Parent Involvement in Early Literacy is the Key to Academic Success
by Deborah J. Stewart, M.ED. on Jan. 18, 2011
A study conducted last spring in over 27 countries and over 20 years confirmed that having over 500 books in ones’ home is more important to a child’s projected academic success than a parent’s education. There are few studies to date on parent involvement in early literacy skills and development when reading with them. Yet, educators know that the number one predictor of lifelong academic achievement is parental involvement.
What are some best practices to help your child learn beginning literacy skills?
Where do you start if your child does not know their letters or sounds?
- Expose your child to literacy in natural occurring situations– Point out stop, speed, and washroom signs
- Label your house– Make a project out of writing and taping the words for things around your house that your child can see, touch, and repeat every day.
- Alphabet fun– Play with the alphabet out of order through developing letter of the day, week, or month and try to incorporate meals, toys, pictures on the internet, books. Have your child help you. Take pictures and/or develop a book for each. Develop opportunities for your child to make each letter cutting them from sponges, or forming them using play dough or even dye in snow!
- Sound fun- Make up songs, games, or dances using the sounds of each letter in the alphabet. Buy a puzzle or game that says the sound of each letter as a review.
Where do you start if your child is ready to read?
- Investigate- The first reading steps are always the most nerve wrecking. Make sure your child is ready. Does your child know their letters and sounds?
- What are the signs of a child ready to read?– Does your child pretend to read books, ask you what words say, attempt to sound out letters in words, know words are devised of letters and spaces indicate new words? Has your child told you they want to learn to read?
- Start and stop when your child is eager- Beginning reading is hard. Consistency in small chunks of time works best. Always make sure they are having fun and within their frustration threshold.
- Use a repetitive simple text book- Allow your child to select an easy reader that can be completed in one sitting of 5-10 minutes. Research suggests choice is important in reading motivation.
- Picture walk- Predict and preview each page in a book using picture clues to identify story details
- Model- Do an initial read through of the book allowing your child to see best beginning reading practices of pointing to each word with your finger.
- Guide them- Allow your child to read the text helping them when necessary with difficult words in context.
- Review and discuss- Ask story questions related to vocabulary, connecting the text to your child’s experiences, and to check for basic reading comprehension.
- Write- Have your child share as you transcribe or bravely attempt to write their thoughts on characters, problems, situations and their experiences with each story.
- Review high frequency words- Review words such as; a, the, and, this… however you see fit.
- Consistency- Work daily through these steps whenever possible.