Crystal Lowery is a mother and a comedian who has a seriously outside of the box approach to educating her pre-schooler son. She controversially decided not to teach her son to read. She let the world know about her approach in a now infamous Facebook post, which has drawn criticism from many. She finally responded to all the backlash.
She and her husband are “not teaching him how to read. Not just yet. He’s too busy learning other things.” Crystal emphasizes learning by experience, like teaching him to build things from all sorts of different materials. Her son also exercises. He apparently “chases the dog, plays tag, climbs on playground equipment, dances (well), and practices karate (poorly).” To compliment his physical learning, he learned how to apologize, how to be patient, and how to count his blessings.
Many have trolled her or at the very least humbly criticized this decision, saying that what she is doing qualifies as abuse, or simply insulting the intelligence of her son. Lowery and her husband did not ban books, though, they actually read constantly to their kid, saying, “we’re 170 pages into Harry Potter’s Chamber of Secrets. We’re teaching him to enjoy stories, to get lost in characters.”
She finally responded to the waves of criticism. The post was written, she says, after she became, “disheartened that reading had become a competitive sport for bragging rights among parents.” Lowery says she was simply trying to remind other parents of other aspects of learning, “aside from phonics.”
It wasn’t like Crystal didn’t try. She did have her son learning the A-B-C’s when he was just a year and a half old. But she decided to alter her strategy when she read, “data that suggests early phonics lessons are not the best way to teach literacy, and in fact, could set children back.”
Her approach is not as outlandish as it first seemed. In fact, no matter who is correct, it’s important to have a friendly debate about the merits of different styles of education- that way, we’ll find the best one.