Learning to Read: Frustration, Anxiety, and Humility

By Jennifer Taylor

Reading is one of those fundamental skills that every child must learn.  It is the gateway to the rest of their education, and we can become anxious when our children do not develop this skill at the pace that we expect.  For some children reading is natural and comes easily.  It seems almost effortless.

As a parent with a deep love of reading, I have found it difficult to teach my own child to read.  For the past year I have painfully worked with my son (painful for both him and me) to help him learn to read.  In the beginning I was overjoyed to bring the excitement of reading to him.  He already loves books and being read to.  Of course, I assumed he would also enjoy reading on his own.  Boy was I mistaken!

As he struggled, I found myself getting frustrated and one day, not too long ago, I had my husband take over for the evening.  My husband, unlike me, does not necessarily enjoy reading and it was not something he had excelled at.  Much to my astonishment, he not only had our son read to him but had him laughing and enjoying the process as well.

You would have thought by this point that I would have been saddened and upset.  On the contrary, because my son was enjoying it which is what mattered to me.  I told my husband that he would be the one to teach this aspect of his education for now.  I learned that sometimes the area you excel the most in is the area you do the worst in teaching.  At least that is how it is for me.

It is important to realize that being good at something doesn’t necessarily mean you will be the best one to teach it to your child.  Sometimes it takes someone else who is not so invested in that skill or area to bring out the simplistic joy that can be had in learning something new.  Sometimes it takes throwing out whatever pride you may have and realizing you just might not be the best one for the job.

For me, it freed me from having to teach my child to love reading and be perfect at it.  Instead, I am able to enjoy hearing his father and him laughing as he struggles through a book.  You don’t always need to be the best—you just need to do what is best for your child, and sometimes what is best doesn’t come directly from you.


Jennifer Taylor is a freelance writer living and working in South Carolina. Happily married, she and her husband have one son. Jennifer believes that each child is a unique individual, and that parents should be able to decide on how to raise their children. She seeks to empower parents to seek out answers and find solutions. You can contact Jennifer at admin@jentaylor.org.

Posted in Literacy on July 30th, 2011 | Permalink | Comments »
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