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.
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.
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.