The Role of Family Involvement in Literacy
Written by: Swee Harrison
How are families involved in a child’s literacy development?
A child’s literacy skills begin at home before they are old enough to attend school!
Children whose parents are more involved with their schooling and at-home learning tend to feel more confident in their own literacy skills. This is no coincidence! Family involvement can influence a child’s success in their school and community contexts as well as the home environment. So, why is this important? It means that you, the parent, and other family members can really help your child improve their literacy skills!
Why is literacy important in early childhood?
Early engagement with literacy is important because challenges with literacy development can impact a child over time, even well into adulthood. Children who struggle to develop literacy skills in elementary school are more likely to have difficulties with reading later on. Challenges in school are linked to behavioral problems. This site provides resources and benchmarks for early literacy development and milestones (infancy to age 5): https://www.pacer.org/ec/early-literacy/parents-play-a-key-role.asp
We also know that family income levels can be related to children’s literacy development. Parent and family involvement are especially important in low-income families. If you are interested in learning more about the role of literacy on children from low-income backgrounds, check out this summary of a study on family involvement and children’s literacy for low-income families: https://www.gse.harvard.edu/news/uk/08/05/family-involvement-and-childrens-literacy
How to support your child’s literacy development:
The term “family involvement” includes a variety of actions both in school and at home. Here are ways you can be involved in your child’s literacy development:
1. Help with homework and other school-related activities at home
2. Participate through classroom volunteering and communicating with teachers (i.e. attending parent-teacher meetings, keeping up with their child’s progress)
3. Access your child’s school community and discuss education with other families and community members
4. Educate yourself on topics and skills your child is learning in school
Siblings can help each other improve reading skills too!
Studies show that siblings who participate reading or language learning together also improve together! Younger siblings benefit from observing and learning from their older sibling(s). Plus, older siblings learn from teaching younger siblings and demonstrating their own knowledge. Take a look at this website for information on sibling roles in literacy development: https://www.scholastic.com/parents/books-and-reading/raise-a-reader-blog/siblings-reading-together.html
Check out these resources for more information!
These websites provide suggestions for activities to improve literacy development:
Kid’s Academy: bit.ly/2N0qbsT
National Center for Improving Literacy: http://bit.ly/3bxQX5A