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The 2007 Harvard Family Study, “Family Involvement in School and Low-Income Children’s Literacy Performance” found that increases in family involvement in the school predict increases in literacy achievement and family involvement in school matters most for children at greatest risk.

Things to do at home

Children’s success in school can thus be linked to reading to children and listening to them read. Indeed, the single most important activity for building the knowledge required for success in reading is reading aloud to children. In addition, parents can also take their children to the library, help them get a library card, and help them find books on their interests and hobbies. The availability of reading material in the home, whether owned or borrowed from the library, is directly associated with children’s achievement in reading comprehension (Lee & Croninger, 1994).

The Trust considers the following literacy activities between parents and children to be important:

  • parents or guardians reading to and with their children a whole variety of texts, although there may be value in repeated reading of favourite texts
  • parents or guardians encouraging children to listen and talk and thereby develop communication skills
  • parents or guardians developing their children’s understanding of different letter sounds and patterns
  • parents or guardians pointing out letters and sounds in their children’s daily lives
  • parents or guardians encouraging children to write according to their stage of development
  • parents or guardiansand their children sharing in literacy leisure activities such as going to the library, buying books, participating in literacy-oriented computer activities, and talking about the books, newspapers, and magazines they are reading
  • parents or guardiansrecognizing and acknowledging their children’s successes, and thereby building their children’s self-confidence.

Volunteering

Some parents have time to get involved by volunteering in school activities such as tutoring in the classroom, taking place in school trips, and helping in the libraries. Some parents only have time at home to assist their children with their homework and reading.

 

Tapping the power of parents article

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