The month of November– along with the other holidays and family gatherings on the horizon– serves as Family Literacy Month. To us at Read to Them, this is our bread and butter, standing as essentially the biggest literacy celebration of the year… but what, exactly, is family literacy?
Family literacy refers to the way families nurture their children’s relationship with literacy and reading. For instance, family literacy can be practiced by reading a book with your child before bed or by asking questions and holding discussions about the books your child is currently reading. It also involves a parent’s reading habits, and how they model these habits for their children.
Parents, after all, are the first teachers their children will have; family literacy places an emphasis on learning and engaging with literacy outside of the classroom. In fact, it’s been found that elementary school students spend 900 hours per year in school vs. 7,800 in their home and community.
Literacy plays a vital role in a child’s future and life-long success. Most often, illiteracy in a child can be traced back to their parent’s own experiences with literacy. It all stems back to parents being their children’s first teachers: if parents don’t feel comfortable interacting with books, they aren’t likely to read to or with their children.
That’s why each of our reading programs places an emphasis on the importance of reading at home. We follow a family literacy model that demonstrates how participating in a read aloud program can connect three vital pillars to surround a child with literacy. Once a book is selected, students are encouraged to read it with their families each night. With such an exciting title, it’s no surprise that kids share their thoughts about the book with their families and peers, allowing for conversations to spark and spread across all grade levels. When a whole school is talking about one book, connections are forged and a sense of community is established, one that lasts far beyond the span of a literacy program.
We understand that not all families have the same experience with literacy and reading – and that’s okay! For tips on how to start making reading aloud a fun habit enjoyed by all in your home, visit our Families page.