Mentoring your child to support and encourage desired behaviors
Now look at this example of parents being mentors. As you read, think about these questions:
- Are these parents being thoughtful mentors?
- Are they being honest about themselves?
- Are they judging their child?
- Are the parents supporting the child’s interest or
forcing the child to develop one?
- How might you handle a similar situation with
||LiMing, Yeung, and Chang (Age 3)4
What’s the Story?
Reading is a big part of LiMing and Yeung’s lives.
They both enjoy reading and do it as often as they can, usually reading
at night instead of watching TV. When Chang was born, they asked their
health care provider about reading to him. When should they start reading
to him? When will he start to read on his own? What is the best way for
them to help him learn to read? Now they try to read to Chang every night before he goes to sleep.
Ever since I was young, I’ve always liked to read. When Yeung and I got
together, reading was one of the things we shared. It seemed only
natural for us to extend our passion for reading to Chang.
I think Chang likes reading, too. He helps turn the pages, points to
the pictures he recognizes, and chatters. He knows what is going to
happen next and tells me when I’ve skipped something. He’s beginning to
recognize the letters and their sounds. He has his favorite books and
wants to hear them again and again.
What's the Point?
LiMing and Yeung have given a lot of thought to being Chang’s mentors.
By reading to Chang, they introduced him to one of their interests.
They encourage him to choose his own stories and to interact with them
and with the book while they’re reading. As he gets older, Chang will
know that his parents read a great deal. He may decide to join his
parents in their hobby.
They may not know it, but LiMing
and Yeung are also helping
Chang build his reading skills.
Studies show that, in the US,
more than 50 percent of children
are read to by a family member
every day.8 In these studies,
family reading is related to better
reading comprehension and
greater school success.
Reading to your child also
improves his or her emergent
literacy—the knowledge that
the words printed in books have
meaning. One of the key factors in emergent literacy
is being able to recognize letters of the alphabet; other factors
include knowing the sounds of letters at the beginning and end of
words. Reading to your child improves these skills, which can improve
your child’s chances for school success.