One mom’s decision to hold off on teaching her 5-year-old son to read has drawn harsh criticism from many other parents.
Earlier this month on Facebook, Comedian Crystal Lowry wrote about all the things she’s teaching her son to do instead of reading, such as “being a good sport,” “how to build” and “how to exercise.”
And while Lowry makes it clear that she and her husband read constantly to their son, many people have criticized their decision to wait to teach little John to read.
“I’ve been getting backlash from a post I wrote about our approach to learning with our son,” she told ABC News.
After another publication ran a story about her Facebook post, Lowry said she received many negative comments.
“Thousands of trolls came out to criticize me without actually having read the post,” she said. “I got the usual ‘you’re an unfit mother’ and ‘your kid is stupid.'”
Lowry emphasized that she plans to teach her child to read, she’s just not doing so right now.
“I was inspired to write this post after a conversation with friends who were disheartened that reading had become a competitive sport for bragging rights among parents,” she told ABC News. “I wanted to subvert this bragging culture and remind parents about all the other things preschoolers are learning aside from phonics.”
Lowry said that, initially, she and her husband did set out to make John an early reader.
“I have video footage of him at 18 months old practicing his letters,” she said. “However, my husband and I decided to change our approach after reading data that suggests early phonics lessons are not the best way to teach literacy, and in fact, could set children back.”
The couple, who Lowry said have six degrees between them, changed their approach after realizing they were teaching John phonics for them, not him.
“When I was honest with myself, I realized I had been forcing phonics on my 18-month-old so that I could brag,” she said. “We changed our approach to teaching him literacy out of concern for him, not out of laziness.”
Despite the backlash, Lowry said she stands firm in her decision. And it appears she’s far from alone in her opinion and approach.
“I have received a fair amount of abuse from people on the internet,” she said, “but also a lot of cheers from educators and parents who are glad we are having a conversation about the correct way to teach literacy to kids.”