Family Literacy Day in Canada, I’m going to share a secret with you. Are you ready? Here it goes. When I was a child I couldn’t read very well. I struggled and I struggled. Thankfully I didn’t have to struggle alone!
My parents tried to teach me phonetically (this method usually works). But I couldn't hear the sounds. So they enrolled me in a special class that focused on reading. While my classmates were learning French, I was in another classroom learning to read. There were times I did not want to leave my classmates to go the special class as it made me feel different. Children, or adults for that matter, don't really like being an outsider.
But it was during that special class that I fell in love with the idea of becoming a writer. I remember this middle-aged female author coming into the special class one day. We gathered around her on the rug. She began read from her picture book. She followed her reading by talking about what it was like to be an author. She encouraged all of us to write. She said it didn’t even matter if we could spell decently as there were programs for that. Spelling is important, but that wasn’t the point of her talk. A spark went off in my head. I knew I could succeed despite not feeling as smart as the other kids who could already read and write better than me.
I left that classroom that day feeling better about myself. Self-esteem is a huge step in helping a child to learn to read. A child who feels left behind may begin to act out and may even lose all interest in school. If your child appears to be struggling talk to her/him about it. Let your child know there is nothing wrong with him/her. Please get your child some help (I’ve included some links below). I thankfully got help and I’m now in my third year of university getting my degree in professional writing. I’m also working on a few books of my own that will hopefully inspire children like many books have inspired me.
Another way to help your child to read is to offer an incentive. My parents as well as my aunt, spent countless hours using flash cards to help me read. Every time I got a word right I got a nickel. My aunt even had a treasure chest full of toys that I could pick from. Now reading to me is like breathing. My life would have played out differently if my parents hadn’t taken the time to help me. I would probably still be struggling and I certainly would not have become a writer. I beg of you, read to your child, help them, listen to them, and let them know they are loved. Your children are the future so let’s make that future full of readers!
*To my parents, my aunt Carolyn, and the countless others who have helped me to become the reader I am today. Thank you! My life is better because of your actions.
- Reading Rockets: A wonderful site about helping a struggling reader to read.
- Guided Reading: An excellent program to help children to read.
- Raising Bookworms: For more resources and to read about this fabulous book click here to go to the By Word of Beth blog.
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