Imagine the backpack of a student you currently have in class or perhaps (for parent readers) your own child’s backpack. Unzip that backpack. What do you see in the open? What do you see inside each folder? What do you see that intentionally connects school to this child’s home?
Perhaps, with that last question, you saw a permission form to be signed by an adult or an announcement about an upcoming family literacy event. Perhaps you saw an assessment that required an adult’s signature or a reading log to be initialed by an adult. By chance, did you visualize a literacy kit tucked into that backpack?
The International Literacy Association (ILA), in standard four of their Standards for the Preparation of Literacy Professionals 2017, ask school teachers to “forge family, community, and school relationships to enhance students’ literacy learning.” What can it look like when teachers connect to their families for the purpose of improving literacy learning?
If children who have access to reading materials have better literacy outcomes, what are we doing to give students access to print reading materials when they are outside of school and removed from classroom and school libraries? Let’s sneak a peek back into that backpack. Now, imagine a literacy kit designed to support families in building their at-home reading materials and reading resources.
The ILA Literacy Now blog post “Resources to Support Family Literacy” offers ways for schools to foster family literacy outside of the classroom, noting “reading kits” for students to take home (Stinchcomb, 2017). In this same post, the author provides other ways for educators to engage families. Those include sending books homes for children to read aloud to a caregiver, and assigning interactive literacy experiences between a child and their caregiver. Artful Reading (AR) on the Go, a literacy program by the Collaborative for Teaching and Learning (CTL), is a resource built to intentionally connect school to home and provide caregivers with at-home literacy kits.
In the National Education Association (NEA) article “Raising Readers: What Parents Can Do,” the author provides twenty pieces of advice for caregivers when it comes to raising readers including talk and build vocabulary, model reading, point out print, make everyone comfortable, be an active reader, discuss what you read, ask questions when you read, and have fun. AR on the Go follows to NEA’s guidance and supports caregivers in creating literacy-rich, arts-infused literacy experiences at home.
In her blog post 4 Tips for Engaging Caregivers in Literacy, educator Jennifer Wright asks her readers, “In what ways do you partner with families to support at-home literacy practices?” AR on the Go at-home literacy kits are one way to partner with families to support at-home literacy practices. What will your families receive when they open their AR on the Go kits? Each kit includes the following:
· An engaging, high quality picture book
· A blend of informational and literary resources
· Music, dance, drama, and/or visual arts materials
· Social emotional learning tools
· A user friendly guidebook
Visit our online store to peruse the available titles and learn about what is included in each kit.
With AR on the Go at-home literacy kits, preschool children will work toward reaching critical milestones including social and emotional, language and communication, brain development, and movement and physical development. These milestones are critical for kindergarten readiness. For all learners, AR on the Go at-home literacy kits support language and vocabulary development through reading, writing, speaking and listening activities, adult to child and child to adult discourse, social and emotional learning, problem-solving, critical thinking, and creativity. They are supported through guided interactions with a text, pretend play, real-world experiences, cross-curricular connections, informational resources, tools for healthy social and emotional resources, arts materials, and much more!
Partner with CTL to put AR on the Go at-home literacy kits in the backpacks of your students and in the hands of your families!
International Literacy Association. (n.d.). Standards for the preparation of literacy professionals 2017. Retrieved November 21, 2022, from https://www.literacyworldwide.org/get-resources/standards/standards-2017
National Education Association. (2021, January 28). Raising readers: What parents can do. Retrieved November 21, 2022, from https://www.nea.org/professional-excellence/student-engagement/tools-tips/raising-readers-what-parents-can-do
Stinchcomb, S. (2017, November 2). Resources to Support Family Literacy. International Literacy Association. Retrieved November 18, 2022, from https://www.literacyworldwide.org/blog/literacy-now/2017/11/02/resources-to-support-family-literacy