The other day I found myself wondering, “How did our grandparents learn to read?”

I wasn’t thinking about methods of learning to read, but rather materials.

My grandmother is an amazing woman.  She quilts by hand.  She is one of the best cooks in the entire world.  She tells awesome stories of how she lived without running water or electricity when her and my grandpa first got married. (for like a year!!!!)

All of my grandparents are/were awesome people with amazing abilities.  They grew up in a time of simple abundance. They made do with what they had, including their education.  And they all know/knew how to read.

But the most amazing part is they acquired this skill without fancy programs or books.  Some of them learned through a patient one-room schoolhouse teacher.  Some of them learned on their own.  I haven’t done a survey yet but I’m guessing none of them had an IED plan or Hooked On Phonics.

So- why do people today think that learning to read (and learning other things for that matter) is this complicated, professionally induced process?  We live in an age where text and language literally surrounds us.  Understanding words is part of figuring out our world nowadays.

I have known people who didn’t know how to read.  I am not trying to say that no effort is involved or that there are not those who struggle.  However, for most people reading comes naturally.

It doesn’t take expensive curriculum and thousands of hours of instruction to create readers.  We can’t push kids to like reading.  At some point it should become obvious to each individual that learning to read is beneficial because you have to read in order to do just about anything in our society.

The trick is to wait for kids to come to that realization- and then guide them towards the resources they need to understand written language.

From the Sumerians onwards- people have communicated in some written form.  Have you read any works by Plato or Aristotle lately? (heavy stuff)  Where did they learn to read?

How did Jesus learn to read?  Moses was trained in the courts of Egypt, but his Hebrew-raised brother Aaron did his talking (and maybe some of his writing) for him.  David composed on the hillsides amongst the sheep.

It is reported by several sources that the literacy rate in Colonial America amongst English-speaking men was well above 70%.  How was this possible in an age without compulsory school?

Simple- Reading was important to them.

And when something is important and found to be a necessary part of life, children see significance in acclimating such a skill into their repertoire.

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