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Literacy in America

Catherine Lowe on How to Promote Literacy Within Your Home

Photos: Courtesy of Catherine Lowe

Catherine Lowe is a graphic designer, mother, reality television star and winner of ABC’s “The Bachelor.”

Studies have shown that the single most significant factor influencing children’s early educational success is an introduction to books and being read to at home prior to beginning school. What can parents do to ensure their child is properly prepared for kindergarten?

Parents should be a team when it pertains to reading to their children. Make it a fun, exciting routine. If we’re excited for book time, they’ll mimic how we treat the experience. I also think challenging a child and giving them responsibilities early on is very important to a young child’s mental growth.

Due to busy schedules and activities, parents do not read to their child as often as they should. How do you manage your time and ensure there is unscheduled time for your children to read or be read to?

We make it a priority to read Samuel multiple books before he goes to sleep every night. We also keep books in every room we frequent so he always has access. Familiarizing him with books and encouraging him constantly makes him eager to read more. 

Investing in early-childhood education can be a powerful way to reduce gaps that often put children with low social and economic status at a disadvantage. How would you advise parents to advocate for their children when they are unable to afford good-quality care and education programs outside the home?

Sean and I focus on being engaged in every step with Samuel. When we listen to him and try to answer his questions thoroughly instead of taking the easy way out, we’ve found he enjoys learning more about the differences, and it opens up a whole other opportunity to teach him new things. 

How do you promote literacy in your own home?

Excitement and consistency. We always give Samuel a new book for an exciting occasion and make it a fun experience. We also make sure we are always reading to him and pointing out things he’d love within the stories.

What was your favorite childhood book growing up and how did it impact your experience as child?

One of my favorite childhood books was “Chrysanthemum” and it was about a little mouse who was teased about her unusual name. She was embarrassed until she and her classmates found out her teacher’s name was just as unusual and then she flourished. It taught me that we are all unique in different ways and that instead of being embarrassed, we should celebrate each other’s differences.

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