McCoach, et al. (2006) stated that “differences among schools may be largely a function of the differences among their students prior to school entry and that the widening of the achievement gap may result from differential growth rates during non-instructional periods” such as summer recesses. They indicated that the widening of the literacy gap during non-instructional periods may be occurring because of differences in family literacy practices, and that “If educators hope to close the reading achievement gap, they should consider concentrating their efforts on non-instructional periods” (2006, p.26).
In my short-lived, first attempt at blogging, I noted research that spells out what parents of successful readers do with their children. Then, in my second post, I said that, perhaps, it's a bit more than that. Reading with children, after all, may look entirely different from one family to the next. When looking at research, improving parents' "teaching" effectiveness seems to be a logical "next step" when it comes to children and literacy success.
Book Bums wants parents to be excited about snuggling up to read with their children, but we also want them to be equipped to make the most of the time they're investing so that their children will enjoy reading and will learn to read well. I believe that parental support is no longer an option. It is an essential ingredient in the education of our children.
What parents have done (or haven't done) before their children enter kindergarten has already set the stage for their children's literacy success. From there, teachers try to fill in gaps for students who are "behind" and they strive to teach next steps for the rest.
Even the most knowledgeable, well-intentioned teacher is limited as to what s/he can do for each child in a classroom filled with two dozen children, each with vastly varied needs. I have been teaching for nearly 23 years, I have almost completed my doctorate with a focus on early childhood literacy, and I love children with all that I am, and yet some days, as I'm hugging my students good-bye, I ask myself, "Did I even look into her eyes, today? Did I even hear his voice?" How could that kind of teaching ever take the place of a parent's? It couldn't!
We can teach parents how to effectively interact with their children so that they, indeed, raise readers. That's why Book Bums exists!
Look for more information on Reading Foundations, our workshops for parents and their preschool children.