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Mar 13, 2018 |
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A child's success as a reader begins much earlier than the first day of school. Although teaching someone to read seems like a daunting challenge (including what to read or how to read to your child) don’t let that stop you from making reading fun and fundamental! Below are some habits you or any family member can use to help your child on their lifelong journey of learning through reading. NCFL-Education Solutions Birth to Two Years Babies are born ready to learn, and you provide many opportunities for your child’s learning! Infants and toddlers learn from everything around them. Responding when your baby makes sounds—crying, babbling, or cooing—provides the foundation for learning to talk, one of the most important skills for a child to develop during the early years. Your child listens and wants to imitate what she/he hears you say and sees you do. These early experiences will help your child become a successful reader later on. Talk, Talk, Talk: talk about what you are doing and what your child is doing throughout the day; for example, describe your everyday activities, like changing your child’s diaper or feeding him or her. While your child may not be talking yet, treat this talk-time like a conversation. Three to Five Years Mother and child reading togetherAs children get a little older, their everyday experiences continue to help them learn. From taking a walk and describing things they see, to scribbling with crayons and scrap paper, children are building important skills, such as vocabulary and early writing. Preschool children enjoy playing with language—saying rhymes, singing songs, and talking about the books you read together. Word Play: read stories with rhymes and recite nursery rhymes with your child. Pause at the end of a sentence and let your child fill in the predictable word; this encourages your child to listen carefully. Six to Eight Years Starting elementary school is an exciting time for children. They look forward to learning to read and having a parent as their special partner in learning. Continue to talk, read, and write together. Encourage your child to talk about what he or she is learning. What subjects interest your child? Talk with your child's teachers about ways to support learning at home. Read, Listen, Read: First have your child read part of a story, and then you read the next part. Taking turns while you read is fun for both you and your child! It also allows your child to become a fluent reader. Fluency is defined as the ability to express oneself easily and articulately. The more you read together, the more practice your child will have with this skill. Harvard Graduate School of Education has created a slideshow on what can parents and educators do to promote reading for fun throughout their academic development. Check it out:

Reading should be a special time you both look forward to. Always try to pick a comfortable spot to read and one with plenty of light. Also, make it a routine—whether it's right before breakfast, or right before bed, set aside a special time every day. Lastly, give lots of encouragement while reading together!

PS: For more even more tips and book suggestions by age, check out the Cultivating Readers guide and resources, created by NCFL:


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NCFL Partners

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Toyota Family Learning Program

Toyota, one of the nation's most successful corporations, began a partnership with NCFL in 1991. In addition to a commitment of more than $50 million, Toyota has also contributed a wealth of in-kind support — including advertising, planning and management expertise — to form one of the most progressive corporate/nonprofit partnerships in the nation.

Three major programs have been developed through the Toyota partnership based on the family literacy model of parents and children learning together. These models have influenced federal and state legislation, leveraged local dollars to support family literacy and led to successful programs being replicated across the country.

Read more about Toyota's commitment to communities

Dollar General Literacy Foundation

The Dollar General Literacy Foundation began partnering with NCFL in 2006. A signature effort of this partnership is the National Literacy Directory, a resource that launched in 2010 and strives to reach the 35.7 million adults ages 18-64 who do not have a high school diploma by guiding them to better-paying, more stable jobs.

The National Literacy Directory contains over 10,000 educational agencies located across the United States and has a dedicated toll-free number to help support those wanting to pursue educational opportunities in their communities.

Dollar General also provides support for development of NCFL’s innovative family learning resources centered on financial literacy and Parent and Child Together (PACT) Time®.

Go to Dollar General Literacy Foundation's website

PNC Grow Up Great

PNC Grow Up Great believes deeply in the power of high-quality early childhood education and provides innovative opportunities that assist families, educators and community organizations to enhance children's learning and development.

PNC Grow Up Great has partnered with NCFL since 1994 to advance early literacy and learning resources for vulnerable families. Current efforts supported by PNC include a collaborative initiative in two at-risk Detroit communities that engages families to support vocabulary development for children under age 5.

NCFL's work is also featured on the PNC Grow Up Great Lesson Center website. The Lesson Center includes over 100 free, high-quality preschool lesson plans and research-based instructional techniques and strategies. All lesson plans contain Home/School Connections printouts, in English and Spanish, to help families extend and reinforce the learning at home.

PNC Grow Up Great

W.K. Kellogg Foundation

NCFL has partnered with the W.K. Kellogg Foundation since January 2016. The Foundation is currently supporting a dynamic two-generation family engagement initiative that expands NCFL's Family Learning model into select Head Start programs nationwide. NCFL's model presents an innovative way to support Head Start programs in meeting outcomes aligned with the Parent, Family, and Community Engagement Framework.

Visit the Foundation website

Better World Books

Better World Books selected NCFL as its domestic literacy partner in 2005 and has raised more than $1 million to support NCFL’s work and donated more than $15 million to support literacy and education efforts worldwide. Better World Books is a triple-bottom-line online bookstore, working equally for people, planet and profit. Each book purchased powers literacy across the world.

Better World Books’ support of NCFL has provided books and workshops to families after Hurricane Katrina, donated large book donations to literacy programs and families nationwide and fueled innovative family literacy and learning programs and resources in libraries, schools and community-based organizations. In addition to their work for literacy and education, Better World Books diverts books from landfills and offers carbon-balanced shipping.

Better World Books

Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation

In 2013, NCFL began a partnership with the Gates Foundation to ensure that our network of students, teachers, and families thrive among recent shifts in standards-based education. NCFL will leverage the unique strengths of our award-winning Wonderopolis® platform to build upon the growing teacher network that uses the resource for core daily instruction and as a basis for professional growth.

Foundation Website

Goodling Institute

NCFL has partnered with the Goodling Institute for Research and Family Literacy at Penn State University since 2001, working collaboratively to further research, professional development, and policy efforts for family literacy and intergenerational learning.

The work of this partnership includes, but is not limited to, a strong research strand at NCFL's national annual convening, the Families Learning Summit; advocacy for family literacy and learning to further support for and inclusion of family-focused education in new and ongoing legislation; and dissemination of the latest research, resources, information, and professional development opportunities for literacy and learning practitioners and advocates, including the Certificate in Family Literacy provided by the Goodling Institute.

Goodling Institute for Research and Family Literacy at Penn State University