In Great Britain, children begin to read and write at the age of 5, in China they begin to read at 3 and write at 6, in Poland, already in preschool, children learn the first letters, as in Spain and many other countries of all the world. In front of them Finland, one of the countries in which its educational system always stands out, there children do not begin to read and write until they are 7 years old. Who does the right thing?
Experts, educators and parents see the difficulty of some children when it is tried that yes or yes who begin to read and write before the age of 6. And it is that many children are not yet prepared, nor have they reached the necessary skills to be able to carry out this learning.
There are children who are curious to read and write before the age of 6 and they even achieve it without much effort and wanting to do it, but let's face it, it's not normal. Each child evolves at his own pace and some are already prepared for certain learning, while others are not. These evolutionary differences are usually paid for by those who learn more slowly since education, in general, is usually standard and not individual.
But what is the right thing to do? At what age should children learn to read and write? Perhaps the most important thing is not to set a specific age, but to know if the child is ready to learn to read and write and to encourage the development and stimulation of those abilities that will lead them to acquire that skill.
Even so, the reality is that, in many countries, children begin to read and write too early, this is not only said by myself seeing the experience of my children and their friends, it is said by expert pedagogues and teachers who affirm that the introduction to literacy is being done when the child has not reached sufficient maturity to acquire this learning. What is the urgency? Why the rush?Shouldn't they play, develop social skills, or learn to communicate rather than make tiles at 4 and 5 years old?
Some experts, such as Dr. Lilian Katz, Professor Emeritus of Education at the University of Illinois who lectures around the world on early education, suggests that if you start formal reading instruction too early, students may children learn to read and write, but if we look at these children at the age of 11 and 12, we will see that those who had a more informal learning at a later age do much better. In addition, it warns that the early introduction of literacy is more harmful for boys than for girls.
A Cambridge University study led by Robin Alexander states that At 4 and 5 years old, children are not ready to begin receiving a more formal education structured in subjects. Learning should be based on improving your skills through play.
Even so, policies, educational systems, curricula of many schools and some parents insist on beginning during early childhood education with the introduction of literacy through index cards. They affirm that children are at their peak of learning and that they can learn to read and write before the age of 6 if they do it as a game.
There are children who have not yet acquired the necessary motor skills to handle the pencil well when they are being asked to write their name, others are not able to read syllables without causing great anguish. They are not children who have learning disabilities, they are children who are not yet ready to read and write.
All this happens in the childhood stage, when they are supposed to be exploring, playing, fostering curiosity, creativity, discovery ...
When it is forced to do so and the child is not ready to read and write before the age of 6, all that is achieved are these 6 things:
1 - The child may suffer rejection and a blockage so natural learning would slow down and make the child much more difficult rather than a happy adventure.
2 - You could have more spelling mistakes in the future due to poor learning.
3 - Feeling of frustration, especially if he sees that other children in the class are able to write letters or read syllables and he is not.
4 - Low self-esteem, a feeling of inferiority in front of other colleagues.
5 - Loss of interest in reading and writing.
6 - Demotivation, either due to fear of not being able to do it or anxiety about the challenge.
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