Teaching children the joys of reading (part 1)

Part 1
Of all our kids’ intellectual milestones, learning to read may be the one that worries parents the most. We know that children will eventually talk, if we just wait until they’re ready, and learn their colors from merely interacting with the world. But when it comes to reading, we place a lot more pressure on them  — and on ourselves.
Many parents, hoping to give their preschoolers a critical boost, try to ready them by buying lots of phonics workbooks and computer software; some even hire tutors before the first grade.
Plus, children are now expected to read earlier than ever before, says Kathy Egawa, Ph.D., associate executive director of the National Council of Teachers of English. “In the old days, kids really didn’t move beyond learning the alphabet and sounding out words until age 8,” she says. Today, we start the push in kindergarten.”
“When I first began to teach kindergarten 26 years ago, we didn’t even start the alphabet until Christmastime,” says Carol Schrecengost, a teacher in Stow, OH. “But now I begin teaching letter sounds during the first month of school  — in part because students are learning their letters earlier, but also because parents and administrators expect it.”
Next post: how a child’s brain deciphers words.