Parental Involvement in Children's Literacy Development

by Lee Grayson

Parents and guardians who read and support reading form the foundation of literacy development for children, according to the Reading Is Fundamental organization. Establishing a reading area at home featuring comfortable chairs with adequate lighting or a table with space to set up an electronic book for fans of digital books lets your child know that reading takes a central role in your household. Sitting down with a good book in the reading area offers important role modeling for your family.

Access to Books

Easy access to books encourages children to pick up a book and read at any time, and a library card offers most children availability to a variety of books. Building a personal library of at least several books also helps children learn proper treatment and care for books. Get together with your child to build a personal library to develop literacy. Go to library book sales and tag or garage sales to search for books to fill the library, if buying new books isn't in the budget. Trade and exchange books as your child ages to create a library of favorites.

Reading Aloud

Reading to your child is a component of literacy development. Use bright-colored picture books for infants and pause to show the images to your child as you read or describe the images. Start reading aloud with stories featuring a simple plot as your child ages. According to the U.S. Office of Special Education Programs, starting a reading program at an early age encourages a lifelong passion for books and a legacy for reading enjoyment. Reading aloud also helps your child learn vocabulary words and form sentences.

Talking About Books

Talking with your child about the content in a story or pictures in books helps children understand book themes and develop the skills used in conversation. Expect to reread the books your child enjoys. This repetition also helps children learn reading skills, according to a Public Broadcasting System website. Develop different questions to ask your child each time you read a story. These questions assist your child in looking at the text in different ways. Focus on questions about one character during the first read, and then shift to questions about another character in the book as you read the text aloud a second time.

Positive Book Experiences

Select age-appropriate books for your children. A basic review of the book content helps match the text or images to your child's development and comprehension abilities. This review reduces frustrations when your child tries to read books geared for older readers. Remove books when infants become fussy and older children become overly tired to avoid creating negative feelings about books. Establish both formal and informal reading times for older children to encourage reading under relaxed conditions. Making picture books for small children, and creating homemade books with some text for older children, offers positive literacy experiences.

About the Author

*I have written chapters and articles for Oxford and Harvard University Presses, ABC-CLIO, and others. Arcadia Press published two of my local history texts and I have also written for numerous "article sites," including Pagewise in 2002. My "How to become a...real estate agent" is available as an online text from a Canadian publisher. *I taught writing courses at a branch campus of Indiana University. *I held a California real estate license and have remodeled four of my own homes and advised others on financing homes, repairing credit to qualify for loans, and managing construction (including meeting local, state, and federal regulations for restoration and development grants). *I served as an AmeriCorps*VISTA volunteer and wrote nearly $75,000 in small education grants (under $1,000). *My travels include frequent road trips in Canada, Mexico, U.S., and Europe. I attended school at Cambridge University and used this as a base to explore the UK and Europe.

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