4 Great Reasons Not to Worry About Late Readers

Kids aren't cookie cutter images of one another. It's okay for them to learn at their own pace.

Do you have a child who seems to be taking longer than they should to learn to read? I know that this can be a stressful situation, especially with all the hoopla surrounding early childhood education everywhere you look.

What if I were to tell you that it doesn’t matter as much as you’ve been led to believe?

After hearing story upon story about homeschooling parents seeking out tutors for their 6- and 7- year old children because they are not yet reading, and the ensuing panic that often accompanies this, I’ve felt compelled to bring to light the most encouraging reasons I could come up with for the fact that age really doesn’t matter when it comes to “reading readiness.” 


4 Reasons You Shouldn’t Fret Over Reading


#1- Kids develop at their own pace.

How often have we heard someone say this, or have even said it ourselves, only to turn around and ignore this very fact simply because we’re trying to follow an arbitrary timeline of “developmental milestones?” Obviously, there are cases when a child is severely behind others their age and should be evaluated, but, for the most part, we have got to give our kids the freedom to develop in their own time.

Keep in mind that it’s very common for different kids to excel at different things. I’ve seen this with my own children. My 8- year old son is just beginning to read easy readers, yet at the age of 2, he could already ollie on a skateboard. His brother, who is 1 year older than he is, isn’t the greatest athlete, but he did teach himself to read at the age of 6. It’s crucial that we begin to realize that all skills are equal in importance. The only reason so much emphasis is placed on reading is because of the public education system, which brings me to …


#2- Homeschooled children can learn in a variety of ways, unlike public school students.

The reason that early literacy is pushed so much is because most children will eventually enter a brick and mortar school where textbooks are the main method used for learning. Of course, a late reader will face difficulty in this situation and will be given instructional support, but at what cost?

Homeschoolers are free to use whatever manner of teaching they choose, whether it would be through:

  • visual media, like movies, documentaries, educational TV, etc.
  • audio books
  • read-alouds
  • hands-on learning
  • life learning
  • games- computer or the good old-fashioned kind
  • field trips

Knowing how to read is not mandatory for obtaining information. It is simply a tool, as with the other methods listed above.


#3- Children who are given the latitude to become literate in their own time are more likely to truly enjoy it than those who were forced before they were ready.

I’m sure we’ve all experienced this at one time or another, whether with reading or some other task. When your child ends up in tears of frustration because phonics or whole language just won’t click for them, do you honestly believe that they will equate joy with reading? The best thing to do in these situations is to drop all lessons and read, read, and read some more to your child. Not only will this help them to be more comfortable with books, but it will create a lasting bond and memories to last a lifetime.


#4- As an adult, no one cares how old you were when you learned to read.

Really, it’s true. As parents, we tend to put so much value on age-related issues, but, as adults, I’m telling you, no one gives a hoot about this stuff.

How many job interviews have you been to where your prospective employers asked you how old you were when you learned to read? Was it a question on your college application? Essay question? How many people have been turned away from graduate school because they weren’t literate by the age of 5? I’m going to take a chance and say zero.


As you can see, the reasons behind things such as “educational milestones” are often arbitrary and are only in place to make things easier for the establishment. Take advantage of your homeschooling status and let go of all these preconceived notions of what should happen when. You know your child better than anyone. 

Trust your kids. Trust your instincts. I know you can do it. 🙂


Author: Shelly Sangrey

I'm Shelly, a Christ-following, homeschooling Mom of eleven children ( okay, not ALL children. My oldest is 23.) I met my husband right after graduation, and we've been together ever since. Though my life can be hectic at times... okay, ALL the time, I wouldn't change it for anything.

42 thoughts on “4 Great Reasons Not to Worry About Late Readers”

    1. Yes, and with my newly reading 8 yr old, if I would have pushed it, he would have been so frustrated, and insecure. But since he’s standing next to me right now reading a book to me and has been reading unprompted all morning, I think waiting was the key!


  1. If children are immersed in a literate environment, where they are read to and with for enjoyment and purpose, they will mostly learn to read, in their own time. When they have a need to read for themselves, they will find a way. However, they won’t read if they don’t see others reading, see no point in it, and are not read to. Sharing of books from birth, or earlier, is important for growing readers.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes! We see everyone around us taling incessantly about “early literacy” and we forget that we are no longer part of that establishment and have much more freedom to let our kids be who God intended them to be.


  2. Good points here! I talk to a lot of homeschoolers who are sure there is something wrong with their child because they aren’t reading at a certain age. Letting them learn at their own pace is one of the reasons for choosing to homeschool. I would also add not worry about when they are ready for “chapter books.” If they want to read a book with chapters, let them! Letting them choose what they read (with parental guidance of course) is another way to help them develop a love for reading.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Shelly so nice to visit here today. This post reminds me of my baby sister who has been homeschooling her 4 little ones. Today is her 37th birthday! I am amazed at how smart and enlightened they are. She is committed to teaching them the necessary basics but also the importance of loving Jesus. Thank you for sharing these words of encouragement. I know many will be encouraged when they read. I hope you have a fantastic weekend and may God bless you and yours!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much, Horace. It sounds like your sister is doing a wonderful job with her children. Sharing the love of Jesus should always be central to a believer’s homeschool. I’m glad you stopped by, and God bless you, as well.


  4. These are all great reasons! I used to teach Kindergarten and parents would be so worried if their child didn’t read like the neighbor’s child. Children develop differently and each one is going to learn to read at his/her own pace. Thanks so much for sharing your post with us at Share The Wealth Sunday!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I think it is not only about reading only, but there are several other academic fields that are late for children to master. However, it is wiser when parents still encourage children to read since they are very young. Thank you for sharing at Family Fun Friday.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I both agree and disagree. What is considered a late reader? There are a LOT of studies that show that literacy by 4th grade has a very high coorelation with statistics later in life. Something like 80+% of felons read at a 4th grade level or below, for example. Personally, I think its cool that my homeschooled daughter loves reading and wants to read herself. But, she’s 3. That said, at the same time… I think you have a point that brick and morter schools push the textbook alone a little too much, too quick, too often :/

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I don’t think that first learning to read in 4th grade necessarily equates to having a 4th grade reading level throughout adulthood. Most late readers have no problem catching up with their peers once reading has actually “clicked” for them. As for criminals being poor readers- I certainly don’t doubt that, but I don’t attribute that to their criminality. I’d say that was probably caused by a lack of parental involvement, which also could have negatively affected their literacy skills. Since I was mainly directing this post at homeschoolers, I’m assuming that parental involvement is not an issue here. Thank you for the well thought out comment!


  7. I love, love, love this! I have one late reader and I stressed for years over it. He is 10 and just about “caught up” to his peer and where he “should be”… really wish I hadn’t stressed about it so much.

    Liked by 1 person

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