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The California Reading Association

     Dedicated to Literacy for Over Fifty Years

The California Reading Association

Dedicated to Literacy for Over Fifty Years

The California
Reading Association

Dedicated to Literacy for Over Fifty Years

Family Literacy Benefits Everyone

by Nancy Frey

According to the National Center for Family Literacy, children of families with low literacy levels are the most likely to perform at the lowest academic levels themselves. Further, the parents’ literacy level directly correlates to family income. And in a confirmation of what so many see in their classrooms each day, children from homes with low literacy levels are more likely to be absent, more likely to face disciplinary actions at school, less likely to graduate from high school, and less likely to obtain a higher paying job themselves (U. S. Department of Education, 2000).

Schools across California feature family literacy programs that allow parents to improve their skills during the day while their children attend school. Many others sponsor Family Literacy Night celebrations and invite children and their families to attend fun activities. Educators and administrators have come to understand that family literacy is not a one-way street, with teachers doing all the talking and families doing the listening. At some schools, Family Literacy Night activities are co-taught by a teacher and parent, providing new ways for making connections with the community. Others focus on illuminating the literacy practices that already take place in many homes, from the oral traditions of older family members, writing notes to one another, composing shopping lists, and playing word games while walking in the neighborhood.

Here are some resources for expanding your school or district family literacy program:

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