Focus Areas En Español

Raising a Reader

reading_websiteEveryday activities are a perfect setting for children to develop language skills and become lifelong readers.

When you make reading and writing a natural part of your day as a family, students acquire strong literacy skills and a bigger vocabulary to help them achieve academically. To build these skill sets at home:

  • Encourage Literacy – Encourage your child to help make shopping lists, draw and write thank-you notes, write grocery lists and create menus for meals.
  • Tap Into Your Community – Check out materials such as toys, CDs and books from libraries. Participate in activities held by libraries and bookstores, such as story time, writing contests and summer reading programs.
  • Make It Easy – Keep reading and writing materials such as books, magazines, newspapers, paper, markers, crayons, scissors, glue and stickers accessible at home.
  • Read Together – Read books and rhymes and play language games such as tongue twisters and puzzles with your child. Point out the letter-sound relationships your child is learning on labels, boxes, magazines and signs.
  • Share Stories – Keep a notebook and write down stories your child tells you so that the child may see the connection between oral language and text.
  • Be a Reader – Children observe and learn from people around them. Let your child know you are proud of his or her reading.

When reading and writing are part of your family routine, your child will enhance the skills needed to better prepare him or her to do well in school.

For more ways to help ensure your child is ready to learn, download the U.S. Department of Education’s resource, Parent Power: Build the Bridge to Success.

Boost Literacy Skills

Student success in school depends heavily on an ability to read and write at grade level from pre-school to high school.

Yet the starting line for many children is different, depending on their ZIP code. By age 3, there is a 30-million “word gap” between children from well-off and low-income families.

As studies show, this “word gap” can lead to disparities not just in vocabulary size, but also in school readiness. It can even affect long-term educational and health outcomes, earnings and family stability decades later.

By talking, reading and singing more to children, the “word gap” is reduced and their chances for later success in school and beyond improved.

You can give your child a strong start to build pre-literacy skills for school readiness. Whether at home, on a walk or doing errands, help him or her from an early age to become a successful reader by:

  • Playing simple name games by asking “what is this?”
  • Labeling things at home such as a door or a cup and reading the labels together
  • Showing the ingredients as you cook and naming them together
  • Reading aloud the words on signs and in stores.

For hands-on, family literacy activities, download 30 Days of Families Learning Together from the National Center for Families Learning, in English or in Spanish.