Parents are the most influential teachers in the lives of their children. It is vital for parents to be actively involved in their children's early literacy development. There are many ways parents can foster literacy development early on. Here are some guidelines based upon the recommendations from the National Reading Panel (2000). These guidelines are ways parents can create a home environment that supports literacy development in young children:
· Encourage your child to use literacy in meaningful and purposeful ways. Some examples include helping parents make shopping lists, drawing and writing thank-you notes, looking at road maps while planning a family vacation, etc.
· The family should visit the public library and bookstores frequently. The children should be encouraged to check out materials, such as books, toys, tapes, and CD ROMs.
· Read together daily. Read to your child, with your child, and have your child read to you.
· Read a variety of material ( Magazines, newspapers, short stories, signs, labels, even the cook book).
· Create a print-rich environment. Keep reading and writing materials handy.
· Play language games, such as rhyming, tongue twisters and poems. Sing songs together.
· Practice identifying letters in the alphabet and point them out wherever you see them. For example, identify the golden arches of McDonald's as the letter M.
· Encourage your child to write and draw. Make the connection between oral language and text.
· Set the example for your child and be a reader and writer yourself. Improve speech by extending and modeling.
· Give them praise for their hard work and accomplishments. They deserve it!