Crystal Lowery’s pre-schooler learns all sorts of lessons each and every day. Reading is just not one of them.
This isn’t to say that her son hasn’t ever seen a book before. On the contrary:
We read him books all the time. We’ve imagined ourselves in Willy Wonka’s Chocolate Factory, and we’re 170 pages into Harry Potter’s Chamber of Secrets. We’re teaching him to enjoy stories, to get lost in characters.
Lowery just thinks there are more worthwhile things to teach her son first. In a Facebook post that has gotten a slew of mixed reactions, Lowery explains the reasoning for her decision.
The mom wrote that instead of teaching her son to read, she’s spending her time teaching him how to be a good sport and:
“[H]ow to wait his turn in Candy Land and not gloat when he makes it to the King’s Ice Cream Castle before his sister does.”
She’s teaching him “how to build” and “how to exercise.” He interacts with his surroundings, feeling the “weight of different materials,” and building his muscles “through activity instead of sitting at a desk all day.”
Lowery is letting her kid be a kid for as long as possible, allowing him to learn through trial and error “(oh, so much error!)” rather than preaching and lecturing at him. She wrote:
“[H]e has seen what happens when he leaves a book out in the rain, or a lump of Play Doh on the table overnight. He’s learning that you can’t rough house with an 8lb Pekingese.”
Her son is learning “how to be creative” and “about ecosystems.” He spends time drawing pictures of fabricated monsters and building spaceships, but also observing how “fauna and flora inhabit the world together interdependently.” She continued:
“He’s learning that the key to happiness is to focus on his blessings rather than complaining about what he doesn’t have.
He’s learning how to apologize. To overcome his own hurt feelings and to empathize with other kids when there’s been a confrontation.
He’s learning how to forgive. To understand that everyone makes mistakes, and that he can love other people despite their foibles.”
For Lowery, she’s not concerned if her son attends his first day of school without “advanced reading skills.” Instead, she’ll proudly watch as he boasts his ability to “try new things without getting frustrated,” as well as the ability to make new friends, to listen, to problem solve, and to focus. She wrote:
“There is so much our children learn that cannot be measured with a standardized test. And though someday his hours will be filled with phonics, and penmanship, and fractions, we aren’t worried about all that today.
Today he has more important things to learn.”
And while her post was met with mixed reactions, the mom responded to the critics with a dash of humor. Rather than writing the post to garner attention for her own family and parenting style, Lowery wrote that:
“I wrote this post to my tiny audience of friends because many were growing discouraged at how reading had become a competitive sport for bragging rights among parents (“My Timmy learned to read at two” type of thing). I wanted to subvert that bragging culture and remind my friends about all the other things kids are learning aside from phonics.”
Furthermore, based on the theory called “reading readiness,” she explains that “children must be ready to learn to read before we push phonics on them.” If they aren’t, they’ll grow discouraged and become disdainful toward reading.
Overwhelmed by the attention and critics lacking in empathy, Lowery said that she’s just going to “stick with puns and fart jokes from now on.”