Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Helping Families Support Readers

Encouraging families to support children and teens as readers is important—whether your community is getting ready for a Big Read project or you’re just encouraging students to keep reading when they are at home. The Why Summer Reading? page on ReadWriteThink’s Learning Beyond the Classroom site explains, “a passion for reading and writing can help children and teens find ways to understand not only different cultures and worlds but also themselves.” Further, the NCTE Guideline “On Reading, Learning to Read, and Effective Reading Instruction: An Overview of What We Know and How We Know It” tells us:

The more children read, the better readers they become. Children read more when they have access to engaging, age appropriate books, magazines, newspapers, computers and other reading materials. They read more on topics that interest them than on topics that do not interest them.

Reading supports writing development and writing supports reading development. For example, through reading readers learn the power of a strong introduction and eventually use such knowledge as they write their own pieces. Conversely, writing develops awareness of the structures of language, the organization of text, and spelling patterns which in turn contributes to reading proficiency.
So we know that reading matters, but how can we support families who encourage children and teens to read at home?
  • Share the NCTE description of What Can Family Literacy Look Like to provide families with a list of short, everyday activities that can support readers and writers.

  • Read the Language Arts article “Exploring Our Literacy Beliefs with Families” to learn more about the literacy beliefs of families share with others during a series of family literacy workshops. Use the information to shape your interactions with family adults.

  • Visit ReadWriteThink’s Learning Beyond the Classroom for reading and writing activities that you can share with families and other caregivers. Visit the Why Summer Reading? page on the site for a link to a printable flyer you can send home with students and share with others in your educational community.

  • Be sure to show families the related booklists available on the ReadWriteThink’s Learning Beyond the Classroom grade level pages for suggested best books to find in the local library or bookstore.

  • Check out ReadWriteThink’s new podcasts and videos for reviews of books for ages 4–11 and ages 12–18 as well as videos that suggest reading strategies that families can use with children.

1 comment:

Ellen Nicholson Walker said...

I had toyed with the idea of starting a blog to recommend books for parents (or teachers) to read aloud to children, but I assumed there was already something like that. However, when I did a search, I didn't find anything, so in January I started a monthly blog with suggestions of read-aloud books for toddlers through teens:
http://whattoreadtochildren.blogspot.com/