Family involvement increases children’s positive feelings about literacy, which in turn improves their literacy performance. WITS understands the importance of family when it comes to creating opportunities for every student in Chicago to be literate. This November WITS is excited to celebrate National Family Literacy Month, an opportunity to remind our community of the importance of family when it comes to literacy.
Why is it important for families to read together?
- The single most important activity for building the knowledge required for eventual success in reading is reading aloud to children (Anderson et al. 1985).
- When we read aloud to children it is beneficial for their cognitive development, with guardian-child reading activating brain areas related to narrative comprehension and mental imagery.
- When different family members read with each other they are modeling how language works. The reader pauses at commas and periods. Their voice inflection changes when they read questions or exclamations.
- Activities between guardian and child lead to the development of additional benefits beyond emergent literacy skills including increased positive self-concept, self-regulation, social competence, better communication skills, and pro-social peer networks.
How WITS activates families
WITS activates students’ families by providing caregivers with ways to engage with activities their children are participating in at WITS. Here are some examples of ways WITS activates families:
- WITSK, Mid-Day Mentoring, and Workplace Mentoring Summer Books Family Reading Kits.
- WITS created family reading kits to go along with the five summer books WITS students are gifted at their end-of-year celebrations. These kits included a letter from the team on the front, a reading log on the inside, and summer reading tips on the back. The Mid-Day Mentoring reading kit featured a journal recap guide reviewing the skills students worked on throughout the year. Program staff members and volunteers encouraged students to use this kit during the summer while reading by themselves, with their parents, and even with younger siblings.
- ECSP weekly newsletters
- This year the program team created weekly newsletters for the Early Childhood Summer Program. These newsletters briefed parents on what their students learned during the week—such as practicing the different parts of a book and the weekly fairy tales students read. The newsletters also included ideas for parents to try while reading with their children. Students brought the newsletters home with a new book every week. 89.1% of parents said they found these helpful in establishing literacy practices at home with their children.
Reading to children is important to establish a love of learning and a positive attitude towards reading and family involvement can play a crucial role in this. Setting the foundation that reading is fun at an early age can make a huge impact on a student’s educational growth. National Family Literacy Month is a great reminder to invest in the time to read with your family.
WITS ADDS OVER
to the homes of students and classrooms of Rochelle Lee Teacher Awardees each year.
of literacy mentorship each year in Chicago Public Schools.