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"A reading child is, quite simply, a successful child"
Alan Gibbons

Why should parents become involved in their children's literacy activities?

The evidence about the benefits of parents being involved in their children’s education in general, and their children’s literacy activities in particular, is overwhelming. Research shows that parental involvement in their children’s learning positively affects the child’s performance at school (Fan & Chen, 2001) in both primary and secondary schools (Feinstein & Symons, 1999), leading to:

Parental involvement in their child’s literacy practices is a more powerful force than other family background variables, such as social class, family size and level of parental education (Flouri & Buchanan, 2004), while reading enjoyment is more important for children’s educational success than their family’s socio-economic status (OECD, 2002).

Research also shows that the earlier parents become involved in their children’s literacy practices, the more profound the results and the longer-lasting the effects (Mullis, Mullis, Cornille et al., 2004). Additionally, of all school subjects, reading has been found to be most sensitive to parental influences (Senechal & LeFevre, 2002). In turn, success in reading is a gateway to success in other academic areas as well (Jordan, Snow & Porsche, 2000).

The benefits of parental involvement extend beyond the realm of literacy and educational achievement. Studies show that children whose parents are involved show greater social and emotional development (Allen & Daly, 2002), as well as more resilience to stress, greater life satisfaction, greater self-direction and self- control, greater social adjustment, greater mental health, more supportive relationships, greater social competence, more positive peer relations, more tolerance, more successful marriages, and fewer examples of delinquent behaviours (Desforges & Abouchaar, 2003).

Get Involved!

Why not read the book yourself? The set books are all award-winning literature, and you’ll be amazed how compelling many of them are. They make great reads for adults, as they are relatively straightforward, and many of us want that ease of access after a hard day at work, or after a long day with the children!

If you read the book too, you can talk to your child about it. Developing talk about reading is vital to their progress as independent learners. They can offer their opinions and ideas, consider your viewpoint about it, and develop their ability to use precise language to reason with you and defend their stance. These skills are vital to the success of your child across the curriculum and beyond the classroom. Encouraging independent thought, as well as a personal response to a text will stand them in excellent stead for when those all-important GCSE exams appear.

Maybe you could even test their knowledge of the book in preparation for The Big Book Quiz.

The Big Book Quiz Event

It’s like a pub quiz without the pub! The questions will be on four set books, and the other teams will be from local schools.

Your child’s teacher will let you know where the event is to be held. It may even be your own child’s school. All the pupils taking part in the quiz that evening will be expected to wear their school uniform, although they may wish to embellish it with badges, scarves, or even headwear (one team made themselves special headbands with tiger ears on them!).

There will be one quiz round on each of the four books read by the team. Your child may have only read one of the books, and so will write the answers in that particular round. At no point will they have to speak the answer in front of anybody else.

Parents often stay to watch the quiz, in order to offer moral support. You will be amazed by the intensity of the event. It is truly wonderful to see the children so competitive and utterly absorbed, whilst trying to remember the details of the books they have read.

Each round will be marked ‘behind the scenes,’ as the next round is underway, and by the end of the evening a winning team will be announced.

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