Today I paid my seven year old son one dollar to teach his almost 5 year old sister how to read. Do I feel guilty? Hmm…
I don’t usually believe in monetary rewards at this age, but somehow this action fit the situation. My son was looking for ways to earn money to buy a new lego set and my daughter prefers to do everything, I mean everything with her older brother.
So when he asked her “Do you want to read with me?” Her eyes saucered and her face lit like the moon. I cannot believe it, they sit everyday and work on this project together. She chooses an easy book from his shelf and he reads the book. My son, invites her to come sit up on his bed and they get straight to work. He reads some pages and then identifies simple sight words. He tries to get her to sound out to her words. It’s not methodical, does not follow any rules and by no means meets any standards of proficiency, but they are both engaged for ~20 minutes each day on this very important task.
I see this reading project fostering sibling co orperation and a sense of respect and commradry for her older brother’s skills. He seems focused on his “job.” He understands that reading is a life skill. Something that one day Allah SWT will reward him for in a way that his parents cannot. On Jummah day I paid him $5 and said on Saturday and Sunday you teach purely for the sake of Allah. He smiles and said “okay”. My daughter asks, how can I earn a dollar? Who can I read to?
Sharda Mohammed is a Canadian born mother of two young children. She has a keen interest in learning to foster leadership, self esteem and empathy in young children. She works part-time as a physical therapist