Here is full transcript of my talking points on Reading and Parenting which I presented in the LibTalk Conference 2017. Parts 2 and 3 will be posted in the coming days, so watch out for it!
Reading and Parenting: 10 Talking Points
- The home is the child’s first school.
In the story Lizard’s Song, Bear learned from Lizard that knowing one’s identity is tied to a knowledge of one’s home. When you know who you are and where you come from, you will always find your way in the world. Should you get lost or confused, go back home and there, you will find yourself. Once the self is found again, a new cycle of living, loving and learning begins.
It is in the home, as nurtured by the family, where a child builds and forms his or her self worth and self concept. These are two important things that parents can provide and bestow in their children. Psychologist Dr. Honey Carandang, in her book, The Filipino Family Surviving the World (Anvil Publishing, 2008), emphasized the impact that parents and significant adults have on children when influencing and modeling positive values. Positive self concept and self worth develop when children interact and engage with adults in their family circles. Their parents are their first teachers.
Where to begin then? It is essential to always respect the child’s personhood.(Carandang, 2008)
For my talk, I will focus on the child’s developmental contexts and the cognitive signs that are attributed to reading skills. We will use two lenses. Lens number one is focused on the child’s reading growth. Lens number two looks at books and reading materials appropriate for his or her needs.
- Reading begins at home.
Dr. Quenna Lee Chua, co-author of the said book, conducted a study among scholars of the Ateneo De Manila University. It included their families and the variables that contribute to their academic success. This research was done back in 2005.
Remarkable findings are as follows:
- The scholars are successful both in academics and in the application of life skills.
- Their parents set goals and realistic disciplinary measures to meet them.
- The parents are hands-on in helping them develop habits of learning.
- Their parents believe in strong family bonds, self-reliance, and perseverance. Even before Angela Duckworth learned about grit, Dr. Quenna Lee Chua already discovered its relevance in lifelong learning.
- The parents value learning and at home, it is encouraged among the children to apply and live out in their daily lives. Many of the parents who were interviewed prioritize two things from the family budget, food and books. Nourish the body and nurture the mind.
- Create an environment that promotes and fosters a genuine love for books and reading.
My top five tips are as follows:
- Listen to your child. Hold your own truth lightly in your hands and focus on what your child is saying. You will understand him or her better when you put aside yourself, your own dreams for them and what you wish them to be. Your child is yours to take care and love, but they belong to the world.
- Talk to them as often as possible. Keep the lines of communication open at all times.
- Allow them to ask questions. Accommodate even the tough questions that you have no answer for. Discover these issues and questions your child have. Avoid put downs, labels and blocks to their thought processes. Learn from them too. One of the graces I discovered in being a parent is that, I grow and learn from my children.
- Develop a family reading time, model the reading habit and manage the use of technological gadgets. I think this would require another session all together since technology is another variable we have to understand. But, the important thing is, your children see you reading a book, food labels, social media pages, mobile phone messages, billboards, TV ads and teleradio announcements etc.
If you can teach your child how to read different media formats, well and good. If not, leave it to the formal instruction of teachers. Cooperate and collaborate with them. Teachers are your allies.
- Invest on books. And I mean the print book that children can touch, smell, turn the pages over and embrace. The print book has the physical landscape that enables the brain to remember more information. Memory plays an important role in learning.
A lot to do, yes! But this is what parenting is all about. It will be all worth it. Trust
the process. To quote Dr. Lee Chua, genuine learning requires reflection, patience and perseverance. (Carandang, 2008)