3 Tips to Raise Readers and Writers in the Digital Age


Literacy is the hallmark of great leaders, social catalysts and entrepreneurs. Knowing how to articulate ideas succinctly makes for a good communicator as well as knowing how to listen and respond to others.


However, the point and click nature of the digital age has been seen as corrosive to developing our children’s literacy; their reading and writing skills along with their love for it. In fact, studies have shown that the love for reading books among children declines after 8 years and up because of the distractions of tween life. 


In a talk given by Literacy Coordinators Monica Lopez Javier and Stephanie Barredo of Keys School Manila for a Mom School event by Mommy Mundo at Ayala Mall’s The 30th, they shared insights on how to tackle these issues. Monica gave tips on reading and writing while Stephanie, an Apple Professional Learning Specialist, taught us about integrating digital advancements to the classroom.


Their overall message was that we don’t need to reinvent the wheel to create readers and writers.  As you will discover, our child’s love to open a book is determined by our own regular habits as readers and compassionate communicators. We need to help jumpstart their love affair for reading and writing by taking the lead with these three tips:


1. Respect is the Word


We need to respect our child’s development. We can be too eager for our child to reach her milestones. Yet, only fools rush in. Before reading and writing, literacy begins with simple conversations about daily life. During this time, we need to converse with clear sentences and complete ideas rather than broken down phrases. And when they do respond, we need to pause and listen for their answers. This process teaches both parent and child how to be thoughtful conversationalists by allowing breathing space to express one’s thoughts. 


As for writing, respect begins with encouraging their attempts at marking and drawing on paper. Holding a pencil or crayon is a wonderful start to making writing a natural part of their lives. Eventually, they can hone their writing skills by helping out with grocery lists and writing letters on greeting cards. These are moments that will show how writing is an essential and powerful part of life. 


2. Be An Open Book


Conversations are key because words don’t exist in a vacuum. Children learn how words are used within a specific context through our varied stories. By telling them our daily joys and trials, we show them that family is a place for free expression. Aside from being their mom and dad, we are also their friends. They shouldn’t be afraid to be honest with us. This honesty comes from our own examples and how we tell our stories with authenticity and compassion. In this case, we teach our kids the value of empathy and how to read and relate both verbal and nonverbal cues.


3. Time Flies When You Are Having Fun


As their parent and friend, our chief duty is to form intimate bonds with our children rather than being their school monitor. As such, engaging with media isn’t about implementing constricting rules of don’ts. Rather, it is about filling more fun hours to learn about the world through reading, writing, and conversation. 


 As their mentors for life, we can have a fun time by learning with our children. They can teach us about gadgets and trendy things while we can share our love for books. The gauge of a win-win situation for literacy is when we forget about the time. When there is less counting the hours of iPad use and more moments of wanting the family conversations to never end, you are opening the hearts of your children to an effortless love for literacy.


About the Contributor

Jan Vincent Ong is an Advocacy and Flow consultant for the Philippine Pediatric Society, the national organization for pediatricians. He teaches mental wellness through the physiological and psychosocial benefits of Play. After work, he practices play like a big kid through improvisational theater, creating art for kids and yoga. You can email him at jvincentsong@gmail.com.