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After moving to Cannon Falls 15 years ago, Kristyn Haberkorn got to work; starting both a home daycare and, in time, the Learning to Read by Reading program. 

Haberkorn went to college in education, and has taught elementary schoolers, her daycare attendees, and is currently teaching sixth graders. In her free time, she enjoys walking, running, gardening, cooking, and reading.

Read about Haberkorn’s transition from daycare provider to teacher, her reading program, and advice for parents whose kids are learning to read.

Q: Why did you decide to switch over from daycare to classroom teaching?

A: I really enjoyed doing home daycare, but I was ready for a change, and looking forward to reaching a different audience. Sixth grade was always my dream job when I was going to school. It’s what I envisioned in my earlier days, and in the end, that's what I have landed on. I really think that God had a hand in it; it’s what became available to me, and I enjoy it. Sixth graders are still young at heart, there's still a lot for them to learn, and most are eager to do so.

Q: What all goes into teaching kids to read?

A: A big piece is giving young children the opportunity for real reading and writing experiences, whether that was in the daycare setting or through the Learning to Read by Reading program. Given the opportunity, it's amazing what children can learn at that young age. The other piece of it is, you can't just be given the opportunity, but you actually have to read, you actually have to write, and you have to do it consistently to really improve as readers and writers. It's not like this magical thing; it does take effort.

Q: How does your reading program work?

A: Learning to Read by Reading is a program that provides families with simple texts designed for early literacy that gradually increase with difficulty in a natural, individualized way. At this point in time, I do the book exchange (which includes consulting), and home tutoring. Families that participate in the book exchange get a set of books for approximately a month (or until they're ready to get new books), and then those are exchanged either in the mail, or if they're local, then they just exchange them at my doorstep.

Q: Do you have any advice for parents to keep their kids reading and learning?

A: Visit the library, and read lots. The other thing would be to encourage and expect children to read regularly and have that routine developed at home. Not everybody is going to love it all the time. We want children to enjoy painting, we want them to play outside, we want them to do a variety of things, but it's important to install that routine for literacy in the midst of everything else. It's a foundation for learning. When children figure that out at a young age, it builds a lot of confidence. 

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