Benefits of Teaching Babies to Read for Christian Homeschool Families (with home video!)
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This post, also on our sister site, LiterateLittleLearners.com, is an excerpt from an upcoming e-book with more on how I taught my babies to read – resources I recommend to save you money, what worked, what didn’t, step-by-step instructions, and more! Newsletter friends will get the first updates on everything!
What is the #1 reason Christians teach their children to read?
So they can excel at college? For some families, this is more important than for others….
So they will be successful as adults? A legitimate reason, sure….
So they can keep up with the rest of the world? This should NOT be a reason for Christians, sorry….
So we can take cute videos and post them on social media and brag? I sure hope not, although I KNOW it’s tempting!
No, we teach our children to read so that they can read the Bible for themselves!
In 2 Timothy 3:15, Paul said to Timothy (and to us), “And that from a child thou hast known the holy scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus.”
Hosea 4:6 says, “My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge”. Pretty heavy stuff.
All other knowledge is good and beneficial, but it takes second place to the Bible.
So, keeping Bible first and that main goal in mind, here’s my list of benefits that we have personally experienced with our children who learned to read as babies, by 16 months and 9 months:
- They have both read the Bible through at least once, more for our older child. Have YOU read the whole Bible? I’m not sure I have, honestly. Yeah, that needs to go to the top of my to-do list…..
- Because they learned to read as babies, I never had to spend time on teaching them to read later. We went right into lapbooks, unit studies, nature walks, field trips, science experiments, art projects, music lessons – all tailored to their developmental age level for safety, of course. It has been an AWESOME use of our time and a huge blessing for our family.
- They read thousands of books before school age, while they had lots and lots of time. They read very quickly and could (and still can!) read lots of books in a day. Now that they are older, other things like music lessons, homeschool groups and activities, chores, and swimming, are taking up more of their days, and I’m so thankful that they had those years to read so much!
- They are not addicted to tv or video games. Not. At. All. They do both have older Kindles that I put vintage books on for them to read.
- There has never been a need for fluency practice because they have always read smoothly (as much as their ability to talk would allow them early on) and with enthusiasm.
- Likewise, there has never been a need for a vocabulary program.
- Their self-esteem is high, but not unrealistically so. Now that they’ve reached the middle school years, other girls (and sometimes other moms), can be a little mean. Our pediatrician pointed out that if a child has something they can do well, whether it’s playing a sport or music instrument, reading, math, whatever, it helps them weather these sometimes awkward years. It’s another anchor in a crazy world.
This is hard for me to explain, but teaching them as babies, taking their ability to learn seriously while they were still so small, and respecting their God-given abilities……well, it just brought us closer as a family unit. It has been a life-changing thing. If I seem enthusiastic, GOOD!
The joy, the fun – that’s what I want to share with you!
I can’t wait for you to see your babies reading!
This is gonna be great!
Just for fun, here is a video from 2011 of my oldest two, reading from the Bible, Exodus 15:25 to 16:10, during school. This was unrehearsed – I just remembered that I should get some video and grabbed the camera. Caroline is 6 here and had been reading since 16 months of age. Janelle who reads first, had been reading since 9 months and had just had her 5th birthday before this video. Please excuse their little brother asking to go play in the mud! (:
This is what they were reading:
25 And he cried unto the Lord; and the Lord shewed him a tree, which when he had cast into the waters, the waters were made sweet: there he made for them a statute and an ordinance, and there he proved them,
26 And said, If thou wilt diligently hearken to the voice of the Lord thy God, and wilt do that which is right in his sight, and wilt give ear to his commandments, and keep all his statutes, I will put none of these diseases upon thee, which I have brought upon the Egyptians: for I am the Lord that healeth thee.
27 And they came to Elim, where were twelve wells of water, and threescore and ten palm trees: and they encamped there by the waters.
And they took their journey from Elim, and all the congregation of the children of Israel came unto the wilderness of Sin, which is between Elim and Sinai, on the fifteenth day of the second month after their departing out of the land of Egypt.
2 And the whole congregation of the children of Israel murmured against Moses and Aaron in the wilderness:
3 And the children of Israel said unto them, Would to God we had died by the hand of the Lord in the land of Egypt, when we sat by the flesh pots, and when we did eat bread to the full; for ye have brought us forth into this wilderness, to kill this whole assembly with hunger.
4 Then said the Lord unto Moses, Behold, I will rain bread from heaven for you; and the people shall go out and gather a certain rate every day, that I may prove them, whether they will walk in my law, or no.
5 And it shall come to pass, that on the sixth day they shall prepare that which they bring in; and it shall be twice as much as they gather daily.
6 And Moses and Aaron said unto all the children of Israel, At even, then ye shall know that the Lord hath brought you out from the land of Egypt:
7 And in the morning, then ye shall see the glory of the Lord; for that he heareth your murmurings against the Lord: and what are we, that ye murmur against us?
8 And Moses said, This shall be, when the Lord shall give you in the evening flesh to eat, and in the morning bread to the full; for that the Lord heareth your murmurings which ye murmur against him: and what are we? your murmurings are not against us, but against the Lord.
9 And Moses spake unto Aaron, Say unto all the congregation of the children of Israel, Come near before the Lord: for he hath heard your murmurings.
10 And it came to pass, as Aaron spake unto the whole congregation of the children of Israel, that they looked toward the wilderness, and, behold, the glory of the Lord appeared in the cloud.
And thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up. Deuteronomy 6:7 (KJV)
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