Helping Families Facilitate Language and Literacy Development
Collin (1992, p. 2) refers to the parents’ nurturing role in their child’s literacy development as “planting the seeds of literacy.” Almost all parents want to plant these seeds, but many are unsure of the best way to begin. Similarly, most parents and other primary caregivers vastly underestimate the importance of their role in helping children become competent language users (McNeal, 1999). In this article, we discuss strategies teachers can use to inform parents of all cultures and other primary caregivers about the critical role they play in their child’s language and literacy development, and how parents and teachers can work together to enhance language and reading and writing opportunities in the home.
Parents play a critical role in helping children learn about print. Many children learn about literacy very early. This task is accomplished quite naturally as children sit on the laps of parents, other family members, or caregivers sharing a storybook. Surrounded by love, these children easily learn about the functions of print and the joys of reading. Being read to at home facilitates the onset of reading, reading fluency, and reading enjoyment. Unfortunately, a growing number of studies have documented a lack of parent–child reading opportunities, especially in low-income homes (Christian, Morrison, & Bryant, 1998; Griffin & Morrison, 1997). Lesley Morrow (1988) surveyed parents of children in three preschools serving poor families (incomes of less than $10,000, 40 percent minority, 75 percent single-parent headed). Ninety percent of these parents indicated that they read to their children only once a month or less! This lack of parental involvement may have a significant effect on the children’s learning throughout their schooling. For example, Billie Enz’s (1992) study of 400 high school sophomores revealed that 70 percent of the remedial readers could not recall being read to by their parents as children, while 96 percent of the students in advanced placement courses reported that their parents had read to them regularly. In essence, it appears that a child’s future literacy and subsequent success in school depend on parents’ ability and willingness to provide the child with thousands of planned and spontaneous encounters with print (Enz & Searfoss, 1995).
© ______ 2008, Allyn & Bacon, an imprint of Pearson Education Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved. The reproduction, duplication, or distribution of this material by any means including but not limited to email and blogs is strictly prohibited without the explicit permission of the publisher.
- Coats and Car Seats: A Lethal Combination?
- Kindergarten Sight Words List
- Child Development Theories
- Signs Your Child Might Have Asperger's Syndrome
- 10 Fun Activities for Children with Autism
- Why is Play Important? Social and Emotional Development, Physical Development, Creative Development
- Social Cognitive Theory
- GED Math Practice Test 1
- The Homework Debate
- First Grade Sight Words List