How Parents Participate in School Literacy Programs

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  • 0:00 Teachers, Parents, and…
  • 1:17 Benefits of Parent Involvement
  • 2:23 Parental Participation…
  • 4:45 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Christopher Muscato

Chris has a master's degree in history and teaches at the University of Northern Colorado.

Teaching literacy skills is one of the most important parts of early education, but to be truly successful teachers need to get parents involved. In this lesson, explore common techniques to improve parent involvement and test your understanding with a brief quiz.

Teachers, Parents, and Literacy

If you're involved in education then, chances are, you like kids. And you probably want to see those kids do well in life, so you do your best to teach them well and guide them towards a successful future. There is just one problem. These aren't actually your children. Far too often, our society treats education like something that is completely the duty of the teacher, when the truth is that a successful education pretty much requires parental involvement. How parents handle their children's education at home is just as important as what the kids learn at school, so it is vital that a relationship exists between parents and teachers. This is nowhere more true than in literacy, the set of skills that allow for textual communication, including reading and writing. Literacy is one of the most important skills children learn in terms of future academic success, so we want parents and schools to be able to work together. This means two things for teachers. First, we need efforts to get parents involved in the classroom. And, second, we should specifically train parents on how to teach literacy at home.

Benefits of Parent Involvement

Before we get into some of the techniques teachers can use to get parents involved with school literacy programs, let's go over some of the benefits. After all, we like to have reasons for the things we do. Now, research has shown, without exception, that when parents become more involved in their child's education, the student tends to have higher reading and writing comprehension and learns literacy skills more quickly. However, beyond that, the involvement of parents seems to greatly increase student motivation and these students are also shown to become more personally invested in their own education, voluntarily challenging themselves to improve. As an unexpected impact, teachers also found that integrating parents into school literacy programs greatly improved the communication between parents and the school. Teachers and parents were able to work together to set goals and create strategies for helping improve the child's literacy skills. Working together turned out to work well for everyone.

Parental Participation in School Literacy

Okay, so let's take a look at a few ways that teachers can bring parents into school literacy programs. Many teachers have found success in hosting family literacy nights at school as a required extracurricular event. This brings parents directly into the classroom to observe exactly how literacy is taught. Teachers can provide fun activities for children and parents to do together. Things like reading together or creating their own stories under the loose guidance and instruction of the classroom setting. These events serve to familiarize parents with educational techniques, encourage families to practice literacy together, and create opportunities for teachers and the parents to talk.

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