Ask Reading Kingdom

What can I do to meaningfully support literacy in my home?


The home has long been a center for encouraging literacy. Now it has become even more important. Opportunities and demands for reading are becoming less frequent in much of the world as the use of high tech devices increases. Though high tech devices require activities like texting so literacy is not entirely absent, in the main, literacy demands in the high tech realm are minimal. So if literacy is to maintain a significant presence, the home becomes crucial.

To encourage this to happen, you need to be a role model. If parents do not read, it is far less likely that their children will do so. It’s important that children see adults using reading and writing on a steady basis. With that as a foundation, the next step is to make literacy an important part of your interaction. You can do this in numerous ways. These include reading books together, discussing books you’ve read, reading books aloud, listening together to books on tape, playing games like Scrabble that involve the written word, using the library together, etc.

With all the activities, it is important that they be pleasurable. Aside from school and work settings, reading and writing are optional. By definition, one can opt out of optional activities—and that will happen if the activity is not rewarding.  So it’s essential not to impose school type exam questions about material your child is reading or writing.  Good discussions are wonderful, but they should involve a relaxed and steady give-and-take. They should not be used as tests to determine how much of the material the child mastered.

As with the establishment of any routine, the implementation of literacy-based activities takes time and effort. But once the routine is in place, the payoff can be enormous. The skills that are acquired are irreplaceable and the pleasures are great.

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