How do you as a parent or classroom teacher avoid setting up barriers for children to read? It's important to engage the reader in the concept that whatever they learn, they own it!
We have several suggestions to make this happen.
Tip 1: Set the expectation of ownership up front.
Tell your child or students up front that you expect them to take ownership of what they are learning. Set that down as an expectation. Discuss it as a class. Share your own experiences with owning bits of knowledge or perhaps talents and skills you've acquired.
Tip 2: Set the reasonable expectation of owning words by introducing a personal notebook.
Grant every child their own notebook. Assure them that it will not be looked at by anybody else but them and anyone they choose to show. Ask them to write their own words. Tell them to cut out words they like or copy words they want to know.
Tip 3: Give out words as gifts.
Write twenty plus words on pieces of paper and hand out to your child. When they ask, help them sound out the words or tell them what they are.
Tip 4: Give every child a place on the word wall.
Save part of your wall space for each child's sentence of the week. All it takes is a piece of tape doubled over. Give each child direction in creating their sentence. Have them cut out the words and put up their own sentences. Intergrate this task with computers by having them look up topics like kangaroos and have them print out pictures from the internet.
Remember that ownership is personal but also a skill in lifelong learning, one we have mastered ourselves.
Robyn Whyte is the CEO of Stargazer Press.
Stargazer Press sells affordable literacy programs for schools and parents. Stop by anytime to http://www.stargazerpress.com