What Parents Can Do to Help Their Children’s Literacy Skills in English
By Charlotte Johnson, ESOL Teacher
reading at home. Show your child the importance of reading by reading
books, magazines, and newspapers in front of your child and discussing
your enjoyment of reading.
and tell stories to your child on a regular basis. Reading stories in
the child’s native language is very important. If you choose to read
stories in English, be sure to choose ones that you are comfortable
and strengthen the native language at home. Children who know their
native language well can transfer the concepts to English more easily
than learning the concepts in English first. For example, a child who
learns to tell time in his or her native language needs only to learn
the new vocabulary in English.
your child does not know how to read and write in his or her native
language, don’t be afraid to teach your child while he or she is also
learning to read and write in English. Many parents are afraid that
their child will become confused, but most children will be able to sort
the languages out.
your child already knows how to read and write in the native language,
learning literacy skills in English will usually be easier. Be sure to
keep your child reading and writing in the native language as well. If
your child is resistant (which is common), you might want to have your
child attend a program for keeping the native language alive.
an active interest in your child’s reading and writing by asking your
child to read you books brought from school and by discussing his or her
writing. You might start the books by looking at the pictures with
your child to activate your child’s memory of the vocabulary.
enhance your child’s enjoyment of reading, visit the local libraries
and attend story hours and other library activities for children.
with audiotapes available in most libraries are a great way to allow
your child to improve reading skills in English. They provide a native
pronunciation model of new vocabulary words and allow your child to be
exposed to stories that may be above his or her reading level but very
interesting and stimulating. They can be listened to repeatedly for
extra exposure. Parents may also improve their own English by listening
to these books with their children.