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Affirming our Readers

When my now 4-year old was 3, she started to notice that she couldn’t do things her older

sisters could. She would walk around and say, “I can’t do that, I’m not bigger enough.” It would break my heart to hear her say that.

I decided to give her more affirming statements, like Viola Davis did in The Help (You is smart. You is kind. You is important.). I told her she was, “Bigger enough, smartter enough, strong enough, prettier enough, helpful enough, kind enough, and brave enough.”

So, after telling her that so many times, she now isn’t defeated when she physically can’t do something. She’ll say, “But I still bigger enough, cause I am.” And tells everyone in the house she is “stronger enough” while showing her muscles and telling us to “feel her strength.” All she needed was some affirming statements and someone else to believe she was bigger enough to do whatever she wanted to do.

Literacy is a process for children. They are leveled in school and, no matter what educators do to disguise reading levels to students, they know when they are put in the low-level reading group, the average reading group and the high-level reading group. That can be discouraging for some children to be put in a level they don’t want to be identified with. Like Aubrey, we have to affirm our young readers by saying, “You are a reader no matter what level you are in at school.” And we have to support them by telling them they are readers and providing them the space to read for pleasure. Remember, parents are children’s first teacher and you are “smartter enough” to support your reader and teach them all the joys reading brings.

Click here to download the I AM A READER affirmation statement

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