Parents’ Involvement in Early Literacy

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Parents’  involvement is the number one predictor of early literacy success and future academic achievement. However, according to a 2007 report by National Endowment for the Arts, there are more literate peoplemrom around the globe esp United States, who don’t read than those who are actually illiterate. How do we change that pattern for the future of our children?

Pre K/Early Childhood Development Domains
Educators and parents alike know that preschool-age children need a lot of modeling to navigate through social/emotional, cognitive and gross/fine motor skills. Many experts in the field of education in the last decade have emphasized the importance of play-based curriculum and its vital role in developing a child’s imagination and social skills.

Cognition Domain: Early Literacy Needs Today
However, recent preK research has focused specifically on cognition within early childhood development and on how parent involvement fits into preK literacy development. Past early literacy research emphasized the importance of daily adult/child reading time, as well as having 100 or more books in one’s home, and its link to a child being academically ready and successful in kindergarten.

Recent research has proved that reading as a stand-alone activity will not help children with pre-literacy skills (Phillips et al., 2008). Unfortunately, the latest research on parent involvement in early literacy has stressed that children need to be given more specific skills while being read to in order to be successful with early literacy skills (Roberts, Jurgens, & Burchinal, M., 2005).

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Parent Involvement: What Skills Need to be Part of a Daily Routine?
Parent involvement in early literacy is directly connected to academic achievement. Children need parents to be their reading role models with daily practice in order to navigate successfully through beginning literacy skills. According to research, parents should focus on the words on the page while reading with their preK reader (Evans, Shaw, Bell, 2000).

Here are some strategies for beginning and seasoned readers’ literacy success:

  • Point to each word on the page as you read. This beginning literacy strategy will assist children with making print/story/illustration connections. This skill also helps build a child’s tracking skills from one line of text to the next one.
    pointing
  • Read the title and ask your child to make a prediction. Beginning and seasoned readers alike need to make predictions before reading a story. This will go a long way to ensure that a child incorporates previewing and prediction in his or her own reading practices both now and in the future.
    Take “picture walks.” Help your child use the picture clues in most early readers and picture books to tell the story before reading.
  • Model fluency while reading, and bring your own energy and excitement for reading to your child. Both new and seasoned readers struggle with varying pitch, intonation and proper fluctuations when they read aloud. Older readers will benefit from shared reading (taking turns).
  • Ask your child questions after reading every book. Reading comprehension is the reason we read — to understand. The new CCORE standards assessing U.S. children’s readiness for the workplace and college ask children at all grade levels to compare and contrast their understanding of concepts. This takes practice.
  • Help your child explain his or her understanding of any given story in comparison to another. Have your child share a personal experience similar to a problem or theme within a story. Higher-order thinking skills (critical thinking) are skills children are expected to use in both written and oral assessments in school. There is no way for a teacher to ask every child to use a critical thinking skill every day. Parents can.

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  • Connect reading and writing if possible. The connection between reading, writing and discussion should be incorporated with daily literacy practice. Have a young child dictate to a parent who writes in a journal or on a sheet of paper. Modeling the formation of sentences aligned with the words of a story is crucial for a child to begin making a neural interconnectedness between reading and writing.
  • A child’s process of drawing pictures brings his or her personal creativity toward the story. Sharing these illustrations of experiences and individual interpretations related to the sentence he or she has created on the page is yet another step toward this early balanced literacy approach. 
  • Beginning and lifelong literacy is transformative and constantly growing. However, the process must begin when initially learning to read, and must be as intuitive to a child as when he or she learned to speak. This can happen through incorporating repetition, proper skills and modeling.Credit: edutopia.com
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Ten (10) Things that Happen to Our Mind when Reading

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Any book lover can let you know: diving into a great novel is an immersive experience that can make your brain wake up with imagery and feelings and even turn on your senses. It sounds sentimental, however there’s genuine, hard proof that supports these things happening to your brain when you read books. In reading, we can really physically change our brain structure, become more empathetic, and even trick our brains into thinking we’ve encountered what we’ve only read in novels.

  1. We make photos in our minds, even without being prompted:
    Reading books and different materials with clear imagery is not only fun, it additionally allows us to create worlds in our own minds. But did you realize that this happens regardless of the fact that you don’t mean it to? Researchers have observed that visual imagery is simply automatic. Participants were able to identify photos of objects faster if they’d just read a sentence that described the object visually, recommending that when we read a sentence, we naturally raise pictures of objects in our minds.
  2. Spoken word can put your brain to work:
    Critics are quick to dismiss audiobooks as a sub-par reading experience, but research has shown that the act of listening to a story can light up your brain. When we’re told a story, not only are language processing parts of our brain activated, experiential parts of our brain come alive, too. Hear about food? Your sensory cortex lights up, while motion activates the motor cortex. And while you may think that this is limited only to audiobooks or reading, experts insist that our brains are exposed to narratives all day long. In fact, researcher Jeremy Hsu shares, “Personal stories and gossip make up 65% of our conversations.” So go ahead, listen to your coworker’s long and drawn out story about their vacation, tune in to talk radio, or listen to an audio book in the car: it’s good exercise for your brain.
  3. Reading about experiences is almost the same as living it:
    Have your ever felt so connected to a story that it’s as if you experienced it in real life? There’s a good reason why: your brain actually believes that you have experienced it. When we read, the brain does not make a real distinction between reading about an experience and actually living it. Whether reading or experiencing it, the same neurological regions are stimulated. Novels are able to enter into our thoughts and feelings. While you can certainly hop into a VR game at the mall and have a great time, it seems that reading is the original virtual reality experience, at least for your brain.
  4. Different styles of reading create different patterns in the brain:
    Any kind of reading provides stimulation for your brain, but different types of reading give different experiences with varying benefits. Stanford University researchers have found that close literary reading in particular gives your brain a workout in multiple complex cognitive functions, while pleasure reading increases blood flow to different areas of the brain. They concluded that reading a novel closely for literary study and thinking about its value is an effective brain exercise, more effective than simple pleasure reading alone.
  5. Want to really give your brain a workout?
    Pick up a foreign language novel. Researchers at Lund University in Sweden tested students from the Swedish Armed Forces Interpreter Academy, where intensive language learning is the norm, and medicine and cognitive science students at Umea University. Both groups underwent brain scans just prior to and right after a three-month period of intensive study. Amazingly, the language students experienced brain growth in both the hippocampus and the cerebral cortex, with different levels of brain growth according to the amount of effort and learning students experienced in that period of time.
  6. Your brain adapts to reading e-books in seven days:
    If you’re used to reading paper books, picking up an e-reader can feel very awkward at first. But experts insist that your brain can adopt the new technology quickly, no matter your age or how long you’ve been reading on paper. In fact, the human brain adapts to new technology, including e-reading, within seven days.
  7. E-books lack in spatial navigability:
    Although your brain can adapt to e-books quickly, that doesn’t mean they offer the same benefits as a paperback. Specifically, they lack what’s called “spatial navigability,” physical cues like the heft of pages left to read that give us a sense of location. Evolution has shaped our minds to rely on location cues to find our way around, and without them, we can be left feeling a little lost. Some e-books offer little in the way of spatial landmarks, giving a sense of an infinite page. However, with page numbers, percentage read, and other physical cues, e-books can come close to the same physical experience as a paper book.
  8. Story structure encourages our brains to think in sequence, expanding our attention spans:
    Stories have a beginning, middle, and end, and that’s a good thing for your brain. With this structure, our brains are encouraged to think in sequence, linking cause and effect. The more you read, the more your brain is able to adapt to this line of thinking. Neuroscientists encourage parents to take this knowledge and use it for children, reading to kids as much as possible. In doing so, you’ll be instilling story structure in young minds while the brain has more plasticity, and the capacity to expand their attention span.
  9. Reading changes your brain structure (in a good way):
    Not everyone is a natural reader. Poor readers may not truly understand the joy of literature, but they can be trained to become better readers. And in this training, their brains actually change. In a six-month daily reading program from Carnegie Mellon, scientists discovered that the volume of white matter in the language area of the brain actually increased. Further, they showed that brain structure can be improved with this training, making it more important than ever to adopt a healthy love of reading.
  10. Deep reading makes us more empathetic:
    It feels great to lose yourself in a book, and doing so can even physically change your brain. As we let go of the emotional and mental chatter found in the real world, we enjoy deep reading that allows us to feel what the characters in a story feel. And this in turn makes us more empathetic to people in real life, becoming more aware and alert to the lives of others.

    Source: infoedu.com