Parent involvement is important to help students become lifelong readers and writers. Still, there are challenges to promoting effective parent involvement. This lesson offers ideas for engaging parents in young children’s literacy development.
Why Parent Involvement Matters
Mr. Floyd is a kindergarten teacher at King Elementary, and he has decided to make a goal out of increasing parent involvement this year. Why? Over the years, Mr.
Floyd has observed that children whose parents are involved, especially in their literacy development, are more likely to be motivated and successful with reading and writing. Mr. Floyd has seen that these children have a stronger understanding of the importance of literacy as well as the joy that can come from living a literate life. Children whose parents are less involved in their literacy development can still be successful, of course, but their chances would be much stronger if their parents were more involved.
Still, parent involvement isn’t always easy to come by. Parents of young children are often busy and stressed. Sometimes, cultural and socioeconomic factors keep them away from schools and prevent them from getting involved in their children’s literacy. Mr. Floyd decides to do some research into how to bring more parents into their children’s literate lives.
Reading Parties and Events
Floyd discovers that one of the obstacles to parental involvement in literacy is simply a lack of knowledge and understanding. Parents who are nervous about coming into their children’s schools may simply not understand why it matters for them to get involved. They may not even think of literacy as something where a family, not just a teacher, has a role.
Mr. Floyd decides that he will encourage parents to participate in a conversation about their children’s literacy by having a series of reading parties and events. He will plan potlucks and game parties on themes drawn from popular children’s books. At these parties, which he will hold at different times of the day in order to be accessible to different kinds of families, Mr. Floyd will talk to parents about the importance of involvement.
He will hand out pamphlets on literacy development and give them ideas about small ways they might change their involvement in their children’s lives.
Behaviors to Encourage
Mr. Floyd decides to develop a list of concrete behaviors he can recommend to parents. His list includes different things parents can do to encourage their children’s reading and writing. Some of the things on Mr. Floyd’s list include:
- Reading aloud to children as much as possible
- Bringing more books and magazines and newspapers into the house
- Talking with children about books and stories
- Modeling reading and writing behaviors
- Encouraging children to write letters to far-away friends and families
- Encouraging children to keep drawing and writing journals to tell stories about family events
- Listening to children read out loud
- Taking children to events at local libraries and bookstores
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