As parents, we wear many hats. As a single mom of 2, I often feel like a circus clown, trying to juggle and balance all the parenting balls. They say it takes a village to raise a child and I would absolutely have to agree with that. While our jobs as Mom or Dad are all-encompassing and sometimes overwhelming, there are tasks that are a shared responsibility with someone else. Teaching our kids to read is one of these jobs! That’s not to say that we are completely eliminated from the reading equation, but rather that the school takes on the responsibility of teaching them the mechanics of reading, our job is to enhance the reading experience.
So breathe easy – we are not alone. Reading is a big part of the school curriculum and the school does the lion’s share of the work when it comes to teaching reading skills. Our role is to provide them with the all-important first step of reading readiness. Reading readiness the foundation upon which reading skills are built and it’s fostered by the literacy-rich environment that we provide by reading to our children, encouraging them to learn their ABC’s and generally making reading a nurturing and positive experience for them. If we as parents can accomplish this, then we have set the stage for a successful reader to emerge! We plant the seed and watch the tree bloom!
Ideas on How To Foster Literacy
Read to your children every day. I have heard the experts say that 20 minutes a day is the right amount of time, but you as parents know best what’s right for your child. Reading can also be supplemented by discussion about the reading material. Ask your child questions about what you’ve read. What they liked, what they didn’t like. Depending on the age of your children of course, have them come up with alternate endings or have them even change the story. Invite them to draw text-to-self connections whereby they can relate something in the text to something real in their lives. For example, “That reminds me of the time we went ice skating….” Children can also make text-to-text connections whereby they compare and contrast elements in one text to those in another. For example, “This reminds me of the story where…”
Find material that your kids are interested in! This is key to successful literacy and subsequently to reading. Jon Scieszka, teacher, author and founder of GUYS READ , believes that boys learn differently than girls and that we should encourage boys to read whatever they want. Instead of being boxed in to a certain definition of what’s okay to read, Scieszka believes that boys should be encouraged to read anything that interests them. In spreading his message, Scieszka has developed a website called www.guysread.com. GUYS READ is a “web-based literacy program for boys”.
If fiction isn’t their thing, try non-fiction or poetry. If books aren’t their thing, read from appropriate magazines or comics or even instruction manuals. Find something that your kids like. The simple act of reading a restaurant menu with your child is promoting literacy. Even online games, apps and books can be wonderful tools to promote literacy. What you read isn’t as important as the attitudes towards reading that your child develops.
Basically parents, the good news is this….don’t sweat it! Reading is a shared experience with the school. You are not alone. Everything is NOT your job. But you do get the fun and satisfying part – to be the person who encourages reading , supports reading time, makes it fun, and works together with their teachers to produce a life-long learner.
The best part of my day when my kids were little, was snuggling in bed and reading them a book….over and over and over again! Enjoy this time, and make the most of it! While my teenage daughter’s bedtime routine now usually involves homework, Netflix and tucking me into bed, she still loves reading!
About The Writer
Heather is a single mom of two amazing kids. She has a Bachelor Degree in Psychology from York University and worked as a Human Resource Manager for 10 years. After becoming a mother, she made the choice as a lot of moms do to leave the corporate world to spend the days with her children. After her kids were both in school full-time she dove into her passion of reviewing children’s books and and even more recently blogging and writing. She is working on getting her own book published soon so stay tuned. Now a divorced mom, Heather is freelance writer and life coach. She feels she has reinvented herself and uses her own experiences to help others. You can follow Heather on Facebook, Twitter