The Role of Parents and Families in Literacy Development

According to the National Adult Literacy Survey, NALS, approximately 90 million adults have low-level literacy skills.

In addition, 40 million adults are estimated to be functionally illiterate. As the workplace and society become more technologically complex, more adults will be considered marginally illiterate if they are not able to, or do not have the means to acquire new skills or improve their current level of reading and basic skills.

See also this highly interesting TEDxUCLA video from a few years back in which Tom Weisner talks about the most important influences on the development of children:

For example, a factory worker might no longer be able to perform his/her job duties because s/he is unable to complete computerized reports.

The Role of Parents and Families

Parents and families are so important to the education of young children because of the activities they do and the environment they provide their children in making a foundation for reading. Rich language skills, a love of books, and understanding that print delivers a message are all vital for a child’s successful growth as a reader.

Children are constantly learning from the moment they are born. The actions and words of parents teach children what they value and what is important for them to know as they grow.

Parents are not only a child’s first teacher but also the individuals who have the longest and greatest influence on a child’s education. They are the people who are shaping the promise in every child and impact their child for a lifetime.

The times that families spend together are meant to be fun and enjoyable. The fun of simple activities like sharing books, playing games, and going for walks and talking about what you see create the most special times together and cannot be duplicated in any other way. These are moments adult children cherish as memories and can recreate for their own children.

You will find helpful links in two ways:

  • Links to other parts of this website
  • Links to other internet resources

Both the links on this website and the internet provide parents with a wide variety of information, books, activities, puzzles, and games that all help children learn to read so that later in their lives, they will be able to communicate with well-rounded social language skills.

Birth to Three-Year-Old Accomplishments

At the same time, young children gain many important concepts through the interchange of oral language and ideas. The following is quoted from Starting Out Right: A Guide to Promoting Children’s Reading Success published by the Committee on the Prevention of Reading Difficulties in Young Children, Commission on Behavioral and Social Sciences and Education, National Research Council, page 59.

  • Recognizes specific books by the cover.
  • Pretends to read books (early childhood literacy-getting children to read).
  • Understands that books are handled in particular ways.
  • Enters into a book-sharing routine with primary caregivers.
  • Vocalization play in crib gives way to enjoyment of rhyming language, nonsense work play, etc.
  • Labels objects in books.
  • Comments on characters in books.
  • Looks at a picture in a book and realizes it is a symbol for real object.
  • Listens to stories (shouldn’t storytelling be included in school?).
  • Requests/commands adult to read or write.
  • May begin attending to specific print, such as letters in names.
  • Uses increasingly purposeful scribbling.
  • Occasionally seems to distinguish between drawing and writing.
  • Produces some letter-like forms and scribbles with some features of English writing.

Terms:
The following common acronyms are used in second language programs. Some terms relating to English Language Learners are often used interchangeably.

ELL
English Language Learners
ESL
English as a Second language
ESOL
English for Speakers of Other Languages
TESOL
Teachers of English to Speakers of Other Languages
LEP
Limited English Proficiency
SPL
Student Proficiency Level
SLA
Second Language Acquisition

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