Parents as Partners in Reading
Hispanic parents care deeply about their children’s success in education. In many situations, however, Hispanic parents do not have a strong grasp on how to best support their children’s learning in school. Access to reading at home is one of the most important contributions parents can give to their children’s education even before a child is born. Having children read at home and having someone read to them in the comfort of familiar settings are essential activities that parents can and must do at home with their children. Why? It has been proven that children’s ability to recognize print and be able to read by the time they enter kindergarten are strong indicators of children’s academic success in school. Studies have also demonstrated that children who read at home are more successful in school than those who do not.
Reading at home—make it a family tradition
It is no mystery that parents are their children’s first teachers, and they continue to have an enormous influence over their children’s learning throughout life. In Hispanic families this assumption cannot be further from the truth. Hispanic parents strive to show and teach their children how to fix and make things, cook, do house chores, etc. In the same way, modeling a love and interest for reading is the first step Hispanic parents can take in ensuring their children’s success in school. When children see their parents read a book, magazine or newspaper at home, almost effortlessly and unconsciously children not only tend to imitate their parents’ behavior, but also learn to value the act of reading. Children who read at home develop an interest and love for reading that surpasses any school’s efforts of pushing children to read for pleasure and learning purposes.
In the same way, modeling a love and interest for reading is the first step Hispanic parents can take in ensuring their children’s success in school.
Simple steps to take:
Make reading at home a daily routine. Although time constraints are major issues in Hispanic families—just line in any other family, allocating a special place and time at home (about 30 minutes a day), should not be too difficult to accomplish. It is a family effort and investment that will pay off on the long run!
Other things parents can do:
- As you read with your child, have the child point out text features such as title, headings, illustrations, key words, etc. and have them predict what the reading will be about.
- Have the child make connections with things that are familiar in his/her own experiences and world events.
- Expand the child’s vocabulary by making an effort to use new and different words.
- Share conversations about books, life events, and school activities with your children over meal times and other times together.
- Allow children to express themselves in family and grown-up conversations; listen and learn from one another.
- Ogle, D. (2007) Coming Together as Readers
- Student Resources