All children are different!

Being a mother of four children, one would expect that I would know by the third child that learning to read for them would be easy and it would not cause so much angst but each child is different. They all have different personalities, likes, dislikes and thus why not different learning styles.

My first child was hard work and I mean hard work! He was a typical boy did not want to sit and learn how to read sight words.  This meant I had to spend so much time and loss of hair getting him to sit down and learn to read. I also was fortunate to have a mum who only had one child and was very eager to do posters with the sight words laminated with sticky dots so we can add them to the poster or play games with. I had a new born baby and learning sight words was like Chinese torture for both he and I.

Miss R taught herself to read and before she started school she was reading basic books and was able to spell all 200 sight words.  She even found sentence construction easy. She was like the character Matilda, in the book Matilda, by Roald Dahl but we were not like that family!

Miss S started school in a different state and missed the crucial year of schooling where sight words and sounding out starts. She is now in year 5 and I still believe she struggles, even though the teachers say she is fine.

Miss M is similar to Miss R and reads with fluency and expression, she is only 8 and my husband and I believe she is the better reader of all four. She also enjoys reading and will be found most times when not playing with her nose in a book.

Now, all four can read but all learnt to read in different ways and now Mr L is the bookworm and is very precious about the care of his books.

So, what is the best way to teach a child to read? Should we be teaching them sight words before they start school, so as they have the advantage over other little ones? Is reading early a sign of intelligence? When is the best time to start reading to your children? Do you need to read yourself to model reading behaviours? What are the better books that children should read? Are some books better than others? Should we encourage or discourage our children to have access to these; classics, modern literature, e-books, audio books, comics and graphic novels?

I hope this can stimulate discussion and ideas to ensure a passion of mine will be a passion of many in the future generations.



Filed under Early & Emergent Readers, General thoughts, Pre-Readers (Snuggle Books), Proficient Readers, Reading Programs, Reluctant Reader

3 responses to “All children are different!

  1. Lisa Frankel

    Hi Michelle, a very powerful insight, my son is 2 and is starting to become interested in books and reading and now comes to me and asks me to read and he will sit and listen to the whole story and afterwards we will go through and look at the pictures and I’ll talk about what’s happening or ask him to tell me what he thinks is happening or who a character is. In saying this Jack had an early start when it came to reading.

    Jack was born was a unilateral upper left cleft lip, which was repaired when he was five months old – in saying this we didn’t know if his speech would be affected at all so being a qualified Primary School Teacher with experience in early childhood I made sure that everyone in our family didn’t use any baby talk – and to make sure we annunciated correctly. I also made sure that if I wanted to give him directions or ask him a question I would get down on his level and talk to him not at him.

    We started on flash cards with pictures at about 1 year old – so he can use a variety of words and recognise things in everyday life.

    When we went to the speech pathologist last year from testing him she has found that the cleft lip doesn’t affect his speech in the slightest (Which is lucky) and that he is very advanced for his age – he is making sounds that a four or five year old would normally make and he is talking in complete sentences – sometimes when he does this it sounds like baby babble because there are still some sounds he has trouble with and one word will jumble into the next but you ask him to say it again and he knows to slow down – and can count on by himself.

    Jack loves looking at pictures and enjoys the flashcards and I’m happy to say loves to hear me read – I’m hoping that when he gets a little older I can start some of his education at home. Having the Bachelor of Education has its advantages.

    Your post also reminded me of something that I have previously learnt about reading and that is the two most recognised forms of teaching children to read: The Top-Down Theory and The Bottom-Up Theory.

    For more information on this I have attached a link:

    Thanks for the great read.



    • Wow Lisa, your son Jack at two is an amazing reflection of you as a great mother. I love that he enjoys his special time with you, reading and snuggling. That is what books are all about, connecting with others and through books our children develop and learn so much. My youngest child had speech issues and I believed, as it is known to be hereditary and that I read lots with her, it would dissipate in time but I was advised to see a speech therapist the year before she started school. She had to learn how to use her tongue to make the correct sounds and this involved games with pictures and words. I truly think that due to this she is a better reader, fluency and expression, with a great reading voice than even the older kids.
      I think the earlier we engage children in the love of reading and books the better.
      Thanks for the link will look at it once I get a chance to really read it properly xxx


  2. Reblogged this on Lisa F: Poet Extraordinaire: of the Novice Kind! and commented:
    This is soemthing I wanted to share – a brilliant post from Michelle. Before we can foster a love of writing and feeling poetry lets foster a love of literature in general…. D.E.A.R!


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