Thursday 9 November 2017

The Slow Art of Learning to Read // Life Lessons from a Four-Year-Old

Patience is not my strong point... it never has been. I'm eager by nature, always ready for the next adventure and the next installment, excited by the buzz of something new. Teaching my children to read, therefore, has always been somewhat challenging for me. It is not exciting and fast-paced, it is slow, steady and step-by-step. It takes time and patience, repetition and investment. The rewards are not to be seen quickly, but rather, little by little, step-by-step, confidence grows and effort pays off, until, one day, you discover your first born, under the covers with a torch at well past 8 o'clock, secretly reading just as you did yourself  as a child. 

Our Ava is now a well-established book worm, but for Heidi, the journey is just beginning. With an imagination that outstrips the rest of us put together, Heidi's story-telling ability has always been one of her gifts, and perhaps that's why she, just like her mother, is finding the slow, steady, step-by-step nature of learning to read such a long and drawn-out challenge.

She just wants to be able to do it!

To some degree, she can already... she segments and blends with ease, but she hasn't mastered all of her phonics yet, and in her eagerness to get on and read the story, she'll often just make up her own thing, rushing over tricky blends and coming up with some concoction that almost always surpasses the imagination of the original.

Our Heidi is having to learn valuable lessons in patience, in perseverance and in resilience. And watching her having to slow down, to humbly acknowledge her inability, to take small steps rather than giant leaps has been a ready reminder to me of the lessons I'm learning myself right now. That sometimes rushing in is not the most beneficial course of action, that sometimes the slow and steady step-by-step approach is the best way to move forward, that biding our time, and prioritising the small things will actually be the way the big things happen.

As someone wise once said, "If you wish to move mountains tomorrow, you must start by lifting stones today".

So as I encourage my little girl to lift those stones, letter by letter, phoneme by phoneme, digraph by digraph, until she moves the mountain of reading, I'm reminded that it is the small everyday moments of motherhood that is moving the mountain of raising children.

The moments that feel repetitive and unseen, unrecognised and monotonous. They are the little stones which move the mountains. And as I commit those little stones to the Lord, he will take care of the mountain moving. What relief there is in that knowledge.

And just as I turn to the Saviour, ask him to take the burden, to bear the weight, to take my small offerings and make them worthy, sometimes my little lady is allowed to hand over the book to her big sister, and just enjoy a good story!

The slow art of learning to read: life lessons from my four year old!


  1. Lovely written and bless Heidi with her reading!😊

  2. Nice post, thanks so much for this sharing!

  3. I can’t move mountains at the moment so this week I’ve decided to slow Heidi and her reading

  4. (Hadn’t finished).... hope she finds it all enjoyable x


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