The power of your expectations! Motivating your early reader.

Julie Haden —  : Nov 11, 2013 — Leave a comment

Knowing what motivates your child is important to cultivating an early reader. As a teacher, I am aware of what motivates my students and have a clear outcome in mind. Especially when my preschoolers are learning to read, I am aware of what engages them and what does not, because the end goal is clear – reading enjoyment!

What motivates your child? Is it a toy, a sweet treat or a visit to their favorite fast-food restaurant? As parents, we often forget just how our words, action, and gestures influence our children. It is especially easy to forget this when tired or rushed. However ultimately, your clear and high expectations will motivate your early reader. When you have a clear goal for your child to succeed, you are inherently building your child’s self-esteem. In the end, your belief motivates your child’s good decision-making and choices.

Dr. Angela Duckworth

Dr. Angela Duckworth gives a TED Talk about grit. Click her photo to link to her talk.

Your high expectations help foster your child’s academic achievement and motivation. Research supports this view. Dr. Angela Duckworth studied motivation, and its measurement. She studied kids and adults – including teachers working with students in tough neighborhoods. She found that students with passion and perseverance where most likely to finish the school year. In short, they found that these kids had grit. Grittier kids were more likely to graduate, regardless of IQ or family background. How do we build grit? Building your child’s self-esteem and setting clear expectations builds grit.

“Grit is the tendency to sustain interest in, and effort toward a very long-term goal. It often correlates with self-control.” – Dr. Angela Duckworth

You know this. I know this. However, so much of society is antithetical to making our children gritty. Opportunities and rewards seem to come without effort in the world around us. Many games and TV shows make it seem that success comes easily and deal with mistakes negatively – not as learning opportunities.

roadmap2reading games motivate and provide positive feedback through data that is clear to you and your child. For example, when your child learns a letter sound, the letter begins to glow and fireworks go off. Your child’s play receives intermittent rewards for her hard work and persistence. She keeps her rewards in her treasure box. Intermittent rewards in our games are like a rewards card from your favorite store. You get a reward just because you frequent their establishment and purchase their products. This is very motivating because you get a payoff for just showing up. We want your child to learn, have fun, and be motivated to play. The payoff is huge – your young child learns to read, which leads to her self-esteem and success!

What activities capture and motivate your child’s sustained attention?

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