Written by Bethany Todd, in collaboration with Laura Barr
This week, I have been helping our local elementary school design a Family Literacy Night. In doing so, I have been convicted; beyond reading to my little ones at night, we haven’t done much family literacy lately. I, therefore, became inspired to create our own Family Literacy Night. Read on to learn a little more about family literacy, online resources, what we did for our family literacy night, and some holiday gift ideas for promoting your own family literacy.
What is Family Literacy?
Family Literacy is parents and children learning together. Whether it is parent or child-initiated, when families intentionally set aside time to learn together, children benefit.
Research confirms that literacy activities in the home contribute to early reading success.
Raising a Reader shares “Research shows that family engagement at home is perhaps the most influential factor affecting literacy and academic outcomes.” (Shumow, 2010)
Resources for Family Literacy
Wonderopolis nurtures imagination, creativity and learning through the power of wonder. They provide a “Wonder of the Day” to help families initiate learning moments everyday.
Thirty Million Words is an initiative that develops and disseminates “parent-directed programs that encourage parents to harness the power of their words to build their children’s brains and shape their futures.”
Reading is Fundamental is an excellent resource for parents to get quality age-appropriate book lists and at home activities
Get Ready to Read has an article on families raising ready readers. Great article and suggestions.
What I did for my First Family Literacy Night
After a visit to the library as a whole family in which everyone picked out a new book, we started our evening with our favorite hot drinks and 20 minutes of quiet reading time. We shared what we were reading with each other and what we thought of the book so far. We ended the night, by reading the “wonder of the day” by Wonderopolis, drawing pictures of our creative ideas and related wonders then sharing them. It was a pretty simple night but it was intentional, sweet and filled with creativity and books. I can’t wait to do it again!
Holiday Gift Ideas
Self-Adhesive Family White Board Uses: Interactive Family Calendar, Love Notes, Current News and events, Question or Word of the Day.
Chalk Board Self-Adhesive World Map Uses: Book connections, Travel dreams, Geography, Learning about a new place as a family. World maps, especially accessible interactive ones can get a lot of use!
Fridge Poetry magnets Uses: Being silly with words, communicating messages, writing poems.
Kids Table Topics Uses: New dinner conversations, get your kids talking
Family Notebooks Uses: Quiet writing time, sharing your writing
Make Your Own Books Uses: Book making time, create your own gifts/stories as holiday gifts for family members.