One Key to Reading Success
Western Regional IRA Conference
Dr. Barbara Honchell
University of North Carolina Wilmington
Dr. Sandy Jones
Saint Andrews Presbyterian College
Evidence says parent involvement will make
learning to read easier and more
meaningful. (Walde & Baker, 1990;
Education Alliance, 2007)
Parents play a significant role in helping
children to become readers and writers
when involvement is substantive, ongoing,
and consistent. (Henderson & Mapp,
Reading activity at home influences reading
achievement and reading attitudes.
Early literacy skills are
related to home
through the primary
years. (Rowe, 1991)
Most parents are willing to work with their
children but…they don’t know how to help.
(Chavkin & Williams, 1985)
Give yourself 5 points on each
question if you feel that what you are
doing is “excellent”,
0 points for “poor”, or any
score in between you
think you deserve.
1. My child sees me reading something
2. I have my own library card. We make
regular trips to the library.
3. Things to read are easy to find in our
4. Sometimes I talk with my child about
what I am reading.
5. My child and I often read things aloud to
Rating Scale: How did you
25-20 Excellent, you are right on track. Talk to
your child’s teacher for some new ideas.
19-15 Good work, you could try some suggestions
from your child’s teacher that will raise your
14-0 There are some easy things to do that would
really help your child. Your child’s teacher will be
glad to help you.
Read Something Every Day
• Read every day at a regular time.
• Read from a variety of materials
like magazines and newspapers.
• Choose what is interesting to you
and your child: sports, comics, or animal stories.
• Talk about what you read.
• Ask your child’s opinion about what he reads.
Have a Library Card and Make Regular
Trips to the Library
• Spend quality time with your child at the library.
• Encourage your child to look for many kinds of
• Take advantage of story hour, computer usage,
family night, summer reading clubs.
• Remember the librarian is there to help you.
• Get a family library card, it is free in most
• Use your school library as well as the public
Have Reading Materials in Easy to
Access Locations in Your House
• Turn off the TV and read regularly.
• Share stories at bedtime.
• Share your favorite childhood stories with your
• Talk about what you are reading together.
• Have books within easy reach.
Talk to Your Child about What You
are Reading or Watching on TV
• Ask questions about what you read.
• Talk about new words.
• Play word games like “I Spy”
Read Aloud to and with Your Child
• Read and reread favorite stories.
• Read with your child all school year long.
• Read with your child in the summertime.
• Take turns reading pages or reading in
• When your child is
reading to you, do not
correct a mistake if the
error makes sense.
• If a word is really hard,
tell your child the word
and move on.
• Reward your child’s reading efforts by
commenting on the things he/she is doing well.
• Some mistakes are okay. Don’t worry about every
mistake your child might make when reading.
Four Important Things to Keep in
Mind when Working with Parents
• Concrete Examples
• Opportunities for Reading
• Specific Praise
• Tools (bookmark example)
We cannot expect that parents will know what to
do to help just
because they are parents.
Parents must rely on us to
provide the information
about the literacy practices
that will best meet the
needs of their children.
(Honchell & Jones, 2008)