Research shows that when families read together, learning happens and memories are made that last a lifetime. While National Family Literacy Day is celebrated each year on November 1, there’s no reason not to continue the celebration all month long!

Family literacy is about family members enhancing reading skills with things they do together. Family literacy should incorporate a variety of tools: books with words, picture books, storytelling, dramatic play and more.

One thing parents or caregivers can do is make up fun activities that involve reading. For example, if an adult is cooking, she can make up a scavenger hunt around the kitchen for things that start with different letters or ask the child to follow the recipe, line by line. Also, remember that reading isn’t only a sit-down activity. There are many opportunities to practice reading outside the home. During a walk or drive to school, parents might ask a child to read the signs on buildings or point out everything that begins with a certain letter.

Components of a good family literacy program involve the entire family – children of all ages, parents, grandparents, etc. – regardless of the reading ability of each person. Adults should read to children in whichever language they are most comfortable. If parents don’t know how to read they can open up a book and invent the story, or share a personal story from their childhood.

In addition to parents, grandparents or other caregivers, one benefit of having older kids teach younger kids is that the older children actually learn more. For example, when an older child reads alone, he or she reads fast, but when reading to a younger child, the older one might have to explain vocabulary words, concepts and story lines. This also makes the older child a more confident reader.

Share these tips for National Family Literacy Day and keep the momentum going all month long:

  • Use everyday activities to help kids learn
  • Make the library a regular family destination
  • Encourage older kids to share books
  • Provide props or materials for dramatic play/storytelling
  • Read to or with your child at least 20 minutes each day

Visit ReadOnArizona.org for more tools and resources, and visit TodayInAZ.org for daily activities you can take to support literacy and learning at home.

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