The Most Important Education Happens Before School

8th Nov 2018

Most parents know that education at school is important for their children's success. However, many do not realize that education at home is even more important. According to several studies, a child’s ability to read by third grade is one of the single greatest factors that determines success in high school, college, and beyond. And parents can make or break their childrens’ ability to make this important cutoff.

The best way parents can help their children learn to read is by reading together every day for about 20 minutes, or at the very least, a couple times a week.

Unfortunately, low-income families often do not have easy access to books at home for their children. That’s why Chicanos Por La Causa has emphasized providing books to families with the goal of improving childhood literacy.

CPLC’s Family Resource Center in Guadalupe, Arizona, distributed 750 children’s books in 2017 and taught parents to read with their children. As a result, 95% of parents who participated in this program began reading to their children 1-7 times a week. Additionally, CPLC’s home visitation programs in Coconino County and South Phoenix cumulatively donated 5,200 books to families last year. We also encourange families to borrow books from the public library, a critical source of free access to children’s books for low-income families.

Our programs teach parents many techniques to help their children engage with books as they read together. These include choosing picture books for younger children, pointing to words on the page, and asking questions while reading. We also encourage parents to discuss the plot of the story, ask questions about the story, and have kids repeat back words as they read together. Many families find that following a daily routine which includes time spent reading together, such as before bedtime, is the best way to make sure this happens.

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