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Do all kids read by the beginning of second grade??

This is hard for me to admit, much less put it into writing. It makes me feel vulnerable, but here I go.

My second grader is struggling with reading. When we do phonics or attempt to read together, he immediately gets uptight and starts to fidget. It’s like he convinced himself that reading is too hard. Reading is not his thing; he is more drawn to science and math (like his daddy, not mommy).

It’s frustrating. I feel responsible for his lack of reading skills, because I’m his primary teacher. With homeschooling it’s so easy to blame yourself when things don’t go well; and easy to take for granted when things do go right.

When I wrote this post yesterday, I asked Elliot to write something (about his favorite season) for a new spelling book we started this school year. He asked why the following page was blank unlike the previous pages. When I told him (in a very uplifting tone…or so I thought) he could write whatever he wanted any way he wanted, he burst into tears.

I almost cried with him; my heart hurt. I could sense his frustration and fear. After a long talk reassuring him that learning is hard, no matter your age or subject, and praying together that God would give him courage to try and to learn from his mistakes, he decided to give it a try.

With the time set for 10 minutes as advised by the Instructor’s Manual he started to write some words down. He used inventive spelling. When I looked over his work later, I so wanted to correct the errors and ask him to write in complete sentences.


I had to look at the bigger picture and think long-term. I overlooked the errors and instead praised him for working on this challenge. This was not an auspicious time for that discussion. He softly asked me if all his words were wrong. I said it was okay. There’s always the next lesson and plenty of opportunities to improve.

Second grade started less than a month ago, and here I am freaking out that he’s not a fluent reader. Being a teacher is not only about teaching but building up my student (my kid) to become a confident, persevering, and thoughtful learner. There’s a lot of learning for me too: learning to teach according to his interests, pacing ourselves, and respecting his learning style.

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Welcome to my blog! My name is Esther and I'm so happy you are here. I'm an avid nature photographer and a daydreaming thinker. My posts revolve around photos of nature's beauty, homeschooling adventures with my 2 kids, sporadic reflections on my child's heart condition, Bible reading reflections, gardening feats, and other mish mash things. Hopefully you'll leave encouraged, pensive, or smiling at the simple things of life. Thank you for stopping by and hope you'll find some interesting posts to read!

6 replies

  1. Always remember everybody learns differently. I am not that great with printed learning. I learn more by example. I fully understand him needing to read but is there an underlying reason. I have 2 boys with ADD/ADHD and learning was a real challenge. We found that headphones with soft slow music was helpful. You will find the magic button, just hang in there. And as I am sure you always do, let him know of your love.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you for the encouragement and for sharing your experience!! It’s reassuring to know that others have experienced learning hardships and have overcome them
      In answering your question, no, there is no pressing reason that he needs to be able to read now. It’s so bad, but other kids his age are reading and I feel the pressure. Really, I need to get a grip and appreciate his pace.
      Thank you for sharing your wisdom!! Every learner needs time to fit the puzzle together in their minds.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. By the way, both of my boys are grown with families of their own. One was Valedictorian of his class and now work on jet engines and the other is an executive chef. They will figure out how to learn for themselves when they find a passion they believe in.


    1. What a great story!! I’m so happy to hear that your sons have achieved success, found their passions, and have overcome their learning difficulties. What a proud achievement for you too in walking with them through their challenges. Go mama!!! Empowering indeed!!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. You’re doing great, and he is, too. I can tell you based on my own observations at A’s school that not every child is reading well by second grade. In fact, probably about half her class got additional literacy instruction from tutors last year in first grade. He’ll get there and do well in his own time. (It makes me think of potty training. There’s this weird pressure to do it by a certain time, but ultimately the child will do it best when he or she is ready, right?). You’re an amazing teacher and a great mom. Your kiddos are lucky to have you!


    1. Thanks for the encouragement and support!!! I’m learning too in the process that hitting certain milestones happen all at different times for kids. Potty training is a great example. Learning to embrace individuality and differing time frames. I put more pressure on myself because I’m their teacher…it’s a bad cycle. Thank you for sharing your insight with me and for your motivating words!! You are too kind. Hugs!!


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