling
- Develops self-confidence, especially if your child is a slow learner
- Improves brain development
- Supports their language development
Early reading can be counterproductive for your child for several reasons. This explains why experts recommend the right age for a kid to start reading is between 6 and 7 years.
Generally, early reading is bad because your child could develop a negative attitude toward it. This happens because their brain is not ready yet.
Another reason early reading is not good is because it is not a guarantee for success in the future. The good news? There exist some tips to help teachers and parents minimize the negative effects of early reading. Even better, while early reading has several disadvantages, it also has some benefits when executed correctly.