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Engaging Parents in Literacy Learning

Corwin Press
Students whose parents are involved in the academic school experience tend to be good readers and are successful in school. Even for those who struggle and perhaps read below grade level, if their parents are involved in school, then parents provide a support system to ensure achievement. Use the template in this article to generate ideas both from teachers and from parents themselves about how to engage parents with literacy assignments.


Engaging parents substantively in their children’s literacy learning will be rewarding for both. The table below provides you with a few ideas to consider. Please complete the figure with your own ideas on how you can substantively engage parents in literacy learning appropriate for your standards-based content. Think about sharing this template with parents so they know how you will teach, what you expect, and how they will be asked to support literacy learning at home.

Engaging Parents in Literacy Learning
Expectations of Daily PracticeIdea Your Own Ideas
Print RichAsk parents to provide comments on student writing after being given the rubric. Post in the classroom.

Ask parents to share their writing and post or contribute a favorite read to the classroom library.
Ask students to preview a text with a family member.

Ask students to interview a family member regarding a concept being studied and write down responses.

Ask students to read to a parent. The parent will summarize what the student reads. Reverse the roles.
Read to and WithAsk a family member to read a text with a student, with both completing a reflection.

How do their reflections compare and contrast?

Why do you suppose their reflections are different?
Teach, Model,
and Practice Strategies
Provide parents with questions to ask the student after the student has read the text assigned.

Questions should relate to prediction, connections, visualization, evaluation, or other comprehension strategies.
Once a week, expect students to read for 20 minutes at home and a family member to note that the student completed the task, after the accountability is written.  

As a grade, team, or school, you may decide that each teacher will format a template that is specific to his or her class and share with parents. This type of systematic effort pays off in improvements in student achievement. Each of these ideas can be modified for the student to engage with any family member, either younger or older. Reading to a younger child enhances confidence and builds fluency, and is good literacy practice for both.

Taylor, R. (2007). Improving reading, writing and content learning for students in grades 4-12. Thousand Oaks, CA: Corwin Press.
Improving Reading, Writing and Content Learning for Students in Grades 4-12