Teaching Kids to Read Is an Epic Mistake

When they tell you about the day your child finally learns to read, it’s always in glowing terms. They use words that, honestly, your kid won’t actually get right away. Stuff like pride! Heart ‘a blazing. Satisfaction!

And they’re right. Of course they are. Generations of kids have learned to read before yours, and yet the first time they perfectly pronounce the name on a billboard, you will preen like they’re the very first to get it so soon. Even you couldn’t have been such a prodigy when you were a kid.

Now here is what they don’t tell you.

This is just the beginning.

Sounds like a ringing endorsement, doesn’t it? The sort of thing that makes you nod, “yes, yes, I want her to read more! She could plow her way through War & Peace by bedtime, and I wouldn’t think it’s enough.”

But it isn’t War & Peace you should be thinking about.

It’s the refrigerator magnets that someone bought you before the kids came along.

Your heart isn’t the only thing blazing when they read the first one out loud, let me tell you.

And then there are the newspapers.

“Ooh, Mommy, it’s Justin Bieber! What’s a love child?”

Um, a child that everyone loves, honey, just like you! Right. That will shut her up. For now.
It won’t, however, shut her eyes or stop the march from ABC’s toward said boring, er, lengthy tome by one Leo Tolstoy. It’s time to bid farewell to spelling secrets right in front of her. And to leaving the mail on the counter or the laptop open.

Can’t you tell I’m proud? I can’t stop boasting . . . but my cheeks are roasting.

Come on, spill — what have your kids read to you . . . and made you cringe? 

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