I shared this on Edutopia's parent involvement blog and had to share here. We need to provide our parents with more.
Parent involvement is the number one predictor of early literacy success and future academic achievement. However, according to a 2007 report by National Endowment for the Arts, there are more literate people in the United States who don't read than those who are actually illiterate. How do we change that pattern for the future of our children?
Educators and parents alike know that preschool-age children need a lot of modeling to navigate through social/emotional, cognitive and gross/fine motor skills. Many experts in the field of education in the last decade have emphasized the importance of play-based curriculum and its vital role in developing a child's imagination and social skills. Learning to get along with others is modeled and developed throughout the preK years and a child's formative years through programs under the umbrella of SEI (Social/Emotional Skills): anger management, problem-solving and empathy skills. Kindergarten teachers are thankful for the beginning role that preK teachers play in this initial modeling and development. Fine and gross motor skills are honed through everyday preK learning activities such as cutting, drawing, sorting, painting, catching, throwing, kicking, hopping, jumping and writing one's name.
However, recent preK research has focused specifically on cognition within early childhood development and on how parent involvement fits into preK literacy development. Past early literacy research emphasized the importance of daily adult/child reading time, as well as having 100 or more books in one's home, and its link to a child being academically ready and successful in kindergarten. Recent research has proved that reading as a stand-alone activity will not help children with pre-literacy skills (Phillips et al., 2008). Unfortunately, the latest research on parent involvement in early literacy has stressed that children need to be given more specific skills while being read to in order to be successful with early literacy skills (Roberts, Jurgens, & Burchinal, M., 2005).
Parent involvement in early literacy is directly connected to academic achievement. Children need parents to be their reading role models with daily practice in order to navigate successfully through beginning literacy skills. According to research, parents should focus on the words on the page while reading with their preK reader (Evans, Shaw, Bell, 2000).
Here are some strategies for beginning and seasoned readers' literacy success:
Beginning and lifelong literacy is transformative and constantly growing. However, the process must begin when initially learning to read, and must be as intuitive to a child as when he or she learned to speak. This can happen through incorporating repetition, proper skills and modeling.