Through the years of educating children (my own and others) I have learned that reading is only one key to the door of learning. Our job as parents is to help our children discover the key or keys in their lives by which the doors of life can be unlocked.
As an Elementary Ed major who was specializing in reading, when my boys were babes I began to teach them a combination of phonics and whole word learning to unlock the doors to reading. For me, it was a blessing that they all really enjoyed the learning games I had devised and implemented, and they were reading basic sentences at age three. My philosophy at that stage in my life was that books were the key to learning, and learning was the key to the world.
Long before our boys grew into their teen and then young adult years, it became abundantly clear to us that our oldest son loved to read, our middle son totally devoured books as fast as he could lay his eyes on one, and our youngest son tolerated them. He loves a good story, especially if it is read to him, and there are some books he finds difficult to put down; however, for the most part, he is not passionate about reading. In watching him grow up, I have seen that he solves, deduces, and unlocks math unlike either of his brothers. He also thoroughly enjoys a good debate, and he loves to talk and relate with others.
Recently a co-worker and I were discussing this very topic. She, too, felt that reading was the key to the world, yet was puzzled by one child’s disinterest. Yes, reading unlocks doors to the world. Reading is a necessity for the seeing, literate world. But, one lesson I have learned from watching my youngest son is that reading is only “a” key to the world. It is one of many keys.
Some doors to the world open through a dynamic ability to talk and reason, some doors open through music, art, drama, or sports, and some doors open through meekness, hospitality, and patient listening.
Just as each adult has his or her own unique set of traits, personality, experiences, passions, and gifting . . . God has also given each of our children their own “fingerprints.” Our Creator formed them with a unique purpose and plan. Our job as their parents is to help them discover the key or keys in their lives, with which doors can be unlocked on their pathway to loving God and being used by Him to bring redemption to a lost world.
How Does Your Child Think? — multiple intelligences