How Parents Can Nourish a Child’s Literacy at Home

 I found this great article by MARCIE CRAIG POST, Executive Director of the International Literacy Association. She reinforces key pedagogy about the importance of home school relationships in literacy development. I've highlighted key points below. Hope you enjoy it too!

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Access to quality reading materials is key to developing strong literacy skills. So why isn’t putting books into the hands of children enough? Research tells us that when children are presented with a wide selection of books, and are able to choose what they read, it increases both their ability and their enjoyment of the act.

Reading at home

In conjunction with school, families play a crucial role in fostering a love of reading, and in raising literate children. Notice I said “literate children,” notchildren who read.” Image result for parents talking to childrenReading is only part of the equation. Literacy encompasses so much more — writing, yes, but also speaking, listening and critical thinking.

So, what can families do to create a literacy-rich environment in their homes? To begin with, provide children with access to quality reading materials. Take advantage of your local libraries, or check out thrift stores and yard sales.

Keeping them engaged

Families should seek diverse books that reflect the reader. It’s both a powerful and profound experience to recognize yourself on the page. This is as true for the youngest of children as it is for adults.  Image result for reading at home

Also, model good reading habits. Young children naturally emulate the behaviours they observe. If you want them to prioritize reading, you need to as well. You can put this into practice by making reading a family activity.

It is recommended that parents start reading to children from birth. But studies tell us that read-alouds benefit kids of all ages - yes, even teenagers! Practice other literacy skills regularly. Talk to your children about what they’re reading. Ask them to tell you a story. Encourage them to write - even handwritten thank-you notes help.

Image result for reading at homeCreating a culture of literacy within the home doesn’t need to be daunting. Start small and build from there. Remember, every little thing you do goes a long way!

Amy Friedman  (President and CEO, Book Trust)

 1. Walk the walk
Read from the day your child is born until the day she/he leaves the house. Read with your kids, but also let your kids see you read.
2. Develop a routine
Develop family reading rituals like reading before bed, snuggled in a chair or sitting together on the couch as a family, reading your own books on a Saturday morning.
3. Invest in their story
Create a home full of books and book talk: books on your night stand; books on the coffee table; books in the bathroom. While you are reading, ask your child questions about the book, so she/he can make connections and share wonderings as you read. You can use this information to help your child choose his next book at the library or bookstore.
4. Keep books on the brain
Instead of asking, “What did you learn today?” ask: “What did you read today?” Talking through answers to these questions is a fun way to spark conversations about reading.
5. Create personal shelf space
Have a special bookshelf for your child’s books. Decorate it. Prominently place it in her bedroom. Let kids choose their own books grounded in their interests and passions. Help your child figure out his or her interests by asking these questions: If a book were written just for you, what would it be about? If you could be an expert on any subject, what would it be? What are two things you are really curious about?
6. Celebrate book ownership
Get excited when you add books to the bookshelf and take time to revisit those books that are a bit dusty and worn. Help your child understand that it is a privilege to own books, one that sadly millions of children in our country don’t have.
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