Judy Bradbury in Education Week,
Judy Bradbury (www.judybradbury.com) is a literacy specialist who has taught students from preschool through college. The author of eleven books, Judy’s most recent release, Empowering Families: Practical Ways to Involve Parents in Boosting Literacy (Routledge, 2015), details field-tested afterschool programs that encourage family involvement in bolstering children’s literacy. Judy speaks often at conferences and offers lively, hands-on professional development workshops and on all aspects of literacy, parent involvement, and character education. She is also the author of The Mystery of the Barking Branches and the Sunken Ship, the first book in the Cayuga Island Kids series of young reader chapter books, scheduled for release in March 2021.
The fundamental goal of teaching is to motivate and guide the learner to dream, believe, strive, and achieve. When the home joins forces with the school in concerted and focused efforts to support and encourage children to reach their potential, the ultimate objective of education is realized. The circle of learning is complete.
After-school programs that foster family involvement within the school community while boosting literacy serve a dual purpose. When educators equip parents and caregivers with simple, effective means of bolstering their children’s literacy, a powerful partnership that impacts academic success is forged. Successful programs strive for inclusive events showcasing a variety of accessible suggestions, practical how-tos, engaging family-centered activities, positive connections, and common language.
Here are just a few examples of one-to-two hour after-school programs spotlighting literacy that educators interested in building and maintaining a dynamic school-home literacy team might offer throughout the school year.
- Explore how to develop and maintain the read-aloud habit, how to read aloud effectively to children from birth through high school, and why reading aloud daily is vital to academic success
- Investigate myriad ways to bolster literacy in the home every day
- Highlight fun, family-centric activities that will sustain and reinforce academic skills over summer and holiday breaks
- Compile a list of free family-friendly community and online resources that support literacy
- Host vibrant, multisensory cultural events that heighten awareness and celebrate diversity and books
- Detail simple methods for strengthening study skills and creating conducive study areas within the home setting
- Involve dads and other male caregivers in entertaining, participatory literacy-rich events
To put a literacy spin on a well-known saying: Give a family a reason to read and you plant a seed. Teach a family to read together and you cultivate a lifelong love of books and reading. When the school and home join forces through positive, synergistic, and ongoing programming, children benefit. When educators and parents partner to foster literacy, they reach, teach, and fortify the future. The circle of learning is complete. Boosting literacy begins with one book, one print-rich activity, one engaging family event. Make a remarkable difference in your school-home connection and impact your school community’s literacy one sure step at a time.