This is a guest post provided by Rainmaker Collective
In developed countries like the United States, literacy rates aren’t often a topic of discussion. The ability to read and write is a fundamental skill that almost feels intrinsic, something we didn’t learn, but naturally developed. In truth, literacy is a concentrated effort on the part of the child, their parents and their teachers. Literacy is also the product of a growth environment, a friendly setting which fosters imagination and exploration. In this regard, parents are essential to the learning process, contributing to a safe, happy space where their son or daughter can freely express their creativity. But the role of the mother and father doesn’t end there. As we describe some of their responsibilities in greater detail, we’ll enforce the true importance of parenting for literacy rates in America. We’ll touch on other influencers like public libraries as well, providing a concise overview of this somewhat complicated subject, starting with…
How Parents Can Help Their Children:
Parents are often swept up in their busy schedule, and it’s all too easy to neglect storytime. The 15 minutes they set aside every night to read their child a book can prove exhausting at the end of a long day, and they’ll sometimes head straight to bed instead of sitting with their son or daughter. Even if they’re tired, parents should make a point to fulfill this small obligation. It may not seem like very much, but research shows shared reading has a significant impact on an infant’s capacity for language. It improves both their vocabulary and attention span, setting the foundation for later learning. Mothers and fathers can employ other methods as well, teaching phonemic awareness through fun games. They can divide basic words into simple sounds to illustrate how they work, an exercise that strengthens their child’s ability to spell. It’s just one of many different strategies they can use. However they choose to approach their task, parents are integral to their son or daughter’s literacy. But they’ll often struggle to make progress if they don’t have access to age-appropriate reading material. This is unfortunate because government support for public libraries has remained on a steady downward trajectory since 2011 — and there’s more.
The State of Public Libraries in America
It’s expensive keeping pace with a child’s desire to read, and public libraries offer parents an affordable alternative to purchasing new books. They depend on these essential institutions to save them time and money, but federal funding is on the decline. What does this mean for literacy? Check out the infographic below.
It’s clear from the data that public libraries have an effect on literacy. They instill a lifelong love of reading at an early age, giving children the resources they need to develop and grow into competent, capable adults. Without libraries, literacy rates would suffer more than they already have.
Making a Difference
Parents are providers, of course, but they’re also teachers. They have a secondary responsibility to guide their children, encouraging their sons and daughters to read and write outside the classroom. In doing so, they help them to form beneficial habits which carry over into higher levels of education. To begin that journey, parents should start with something as simple as a storybook. They could choose “The Giving Tree” or “The Very Hungry Caterpillar.” Whatever they decide on, they’re making a significant difference in their child’s life.