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November 1, 2015

How to Build Early Literacy at Home

Sunday, November 1st was National Family Literacy Day. Research shows that parental involvement in early literacy is directly linked to a child’s future academic success, so there is no better time to encourage parents to build their child’s literacy at home.

You can create your own list of family literacy tips and resources and distribute it to parents at parent-teacher night, or send it home with your students. Check out these fun, easy tips for getting parents started:

  1. Speak up often

Parents who sing, count, read the newspaper aloud, or articulate their actions expose their children to rich vocabulary starting as early as birth. A-Z Literacy Tips for Parents has a helpful list of ideas to incorporate literacy learning anytime and anywhere.:

  1. Read together

 Reading Rockets provides free, downloadable Reading Adventure Packets for Families that contain all the materials necessary for parents to read, write about, and discuss books with K-3 children.

  1. Engage children’s interests

Parents can spark an authentic investigation into topics that naturally evoke curiosity. For preschool and early elementary kids, they can use a Wonder Jar in the house to store children’s real-world questions, and then use books and other resources to find the answers together. For older elementary students, Start with a Book provides books, websites, and activities on themes to explore like “Inventors” and “Buildings.”

Incorporate literacy into everyday activities:

 PBS Parents shares simple yet powerful ways that parents can engage children in early literacy development at home and beyond. Here are some of our favorites:

Meal Times: Family Recipe (Grades 1-3)—Encourage parents to guide children to make their own recipe card for a simple meal they love like PB&J or mac and cheese. Children can draw and label the steps and, as they do so, parents can gently support their spelling.

On the Go: License to Ride (Grades PreK-2)— License plates are great tools to learn letters and numbers. Parents and children can go on a letter hunt in which children find the letters to spell out a word they know, like their name, and then move to more difficult words.

Outside: Sound Walk (Grades PreK-2)— As parents walk in the neighborhood with their children, invite them to play a game in which children look for people and things with names that start with the same sound. To start, children close their eyes and when they open them, name the first thing they see. They then can try to find other things that start with the same sound as the object they named.

To find additional resources, visit the National Center for Families Learning.

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