September 19th-25th is National Family Literacy Week

For a long time now, educators have been aware that factors outside the school influence students’ success in learning to read. Home environments prior to attending school and any preschool experiences are influential on students’ success in the school environment. The National Center for Educational Statistics “confirmed that children whose family members read to them three or more times a week were more likely” to come to first grade, knowing their letters, numbers to 20 or higher, being able to write their name, and reading or pretending to read (an important step) than those who were not read to.

John Holloway, in an article explains this pre-preparation for school experiences.

Fathers need to be involved in reading to their preschoolers as well as mothers.

He explains the importance of reading to and sharing a love of books with one’s kids. This coming week is the perfect time to start or continue and emphasize family activities centered around reading.

The perfect time to start or step up family reading activities

An article by Jodene Morrell and Susan Bennett Armistead, points out that “Developing strong relationships between educators, families, and communities is extremely, important for students’ academic and social growth and success.”

Booksource has some simple, effective ways to promote literacy in the home:

Read together or even separately in the same room. If you and other family members are uncomfortable reading aloud, there are many reading programs on the internet where authors or celebrities read aloud books to kids.

Become aware of Literacy Resources. Your local school can help, and just googling “Literacy Resources” should bring up many helpful websites and ideas.

Start a family book club where all family members read the same book, then “meet” and discuss the book; children too young to read will need a family member like an older sibling to read the book to them. Mother and father should NOT dominate the discussions, nor should they be too heavy handed about life lessons learned from the book. Give your kids some credit and assume they “get it.”

Initiate dinner table discussions . Again, give the kids a chance to do more than say, “I liked the book.” Have some thought questions about the book prepared ahead of time. Often the internet will have discussion questions on many books.

Create non-traditional “book reports” as a family. Write a skit and make a video about a book. Create colorful bookmarks featuring the book’s theme to use and distribute to friends who might also enjoy the book. Have a family dress-up night where family members dress as characters from the book and eat food/refreshments centered around some aspect of the book.

)Explore print and language in the real world. When eating out, let the kids read the menu and order for themselves. (They may need some assistance, but stifle the urge to just order for them.) Younger kids can take dictation from Mom or Dad to make a grocery list. Teach children to read cookbooks (time spent in the kitchen cooking is bonding time. ) Play word games like Scrabble.

All of these suggestions can make for a “Happy Literacy Week” at your house.

Time bonding over reading and books will never be forgotten.
Have a Happy week of reading with your family.

Author: Rae Longest

This year (2019) finds me with 50 years of teaching "under my belt." I have taught all levels from pre-K "(library lady" or "book lady"--volunteer) to juniors, seniors, and graduate students enrolled in my Advanced Writing class at the university where I have just completed 30 years. My first paying teaching job was junior high, and I spent 13 years with ages 12-13, the "difficult years." I had some of the "funnest" experiences with this age group. When I was no longer the "young, fun teacher," I taught in an elementary school setting before sixth graders went on to junior high, teaching language arts blocs, an assignment that was a "dream-fit" for me. After completing graduate school in my 40s, I went on to community college, then university teaching. Just as teaching is "in my blood," so is a passion for reading, writing, libraries, and everything bookish. This blog will be open to anyone who loves books, promotes literacy and wants to "come out and play."

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