The Number 1 Way Parents Affect Lifelong Literacy of Their Children: You May Be Surprised

            Some professional educators and parents alike believe that teaching children to read is the job of the professional, not the parent.  Things weren't’n t always this way however.  Love of their children and wishes for a better future for their children than they had is an almost universal characteristic of parents the world over.  During the industrial revolution, the Great Depression, and other times in more distant and more recent American History, parents were primarily responsible for the literacy of their children. (Gramling, 2009)/>  Perhaps, the most striking example of parents wishing and working for their children’s improved futures through literacy were American slaves who literally risked their own lives to gain literacy and pass those skills on to their children. (Gramling, 2009)/>
            Today, no one in America has to risk life or limb anymore to learn literacy skills or teach them to their children.  All they have to do now is send them to school right?  Well, yes and no.  Parents may no longer be their children’s primary source of education about decoding, phonics, and/or other more technical aspects of reading and writing, but parents are still the most important source of one very important aspect of literacy…M otivation.  (Gramling, 2009)/>  Although children currently learn to read and write many more words at school than they do at home, parents can still contribute to their children’s literacy, through such activities as, reading with their children, allowing children to see them reading for pleasure, having family story time/reading time, using narration to explain the parent’s actions and thoughts to young children, and many more.  Parents can also include children in print activities that are important to family and household management, i.e. grocery list, etc.  (Gramling, 2009)
            By allowing children to see parent’s using print for multiple functions, including home and family management, and simply for fun, children begin to see using printed materials as being a natural part of life and the adult world, and with this realization, some children may become highly motivated to learn to use printed materials fluently. (Gramling, 2009)  As it turns out, while parents in America do less of the “nuts and bolts” literacy instruction today than they ever have in history, American Parents are still the most important part of their children’s lives, and play a major role in providing their children with the proper motivation to become literate and fluent in the use of language, both spoken and written.
Gramling, M. (2009). early literacy: do parents matter?. Exchange (01648527), (188), 44-46. Retrieved from EBSCOhost.

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