How important is parental involvement once a child learns how to read?

I just had the pleasure of doing a training with community workers who are involved with promoting and supporting early literacy with children and their families, making sure these children enter school, ready to be successful learners and readers.

Parental involvement is essential to a child’s success in school, and it makes perfect sense how their involvement is a crucial factor in meting the challenges all schools face in educating the next generation of children.  See “Parent volunteers lift San Jose schools” SF Chronicle, June 6, 2010

Additional evidence that supports the importance of parental involvement as it relates to reading comes from “The Kids and Family Reading Report”, which shows that “kids’ reading drops off after eight years, and that parents can have a direct impact on getting kids to read . . . When kids start reading independently, parents need to become more, not less, involved . . . parents must play a key role in helping their older children select books that capture their imagination and interest . . . Kids say that one of the main reasons why they do not read more is because they cannot find books that they like to read.” Simply put? If pleasure doesn’t drive reading, children don’t become readers.

Some guidelines on involvement:
• DO NOT stop reading to children once they learn to read on their own!

• Reading aloud does not automatically lead to literacy. The real link lies in the verbal interaction that occurs between adult and child during story reading.

• Children who talk about stories better understand what they read.

• Children who understand a story become more confident readers. Children need confidence to be good readers.

• Children who come to school with well-developed skills in “taking meaning from books” are clearly at an advantage. Someone in the home read to the children, answered their questions, and encouraged them to read and write.

Questions to ponder:

~ Who helps your child choose the books they read?
~ Do you read some of the books your child reads?
~ Do you talk about the story once the books are finished?
~ Is your child reading books that are not school assignments?

A poem to share~

When I was little, mom would read to me in bed.
I’d lie under the covers with my eyes closed
And the sound of her voice would make me feel safe and sleepy at the same time.
Sometimes, even with the good stories, I’d fall asleep before the end.
Now I’m bigger and I can read by myself but still, every once in a while, when I’m feeling sad or something,

I’ll ask Mom and she’ll come in and sit on the edge of the bed
and touch my head
And read to me again.

(Poet unknown)


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