The Five Pillars of Family Literacy are evidence-based statements about literacy that have been curated from a school principal, poverty expert, renown reading expert, economists and a social mobility study. The Metro East Literacy Project activities are based on these pillars. Let's look at Pillar Three.
A mountain of recent evidence suggests that teacher skill has less influence on a student’s performance than a completely different set of factors: namely, how much kids have learned from their parents…if these home-based inputs are lacking, there is only so much a school can do. --Economists Steven D. Levitt and Stephen J. Dubner, authors of Think Like a Freak (William Morrow)
Reading a bedtime story. Exposing a child to different experiences, such as going to a museum. Setting up a regular time and space to do homework. Getting a public library card and visiting often. Showing an interest in what the child is learning in school and talking about it. Having books in the home. Talking to the child about the words they see around them, such as a stop sign. Enrolling the child in a book club. Reading books in front of the child for your own education and entertainment. Taking advantage of teachable moments from media. Viewing educational television. The list goes on. What can you add?
Teachers are extremely valuable. They work hard to give children the tools they need to be successful in school and in life. I know. I was a teacher. Schools focus on school-based solutions to tackle sticky educational problems like low third grade reading proficiency because they have no sway over the homes. But the home is the powerhouse and the first seat of literacy transformation. Parents are the first and most influential teachers. I am not naive enough to believe that every home is able or willing to engage in home-based inputs. But as economists Levitt and Dubner stated, if a teacher has less influence than a parent, educators should encourage parents as much as possible to do home-based inputs.
In this video snippet, Ruth Ezell, a popular Nine Network television personality in St. Louis, talks about the home-based inputs she grew with. For the full interview, visit the Literacy is Liberation! YouTube channel.