Taking the A Train – One Parent’s Journey to Increasing Literacy

Taking the A Train – One Parent’s Journey to Increasing Literacy

Today's post comes from  a gal that I met in a networking group that I found to have an extraordinary story.  The lengths that she goes to, to ensure that her child has the instruction that she feels is necessary is absolutely incredible.  Her name is Tammy Furey and she is a parenting coach that currently resides in Switzerland.  Several of her articles have been published in The New Stork Times and I am just amazed at the lengths that she goes to for her child and increasing her literacy.Increasing Literacy

I am writing this on the train. Not that unusual I guess. But for me this is a weekly ritual. On Tuesdays, I collect my daughter from Kindergarden and catch the bus to the train station. We then get on a double decker train (yes, pretty cool. Especially since it has a playground on the upper floor, complete with climbing frame and slide. Yes, you did just read that right). An hour and 10 minutes later, we arrive at the main train station in Zurich, Switzerland. We then get on a tram for 10 minutes. Then walk another 5-10 minutes to the American Women's club house. All to take my daughter to an English reading class. My friends in our small Swiss hometown think we are mad. I, from time to time, think that we are also mad.

The simple fact is: I love reading. Books have been a constant companion throughout my life. They have always surrounded me. At one point, in my teenage years, I ran out of book space when rescuing books from the school library that was been “updated”; the books spilled across my floor and were piled up the walls.

My daughter is the same. She has books under her bed, on her bedside table, in her cupboards and across her floor. My daughter is 5 and can't yet read. That doesn't stop her trying though, and bed time stories are a fundamental part of her day.

The problem is that, in Switzerland, they don't teach children to read until they are 7 years old. There are plus and minuses to this system, but of course, they learn to read in German, not English. This is where I see potential problems and this is where I worry that the love of reading might well be destroyed for my daughter.

So once a week, we get on one bus, one train, one tram to learn to read. Each week, she leaps out of her class, clutching the latest batch of letters, coloring and games with a huge grin on her face. She now spots letters in the German words on sign boards and notices as we rush through the train station on the way home. I couldn't be happier!

Tammy Furey is a coach, writer, speaker and blogger. Tammy works with parents who are experiencing stress, anxiety and challenges and who want a peaceful, rewarding, loving relationship with their children. Her practice is based in St Gallen, Switzerland and she can be reached at www.fureycoaching.com


  1. Hmm, this makes me feel like I should be trying harder with my daughter. We sometimes have a tutor for her in English and sometimes we don’t. I feel like she should be reading to me in English and German every night in addition to the bedtime story that I read to her. It starts to feel like too much….
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