Family literacy involves literacy activities, which provide literacy skill-building opportunities for young children, while enhancing literacy skill development of all members in the family. The primary activity associated with literacy is reading; however, there are many other ways that families can carry out literacy activities at home, such as poetry, songs, and using picture books. However, one of the most effective ways to promote family literacy in the home is storytelling.
Storytelling is a fantastic way to foster family literacy because it encourages all family members to engage in storytelling. Storytelling is a social experience that contains an oral narrative, which incorporates linguistic features that demonstrate an understanding of language that goes beyond conversation. Stories can be told about family histories or about recent family outings. The key is to engage all family members in storytelling, especially those who are currently building their literacy skills.
A great way to encourage storytelling is to have an older family member tell the story about a major family event, such as a birthday, wedding, graduation, or birth. After the initial story is told, the older family member can ask the younger family member or the family member building their literacy skills to retell the story in their own words. If the child or family member misses an important element or mispronounces key vocabulary words such as locations, names, or events, then the older family member can help them pronounce the word properly. Doing so, will help build vocabulary, as well as aid with recalling information and the sequencing of events.
Research shows that children’s motivation to do well in school is influenced by the educational achievement and involvement of their parents. Research also shows that parental involvement greatly influences their children’s attendance, motivation, behavior, self awareness, and academic achievement. Therefore, family and parental involvement is very important in the acquisition of language and building literacy skills.
There are components that are essential to promoting family literacy activities and raising children with strong literacy skills. The Latino Literacy Project provides advice and resources to educators and families that advance academic success. The Project offers workshops and online webinars that provide educators and parents with skills and tips that are necessary to promote literacy skills.