Each year, Massachusetts celebrates Family Literacy Month to honor parents, teachers, schools and communities for their efforts in making Massachusetts children skilled and enthusiastic readers. During this celebration many schools, libraries and learning centers statewide offer activities such as family book nights, storytelling and sing-alongs. The word “family” in Family Literacy Month emphasizes the critical role that families play in engaging their children at home and guiding them through their literacy development. The Massachusetts Family Literacy Consortium, a statewide group that promotes early literacy and family engagement, has compiled some easy-to-follow tips for families who wish to promote literacy at home:
· Assess your child’s reading abilities before selecting books. Your child’s teacher or local librarian can recommend books that are appropriate for your child’s age and reading level.
· Make reading a part of your daily routine. Designate a time to reach to your child everyday such as after dinner, before bed, etc.
· Provide a space for your family to read and store their books. Make reading special!
· Reading doesn’t have to cost money. Use the resources at your local library. Regularly borrow books and sign up for free storytelling hours or other activities.
· Encourage writing activities such as writing a letter or making cards for relatives. Reading and writing will help your child expand their vocabulary.
· Limit the time your child spends looking at a screen (TV, computer, video games, etc.). Although there are many television programs and software that are educational, it’s best to provide an alternative such as reading a book or magazine, playing charades or Scrabble and doing arts and crafts.
There’s no question that reading prepares children for school and that parents play an important role. Engaging your child at an early age will more than likely result in better reading and writing abilities and a positive attitude toward education that will last a lifetime.
To find your local library and see what activities are happening during Family Literacy Month, visit the MA Board of Library Commissioners at:
http://libraries.state.ma.us/ (type in your zip code on the upper right-hand corner)