I’m a huge fan of anything that gets kids (and adults) reading. I’m even more excited when I hear about literacy initiatives happening in my own community. I recently got to chat with Dale Ho, an amazing individual who’s created programs that get parents and kids reading together.
Amy: Tell us about some of the literacy programs and events you’ve spearhead in your community.
Dale: I currently facilitate a fun-filled after school literacy based group. This private program is specially designed for beginner readers from JK/SK and up. The idea behind this series is simply to engage children in quality literacy-based activities whilst reinforcing basic reading skills and strategies.
“A child that is actively and genuinely engaged will learn.”
I have also just very recently created Share-A-Story, a free community-based program developed all in an effort to (1) increase awareness surrounding children’s literacy (2) support parents and caregivers throughout communities and (3) provide books to stock our classroom libraries, children’s hospital playrooms, waiting areas and wherever there is a need.
Once a month, families can come out and enjoy story time with me -and on occasion joined by special guests- all in a casual setting at select locations within the community.
Amy: How (and why) do you get parents involved in literacy?
Dale: “Parents are their child’s first teacher.”
Share-A-Story is built around the premise of the family unit and building community, and what better way to promote literacy and get everyone involved than by gathering the family together to share a story? Having said that, one of the goals of Share-A-Story is also to provide ongoing support to parents and one way I achieve this is by sharing an easy to make literacy based activity at each story-time which parents can use to seamlessly support their child’s learning at home.
“Parents as partners in education.”
As part of my private after school programming, children are provided with books (levelled readers) to keep and are encouraged to share these each week with parents and other family members.
Amy: How do you know when you’ve really piqued a child’s interest in reading and writing?
Dale: When they WANT to read and write over and over and over again without being prompted to do so, there’s also a sense of excitement and confidence in achievement that goes along with that.
Amy: How do you engage reluctant readers, or children who are a little bit older?
Dale: There can be several reasons a child becomes a reluctant reader. A reluctant reader can show very little to no interest in reading. One great way to engage young readers, especially reluctant readers, is to read aloud together, choose high-interest reading material, and make it an enjoyable experience and never a chore.
Try different genres ie comics, magazines, non fiction., and let them have some choice.
Amy: What steps can parents take to ensure that their child’s love of reading continues into adulthood?
Dale: “Literacy starts at birth and lasts a lifetime!”
Literacy is all around us, it encompasses us…parents can help to create a literacy or print rich environment filled with opportunity to interact and practise each day. Have books, magazines and newspapers easily and readily accessible to children throughout the day.
Be a role model, let them see you reading.
Share stories together every chance you get. Remember, stories don’t have to come from the pages of a book, and you can make reading fun!
Amy: What can families do to support their child’s teachers in fostering a love of literacy?
Dale: It’s key to keep those lines of communication open. Discuss your child’s strengths and areas of need and together build on them, streamlining continuity between school and home.
Amy: What’s on your wish list for community literacy initiatives? What do you hope to see happen in the future?
Dale: The plan is to further continue to support and educate our children and their families by creating more quality community programming that’s readily and easily accessible to all whilst catering to the differing needs of each child.
Dale Ho is an author, educator and founder of The Complete Family with a goal to provide quality programming and support to children and their families. Her work can be found at:
Amy Leask is VP of Enable Education. She gives a big old standing ovation to anyone or anything that encourages reading, writing and great discussions.
Character Development 3 family learning 1 literacy 2 parent resources 1