Hope for the Hesitant Reader


“HELP! My five-year-old can’t remember her letter sounds!”

“Should I be worried that my first grader isn’t reading yet?”

“I don’t know what to do, it seems like my seven-year-old hates any mention of books and refuses to read at all.”

These are just a smidgen of the frantic posts I’ve read in various homeschool groups I’m apart of on Facebook. They are the fears that have been unearthed in hushed conversations between concerned dual educator-parents. They sum up the discouraged thoughts of numerous homeschool moms like you and especially like me!

To be honest, some of these moms may have taken a page out of my own Worried Mom Handbook, because these same anxieties have swirled round and round my head over the days, weeks and months past.

Well, in the words of the handful of gray haired, homeschooling moms with whom I’ve had the privilege to know…

“Take a deeeeeeep breath mama!! You’re doing GREAT!”

Family outside in winter

For the rest of my life, I will affectionately refer to these seasoned women as MY Homeschool Gurus! And for good reason too. Countless times, they’ve talked me off the proverbial homeschool ledge that would have plunged me into the depths of falsely believing I would be the sole cause for my child’s inability to read.

And if you’re anything like me, you may be teetering the line that may cause you to freak out every two weeks or so as you travel along this homeschool journey.

I know it may not feel possible, but trust the process. Your hesitant reader will definitely pick it up in his or her own time!

I guess I can say this because I must confess that I also have a hesitant reader. When it comes to her reading progress, she seems to be in a different place than other children her age.

But I’ll let you in on a little secret…

I’m slowly learning to be okay with that.

As moms, I think we can be overly hard on ourselves. And then, when you tack on the word ‘Homeschool’ in front of that very honored title, there’s an added element of worry, angst and self doubt that we carry. We push our kids bcause we worry what others will think of their academic success. We stress about them falling behind their peers. There’s times we even fear they won’t progress at all.

But there is hope!

Continue to read good, quality books to your hesitant reader. Don’t shy away from playing lots of games to help her recognize letters. Recite poems. Hang word cards throughout your house…label your fridge, the microwave and even the television. Read the signs in the grocery store aloud. Read nursery rhymes together.

But most importantly, don’t give up!

The best thing you can do is figure out how your child learns.


This is something that will benefit them for the rest of their lives.

Just because you may need to adjust your teaching  approach doesn’t mean you have failed your child!!

To be honest, this is what I’ve had to do with my own daughter.

Sometimes we focus so much on what our kids aren’t doing, we forget to see what they already CAN do! 

I noticed this one day on an uneventful car ride to an even more uneventful place on an equally uneventful day. The repeated way my daughter was sounding out S-T-O-P on the bright red signs we passed on our route made me take notice.


As I tuned in, I realized she was reading

…and not only that, she was reading like nobody’s business!

That day, and the many more days we’ve had since then is truly something to celebrate!!

I learned a very valuable lesson, and it was this:

Reading was already coming to her.

It may have been slower than I wanted…

It may not have been the way in which I preferred…

But the simple truth was…

It WAS coming!

The same is true already OR will be soon enough of your hesitant reader!

Hang in there mama, they WILL get it.

And at that time, you’ll need a new nickname for them. But I actually think the nickname “Brilliant Learner” fits them quite nicely already! 😉

Until next time, keep doing what you do. Your child will be all the better for it!



Published by Courtney B. Dunlap

Christ follower. Wife. Mother. Friend. Writer...and excited to grow! I believe there's a need for more down-to-earth online spaces in which moms like you and me and anyone else in-between can explore the in's and out's of homeschooling free from competition yet rich with encouragement. My hope is that all that you find here will provide just that!

3 thoughts on “Hope for the Hesitant Reader

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