At the age of four, Emily Sauer, of Chanhassen, has already read over 1,000 books. Educators encourage parents to get their children reading at an early age for many beneficial reasons.
Kristyn Haberkorn was a first-grade teacher for nine years. When she started a home daycare program, she naturally promoted literacy to the young children.
The children would start out with simple books and as they learned the difficulty would increase. She also had the children do writing activities because it applies what they’re learning about while reading, she added.
Soon, Haberkorn started sharing the concept with people who weren’t in her daycare and coined her business, Learning To Read By Reading. That was about 15 years ago. Now, she is a sixth-grade teacher and continues to help children with their literacy.
“Every single child that learns to read is a success,” Haberkorn said.
Haberkorn is based in Cannon Falls. For some students, she tutors them in her home or theirs. For other students who live farther away, such as Emily, she sends books in the mail and coaches their parents on how to promote good literacy skills.
Haberkorn typically works with children ages 3-5 years old. In her experience she has seen that having the skill of reading as children enter kindergarten is beneficial. She works mostly with children from Minnesota but has had clients from Wisconsin and as far away as Georgia.
“It instills a lot of confidence in children. When they get to school, they already believe that they are readers,” Haberkorn said.
Emily’s mom Amy Sauer started her oldest son Aiden Gergen in the Learning To Read by Reading program because he was in Haberkorn’s daycare. Her other two sons Noah Gergen and Tate Sauer also participated in it.
For Amy, it was important to encourage reading early in her children’s lives. Starting early gives them a solid head start and gives them confidence, she said. It’s great for them to go into the school environment with a solid foundation.
“Learning To Read By Reading makes a huge difference with helping the whole learning process,” Amy said. “It’s an awesome opportunity to give success to your children.”
Emily began reading just shy of turning 3-years-old. Some of the books that she enjoys the most include humor or are about family or animals, Amy said. Haberkorn estimates she is now reading at a kindergarten to early first grade level.
The program has gone beyond learning, in Amy’s opinion. It even enhances the relationship between parent and child, she said. Now, when they’re driving down the highway they can read signs and play the alphabet game. She and her husband can snuggle on the couch with Emily as she reads her books.
“She’s confident,” Amy said. “She knows she’s a reader.”
Through her time with the program, Emily goes through times when she’s very motivated to read and others when she is less inclined. That probably has to do with their routine and structure, Amy said. When Emily is in the routine of reading everyday it’s just normal and not a question, she added.
According to Amy, Haberkorn’s tutoring is a great asset. She knows what she’s talking about, is tuned into children and how they learn and knows how parents can work with their children. Working with Haberkorn remotely is “like a best kept secret,” she said.
Helping children read is something Haberkorn is passionate about. She cares about literacy in the world and has had a lot of success with seeing children learn to read. If she can make a difference and promote reading early, that’s worth a lot, she said.
“I say it’s kind of magical, but yet it’s only magical if you put the time and effort into it,” Haberkorn said. “It’s really a neat process.”