Supporting reading continues to be one of the key struggles for all educators. Abraham Lincoln once stated “All that I have learned; I have learned from books.” Today, of course, reading takes on many forms besides the traditional print book. However, the need for basic literacy skills continues to be a struggle for many. As the holiday season is now over, we have a month or so before March Madness begins. It is probably a good time to remind parents and guardians what they can do to help students increase their reading fluency. It also seems like a good time to remember that browsers are based upon the “World-wide web”, so I looked to other English-speaking countries for their resources they share with parents. How do other nations promote the parental support of literacy?
I have included a list of suggestions and supports for parents from a number of places. The first comes from the Cabrillo (CA) Schools . Colorin Colorado provides reading tips as well for both English and Spanish speaking parents. Clayton County (GA) Schools provide another good list for parents to encourage literacy development. Dolly Parton has supported the development of the Imagination Library to support early reading and literacy. The US Department of Education provides a free pdf book on how to help your child become a better reader. This Canadian tip sheet was referenced in a Jamaican news article.
In Australia, Queensland’s State Library has created a Dads Read program to promote early literacy. New Zealand provides parental tips for supporting reading as well. A couple of years old, this Irish Times article has some excellent advice for parents. The Irish SchoolDays site also provides reading support tips for parents
Education Scotland has suggestions online for parents of early years, primary and secondary students. The Scottish Book Trust provides support for parents of those under five years old through its Book Bug program. The English site, Oxford Owl provides tips on helping parents deal with struggling readers and how to encourage reading in general.
The next question may be why is this important to educational technology staff? The answer is multifold. First, providing parental support and engagement resources should be a key feature of any school’s website. If educators want parental support, we need to make the necessary resources easy to find. This is also a great way to partner with the local public library and build a bridge between their programs for the earliest years and those for children entering pre-school and kindergarten. Another is simply the reminder of the need to look beyond our locality and ensure we are really using the “world-wide” web as effectively as possible. Other English-speaking countries are all great resources for materials that have a bit of a different perspective or point of view than what US schools and resources provide. Don’t forget to take advantage of the real richness and diversity available to us via today’s Internet.