As a life-long avid reader, I’ve always tried to instill a love of books in my kids. Reading takes you all over the world. It takes you back in time; it makes you feel less alone; it helps you feel brave and inspires you to be better. And as one amazing little 4-year-old boy tells us, reading can help you stand up with confidence and “not be afraid.”
It’s hard to believe Master Caleb Stewart is only 4 years old, but this pint-sized motivational speaker — who sometimes dons a three-piece suit — really is only a preschooler. He just happens to be a preschooler who loves to read.
Master Caleb recently gave a talk about the importance of reading at a local middle school teacher’s night, and he’s now Internet-famous for it. Once you see the video, you’ll definitely know why. (And by the end, if you haven’t read something yet today, you’ll want to hit the library immediately. We promise.)
“I am here to speak to you about the importance and benefits of reading,” Master Caleb announces, while standing atop a desk. “I personally read every day. Reading every day has made me smarter. It has also strengthened my vocabulary and language skills, allowing me to pronounce new and big words without even thinking about it.”
By now I’m willing to bet you’re completely in love with this boy — but just you wait, because there’s more.
In the video, Master Caleb Stewart also shares that reading has enhanced his long-term memory and problem-solving skills (yes, a 4-year-old said that).
But this sweet and brilliant little boy also touches upon another important aspect of reading development — it’s not just books kids can read as they go about their lives. As the teachers heard from their tiny guest speaker, reading opportunities are everywhere.
“Although books are excellent tools for reading,” he says, “kids should be encouraged to cultivate their imagination and find other materials such as newspapers, magazines, restaurant menus, or maybe even billboards riding down the highway.”
And he’s absolutely right! Words are everywhere. Right now on my kitchen table is a box of granola bars, a water bottle, and the mail. All of them have words my kids can read — words that Master Caleb tells us can “spark their imagination and curiosity.”
Obviously I’d prefer that my kids read books every day. And two of them do, as they’re natural book lovers just like I am. But I do have one child who would much rather engage in a lightsaber battle than sit and read, so it’s a bit more challenging to get him excited about the power of words. Still, I think I’ll keep this brilliant 4-year-old’s advice in mind as I try to promote my son’s reading skills, knowing that reading is knowledge and knowledge is power.
As shared on his public Facebook page Brilliant Little Leaders, Master Caleb’s mission — along with his sister and fellow motivational speaker Queen Olivia — is to “inspire other kids to find the love for reading [and] to dream big and believe in themselves, spreading the spirit of kindness.”
Thanks to this video that has been shared worldwide, it looks like he’s done just that. So thank you, Master Caleb Stewart, for inspiring me to pick up a book today and go on an adventure, learn some new big words, and above all else, never be afraid.