National Family Literacy Month

Did you know the single greatest indicator of children’s success is the literacy level of their parents? Did you know that parental involvement in their child’s reading has been found to be the most important determinant of language and emergent literacy?

November 1st kicks off National Literacy Month. First designated in 1994, the event is meant to bring awareness to the importance of family literacy through the encouragement and education of both parents of and caregivers for children, and focuses on the powerful lifelong learning ripple effect they can ignite simply by participating in their children’s literacy practices.

Here is what research has demonstrated regarding that ripple effect:

  • Success in reading is a gateway to success in other academic areas.
  • The earlier parents get involved in a child’s literacy the better, and the longer lasting the effects. Parental literacy involvement continues to be a top predictor of achievement into the teen and adult years.
  • A day focused on literacy can promote literacy across an entire community.

Here are some innovative ideas for celebrating National Literacy Month:

  1. Get Older Siblings Reading to Their Younger Siblings. It’s great practice for big bro or big sis to explain big words or summarize the story, and it’s also an opportunity to demonstrate a love of reading to little bro or sis.
  2. Practice Reading “Popcorn” Style. Each family member can read a page or two and then “popcorn pass” to the family member of their choice.
  3. Take Turns choosing the book or the book reading location of the night.
  4. Plan Themed Reading Nights. Pitch a tent in the living room and “camp out” while you read, or build a “bear cave” fort and read books about bears. Let your imagination take your themes to the next level.
  5. Incorporate Fun Accessories. Make your own bookmarks or sand timers. Invest in kid-friendly reading lights.
  6. Involve Distant Family and Friends. Books can be read aloud over FaceTime or Skype. Record your child reading their favorite book and send the video to loved ones.
  7. Read and Watch. Choose a book that has been turned into a movie. Read the book first and then schedule a family movie night to see the book come to life on the screen.
  8. Schedule It. Reading should be an activity as important as our kids’ various practices, lessons and play dates. If it’s on the calendar, it will become a higher priority.
  9. Book Swap. Get other families involved in a periodic book swap where kids can lend and borrow books from friends in the neighborhood or other social circles.
  10. Dinner Talk. Books can be a topic of discussion at family dinner. Ask family members to share about the latest books they’ve enjoyed, or how the plot is twisting in their latest chapter book.

From “20 Ways to Celebrate National Family Literacy Day,” by Jessica Slusser. For more information, visit the Getting Smarter website.

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