Family Literacy

What is Family Literacy?

Family literacy focusses on parents, grandparents and other family members to improve the reading and writing skills of the whole family.

By reading to children and engaging in fun literacy activities regularly, adults actively keep their own skills sharp and also help children improve their skills.

Family literacy activities strengthen the relationship between family members which, in turn, encourages lifelong learning.

Without adult support and a strong foundation at home, a child is less likely to be successful and engaged in school.

Family Literacy Statistics

  • Children spend five times as much time outside the classroom as they do in school, so parents and caregivers need the tools to support their learning (The Read-Aloud Handbook, Jim Trelease, 2006).
  • Children whose parents are involved with them in family literacy activities score 10 points higher on standardized reading tests (The Effect of Family Literacy Interventions On Children’s Acquisition of Reading: From Kindergarten to Grade 3, Conducted by Monique Sénéchal for the National Center for Family Literacy, 2006).
  • One year of parental education has a bigger positive impact on whether a son or daughter will attend a postsecondary institution than an extra $50,000 in parental income (Higher Education Quality Council of Ontario, 2011)
  • A mother’s reading skill is the greatest factor to affect her children’s future academic success, outweighing other factors, like neighborhood and family income (National Institute of Health, 2010).
  • Parents’ reading habits play a large role in determining how often kids read: 57% of kids who are frequent readers have parents who read books 5–7 days per week, compared to only 15% of kids who are infrequent readers (Kids and Family Reading Report – Scholastic, 2017).
  • Children of low-literate parents are exposed to 30,000,000 fewer words and enter kindergarten with a much larger skills gap than their peers (The Case for Investment in Adult Basic Education, Kevin Morgan, Dr. Peter Waite, Michele Diecuch, March 2017). 
  • Almost 40% of Canadian youth do not have suitable literacy skills (TD Canada Trust, Literacy Matters: A Call to Action).

Programs

  • Family Literacy Day takes place every January 27th to raise awareness about the importance of reading and engaging in literacy activities as a family.

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  • HSBC Family Literacy First is a program that aims to bring parents and children together to practice family literacy through free online resources.

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