Hameray Classroom Literacy Blog

Family Literacy: Parental Involvement, Part 1

This week, we're focusing on the role of parental involvement in children's literacy. Today, tomorrow, and Friday, we will be presenting ideas for Family Literacy Workshop activities, taken from Family Literacy Workshops for Preschool through Grade 6: A Research Based Approach.

The way that the activities in this book are structured is that each chapter in the book is devoted to a single-topic workshop and contains one in-workshop activity and four take-home activities. Examples of the workshop topics include "The Home-School Connection" (the one we'll be looking at this week), "Reading With Your Children," and "Helping with Homework."

Today we will look at the structure of a workshop and you can download the printable in-workshop activity.

Taken from the book:

"These workshops cover a wide range of topics designed to help encourage an active role for the family in your school literacy program.  The selection of the topics was based on the research literature that demonstrates both the importance of family support, and what they might do at home to support their child’s learning.  No assumption was made about curriculum or school adopted programs and materials but rather the design should be useful in any school program.

"Reading is the single most important measure of school success. Learning to read and write is at the very top of the agenda for our schools.  We know that school success is related to these critical skills and we know that it is equally important to lifelong success.  Regardless of the philosophy used or the program followed at your school, it is a continuous search in our profession to find the best teaching methods to help our students become readers and writers.  Nothing we do in school is more important than literacy learning.

"That family support of school generally, and learning to read specifically, is critical, is a universally held opinion.  We know that support from the family is an important part of each child’s achievement in school.  All parents want their children to be successful in school.  All parents know that reading, and to a lesser extent writing, is part of that success.  Many parents try to help their children and support the work that is being done in school.  Most parents would do more if they had a better understanding of the importance of their role and the kinds of things that they could do that would be helpful."


Workshop At-a-Glance

Developing the Home-School Connection

Purpose of workshop
To help facilitate a working partnership between parents and teachers.

Purpose of workshop session activity (Free download available below)
To help set the tone for future workshops by providing an opportunity for parents, students, and teachers to work together on a task.

Purpose of take home activities

Same or Different (Free download available below)
This activity addresses both Reading Comprehension, and Literacy Response and Analysis by engaging children and parents in discussion based on a story, movie or television program.

Make a Family Book (Free download available tomorrow)
This activity addresses Listening and Speaking Strategies, and Written and Oral English Language Conventions, and Writing Applications by having the family create a story based on a shared experience.

Envelope Stories (Free download available Friday)
This activity addresses Reading Comprehension, and Writing Strategies by using periodicals to find pictures to construct a story around.
Reporting Live from… (Free download available Friday)
This activity addresses Writing Strategies, Writing Applications, Written and Oral English Language Conventions, and Listening and Speaking Strategies as children form questions, take notes and develop a news article that celebrates good news.

Why This Workshop Is Important

Schools continue to be intimidating places for most parents.  It is a place they visit but rarely feel a part of.  The successful family literacy program attempts to overcome this by persuading the parents that the role they play is critical to the success of their children and that the school is truly interested in developing a partnership between the home and the school.  This is also a time for the school faculty to explain the behavioral and academic expectations for students, and how parents can support those efforts at home.

Workshop Activity

This is a fun activity called Same or Different? that can help set the pattern for future workshops.  It is also an opportunity to observe how parents work with their children and for you to provide encouragement and guidance.  The activity has two parts.  One is to be completed at the workshop and the same activity is to be taken home and completed by the family (check back tomorrow for the take-home portion). You can download this activity by clicking on the image below.

Check back tomorrow for more activities from this workshop, and to see what a detailed workshop agenda should look like!

- Tara Rodriquez