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Building Family Literacy

September 25, 2017


“Candace” is the mother of a young child beginning school this fall. Until now, she has been able to meet his every need. But the realization that she cannot help him with kindergarten level schoolwork has motivated her to learn to read.


“I feel so bad for my son because I cannot help him with his homework. He deserves that and I am going to learn to read for him,” she explains. Her eagerness to learn is apparent to her tutors, as she takes notes and asks for more lessons after every class.


Candace has many words memorized and is quite perceptive, which enables her to decipher text which betrays her true abilities. In reality, she does not know the sounds letters make, the purpose and properties of vowels, etc. This, of course, limits her a great deal.


As she learns, there are jaw-dropping “Aha!” moments every few minutes.


“I never knew that,” “Ohhhh,” and, “That makes sense,” are the announcements of epiphanies as she scribbles in her notebook so she doesn't forget.


It is a safe bet Candace will be able to help her son very soon.


“The substantial relationship between parent involvement for the school and reading comprehension levels of fourth-grade classrooms is obvious, according to the U.S. Department of Education. Where parent involvement is low, the classroom mean average (reading score) is 46 points below the national average. Where involvement is high, classrooms score 28 points above the national average - a gap of 74 points. Even after controlling for other attributes of communities, schools, principals, classes, and students, that might confound this relationship, the gap is 44 points.”

U.S. Department of Education. 1996. Reading Literacy in the United States: Findings From the IEA Reading Literacy Study.


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