“I was really patient with my late reader, but now he’s eight!” or, why (and how) to be patient still

Books on Boys Shelf

You were totally cool with not pushing letters at three, four, five. Six? Fine, of course, he’ll learn in his own time. Seven? Surely, he will learn soon. Eight? Why is he not reading yet?

Cinder didn’t really start reading until 11. And did I have moments of anxiety along the way? Hell, yes. I didn’t even, truly, realize how anxious I was, until the anxiety was lifted and he was suddenly reading EVERYTHING. I won’t tell you to not worry–because you will. And I won’t tell you to do nothing and just wait–because frequently, your sanity requires that you do DO something. Anything! And it doesn’t matter what it is–introducing copywriting, say, or using flash cards for a while, or adapting the drills from All About Spelling Level 1, or playing Banagrams and Scrabble with the rules thrown out the window, or posting sticky notes with words on them all over the house, or… ANYTHING–it doesn’t matter what, with this caveat:


And–keep in mind–that thing you’re doing? Flash cards, alphabet letters, early readers? It’s about YOU. Alleviating YOUR anxiety, making YOU feel you’re doing something.

Nothing wrong with that.

Here are are snippets from Cinder and Flora’s reading adventures. Flora’s is, well, boring–and an unschooling mother’s dream. She was reading simple words at three, sentences at four/five, and chapter books at six. But Cinder’s… Cinder’s is fascinating. Have a peek:

“How do you spell nincom?” and other paths to literacy

The Great Scrabble Battle

How wrestling, Lego, and Star Wars role playing all help raise readers

Growing readers organically 

Obsessing about not reading/Not obsessing about reading

“Fuck, the only word I can read here…”

and, this:

Yes, there is a secret reason why I never worry about my late reader–I’ll tell you

Why I never worried about my late reader in pictures, Part II

(Disclaimer: I’m a total liar. Of course I worried about him! But, ultimately, I also trusted–and I saw that he was learning, progressing, and quite brilliant–on his own timeline.)

Do you read Nothing By The Book? The most recent posts: space-that-is-me-my-heart-mind-made-into-place and I wear the skanky dress because I want to are kind of awesome.