START-Engaging Parents of Students with Disabilities

Offering programs and services that support the engagement of families to improve outcomes for students.

 

Literacy

Literacy

A Resource Collection for Families: Engaging Families in Literary Achievement

Research shows that proficiency in reading by the end of third grade enables students to shift from learning to read to reading to learn, and to master the more complex subject matter they encounter in the 4th grade curriculum and beyond. Children benefit greatly when parents and educators work together to support literacy development, promoting faster development and also ensuring that trouble spots are identified early. These resources will help facilitate parent engagement in early reading achievement.


The collection is divided into three sections:

  1. Supporting literacy in your child’s classroom: (a) Understanding what your child is learning; (b) Working with your child’s teacher
  2. Activities to promote literacy at home
  3. Promoting Literacy achievement in your school

Resources that are included:

  • Links to websites with resource documents discussing evidence-based programs and activities to increase literacy achievement. Documents include one-page overviews, infographics, briefs, fact sheets, training materials and checklists in English and in Spanish. Many can be made available in other languages as needed.
  • Videos and webinars that focus specifically on Literacy activities

Supporting Literacy Achievement in the Classroom

These resources will help you:

    • Engage with your child’s teachers to better understand grade level curriculum and what is expected in their classroom
    • Recognize reading problems and when and how to approach the teacher for help

Understanding What Your Child is Learning

Play Areas that Support Literacy
Have you ever visited your child’s classroom? Did you notice the colorful pictures on the walls? Maybe you saw cards with printed “site words” posted around the room. This brief (5:05 min) video from the Fred Rogers Center will give you some ideas of how your child’s teacher promotes literacy in the Classroom.

The Top 5 Skills Needed for Childhood Literacy
Literacy skills are all the skills needed for reading and writing. They include such things as awareness of the sounds of language, awareness of print, and the relationship between letters and sounds. This online article from the Very Well Family website explains some of the skills contained within the larger concept of literacy.

Reading Readiness Checklist
In this guide, you’ll learn about the skills for reading readiness. Check out the individual tip sheets below to discover more than 20 fun ways you can help your preschooler or kindergartner develop in these areas.

  • Print Awareness  |  A child who has print awareness understands that print represents words that have meaning and are related to spoken language. Without print awareness, children are unable to develop other literacy skills such as reading, spelling, and handwriting.
  • Letter Knowledge  |  Letter knowledge is recognizing the letters and knowing the letter names and sounds. Young children gain an awareness of letters as they play with alphabet shapes, start to notice letters in books, and realize that their name begins with a specific letter.
  • Phonological Awareness  |   Phonological awareness is the ability to hear and identify the various sounds in spoken words.
  • Listening Comprehension  |  Listening comprehension is preparation for reading comprehension. It isn’t just hearing what is said—it is the ability to understand the words and relate to them in some way.
  • Motivation to Read  |  Also called “Print Motivation,” it is a child’s interest in and enjoyment of books. A child with print motivation enjoys being read to, plays with books, pretends to write, asks to be read to, and likes trips to the library. Motivation to read may seem like a simple thing, but if a child doesn’t have that internal desire, teaching them to read will be quite challenging.

Working with Your Child’s Teacher

Parent Teacher Conference
Parent-teacher conferences are a great opportunity for families to sit down one-on-one with your child’s teacher and talk about school progress. This article provides tips to make the most of this time. 

Reunión entre Padres y Maestros
Los padres suelen asistir a la escuela para la reunión entre padres y maestros aproximadamente en esta época del año. Para muchas familias, esta es la primera oportunidad de reunirse individualmente con el maestro/a de su hijo/a para conversar sobre el avance en los estudios. Es importante que aproveche la reunión para compartir sus impresiones del año escolar y para hacer todas las preguntas que tenga.

Recognizing Reading Problems
Learning to read is a challenge for many kids, but most can become good readers if they get the right help. Parents have an important job in recognizing when a child is struggling and knowing how to find help. This tip sheet from Reading Rockets will help you know what to look for.

Reconociendo los Problemas con la Lectura
Aprender a leer es un reto para muchos niños, pero la mayoría de los niños pueden llegar a ser buenos lectores si reciben la ayuda correcta. Los padres juegan un papel muy importante en reconocer si uno de sus hijos está teniendo problemas con la lectura y a donde deben a acudir para encontrar ayuda. Esta hoja de consejos de Reading Rockets le ayudará a saber qué buscar.

Signs of a Reading Problem
Does your child have a reading problem? This info sheet goes even more in depth to help you identify some of the signs that your child may be a struggling reader. You’ll also find possible causes of reading difficulties as well as reasons this may not be a reading problem.

When to Call Your Child’s Teacher
Some parents are reluctant to contact their child’s teacher. Don’t be! A quick conversation or e-mail exchange can solve simple misunderstandings, or make it clear that a longer, more formal conversation is needed.

Cuándo Llamar al Profesor de su Hijo
No obstante, algunos padres se muestran aún renuentes a entrar en contacto con el profesor de su hijo. ¡Deje la renuencia a un lado! Una rápida plática o un intercambio de correos electrónicos pueden resolver malos entendidos sencillos, o dejar en claro que se requiere una conversación más larga y formal.

Talk With Your Child’s Teacher
Many teachers say that they don’t often receive information from parents about problems at home. Many parents say that they don’t know what the school expects from their children—or from them. Sharing information is essential and both teachers and parents are responsible for making it happen. This online article, available in English and Spanish, provides steps you can take to develop a strong partnership with your child’s teachers.

Activities to Promote Literacy at Home

These resources will help you:

    • Understand the importance of reading at home with your child
    • Learn different ways to help your child develop the “Big Five” reading readiness skills at home

Reading Aloud to Build Comprehension
When you share books with your children, they are learning to think and act like good readers—without even knowing it! You can help them get even more from reading time when you talk to them as you read.

Leer en Voz Alta para Mejorar la Comprensión
Cuando compartir libros con sus hijos, aprenden a pensar y a actuar como buenos lectores, sin siquiera saberlo! Usted puede ayudarles a obtener más de la lectura de tiempo cuando hablas con ellos mientras usted lee.

Why We all Need to Start Reading Aloud to Our Kids
In this (11+ min) video, researcher Keisha Siriboe advocates for more parent-child reading aloud to promote parent-child bonding as well as effective literacy development.

Tips for Teaching Your Kids About Phonemes
It’s important that your child learns the sound associated with each letter. These individual sounds are called phonemes, and children who know about the connection between a letter and its phoneme have an easier time learning to read. This info sheet will give you tips to help you teach your child about phonemes.

Consejos para Enseñarle a su Niño los Fonemas
Sin embargo, es importante que su niño aprenda el sonido asociado a cada letra. Estos sonidos individuales se llaman fonemas, y los niños que saben algo acerca de la relación entre una letra y su fonema muestran que les hace más fácil aprender a leer.

Becoming Aware of Print
This video (3:58 min) teaches the importance of building Print Awareness in early readers. (Video provides captioned translation into several languages.)

Does Your Child Struggle with Reading? Learn How Accessible Instructional Materials (AIM) May Help
This pamphlet by the PACER Center explains Accessible Instructional Materials (AIM) and provides information to determine if your child needs AIM.

Reading
This video (3:38 min) illustrates how reading to your child helps build vocabulary. Children also learn about sequence and how a book is arranged. The emphasis is on reading to children in any language and building print motivation.

Promoting Literacy in Your School/District

These resources will help you:

    • Learn what good reading instruction in school should look like
    • Learn how to engage with your school to ensure that your student is receiving the best instruction

Advocating for My Child’s Literacy Needs
A literacy advocate supports or speaks out for someone else’s educational needs or rights in reading, writing, and language. This online article will help you embrace your role as an advocate and learn how to work together with your child’s school toward common goals.

Accessible Instructional Materials: Basics for Families
This booklet will help you and other members of your child’s Individualized Education Program (IEP) team decide: (1) Whether the student needs AIM, (2) What type of specialized format the student needs, (3) How to access the materials for the student, and (4) What supports the student needs to use AIM.

Materiales de Instrucción Accesibles (AIM): Información Básica para Familia
Este libreto ayudará a usted y a otros miembros del equipo del Programa de Educación Individualizada (Individualized Education Program—IEP) de su hijo(a) a decidir: (1) Si el estudiante necesita AIM, (2) Qué tipo de formato especializado se necesita, (3) Cómo tener acceso a los materiales para el estudiante, y (4) Qué clase de apoyo requiere el estudiante para usar AIM.

Is Your Child Benefiting from High-Quality Literacy Practices?
This informational sheet outlines five considerations for literacy practices for struggling readers.

Who’s Who in Your Child’s School
There are many people at your child’s school who are there to help your child learn, grow socially and emotionally, and navigate the school environment. This info sheet from Reading Rockets provides a selected list of who’s who at your school: the teaching and administrative staff as well as organizations at the district level. You might want to keep this list handy all year long.

Empowering Parents
This guide will help you build your child’s literacy skills at home, recognize signs of trouble, support your child as she enters school, and more.

Evidence-Based Practices at School: A Guide for Parents
This handout explains the meaning of “evidence-based practices” and why they are important. It also lists resources where parents can learn more.

Prácticas Escolares Basadas en Evidencia: Una Guía para los Padres
Esta hoja informativa explica el significado de “Prácticas Basadas en Evidencia” y por qué son importantes. También enlista recursos donde los padres pueden aprender más.

Conducting Universal Screening
In this video (4:23 min), an elementary school literacy coach discusses the purpose, scheduling, and administration of universal screening. She explains how the use of screening data has changed instruction at this school.

Recognition: Universal Screening & Progress Monitoring
Watch this video (2:03 min) and learn how the teachers use handheld devices to gather assessment information on children’s language and literacy skills.

SPAN’s START-EPSD Project is funded through a Cooperative Agreement with the New Jersey Department of Education, Office of Special Education Professional Development.