1. Be a lifelong learner. The demands of our workplaces and our world are changing every day. Brush up on your skills.
2. Encourage others to be lifelong learners. Support your friends, family members, and neighbors who are considering improving their skills -- whether it be reading and writing, getting a diploma or GED, or learning to program computers.
3. Read with your child. Studies show that parents are the most important teachers of their children. Children learn the importance of reading from those closest to them.
4. Volunteer to tutor. Many literacy programs are small and depend on the involvement of local community members. They are glad to provide training to potential volunteers.
5. Volunteer to support an education program in other ways. Many literacy programs do not have the funds to pay for support staff, and welcome volunteers to help answer phones and provide other office support.
6. Support friends who want to participate in a literacy program. If someone you know wants to participate in a literacy program, offer to take care of their children while they attend class or drive learners to and from programs.
7. Donate equipment or other materials. If your work or home office is getting a new copier, fax machine or computer, consider donating the old equipment to a literacy program in your community.
8. Donate money. All literacy programs combined serve fewer than 10 percent of people with literacy needs. More money allows more people to get the help they need.
9. Start a literacy program in your office. Make sure your office provides training to employees, and that courses are presented as a positive opportunity to improve skills.
10. Strengthen the links between literacy programs and other community groups. If you volunteer at another program in your community -- such as a homeless shelter -- make sure employers are aware of literacy programs and how to refer potential learners to them.
More Tips On Helping Your Children Become Better Readers
Parents, Children, and Reading Suggestions from
"Becoming a Nation of Readers, the Report of the National Commission on Reading."
Reading begins in the home. Before they ever go to school, children acquire knowledge that lays the foundation for reading. They learn about objects, events, thoughts, and feelings, and they develop the language skill and vocabulary to express ideas and describe their experiences. As parents, you play a crucial role in laying this foundation because you are your children's:
* Guides through a vast and unfamiliar world of people, places, and things.
* First teachers about how to express ideas with words and what words mean.
* Partners in learning about the fascinating world of written language.
* One enduring source of faith and encouragement that they will become good readers.
Once children are in school, their parents' expectations, and the experiences provided by their parents, continue to influence how much and how well children read.
Most children will lean how to read. Whether they will be come good readers depends in large part upon your help and encouragement. As a parent, you can:
1. Help your children acquire a wide range of knowledge. When you take your children on shopping trips, walks in the park, and visits to zoos and museums, you help give them the important background knowledge they will need as they learn to read school textbooks. Your children's ability to understand even simple stories can depend upon their having both common and not-so-common knowledge.
2. Talk with your children about their experiences. When you talk with your children about their experiences, you help them learn new words and understandwhat these new words mean. Talking with children also helps them learn from their experiences and use this new knowledge to understand what they are reading. As a result, they will better understand what they are reading.
3. Encourage your children to think about events. Ask you children to describe events. This makes them reflect upon experience and helps them learn to give good descriptions and tell complete stories. These activities help your children learn about how stories are written and better understand what they are reading.
4. Read aloud to your children. Reading aloud is probably the single most important activity you can do to encourage your children's success as readers.
It is an especially important activity during the preschool years. When you read lots of stories to your children, and look at lots of picture books with them, you are helping them build the store of knowledge they will use when they begin to read in school. The benefits of reading aloud are greatest when you encourage your children to participate in this activity by identifying letters and words and talking about the story and the meaning of words.
5. Provide your preschool children with writing materials. Writing is an important way for your children to learn about letters and words. Children are often very eager to learn how to write and you can encourage them by having paper and pencils or crayons in your home and helping them when they start drawing letters. Even when your children are too young to hold a pencil or crayon, you can use devices such as magnetic boards and letters to help them learn about letters and words.
6. Encourage your children to watch TV programs that have educational value. Watching television programs that teach about reading and language can have a positive effect on your children's learning. You can make sure they watch these programs regularly. You can also help them learn from these programs by asking questions about the shows and relating what they are seeing to other situations and experiences.
7. Monitor how much TV your children watch. Watching quality television programs up to about 10 hours a week can have a slightly positive effect on your children's achievement in school, including their reading achievement. As the number of hours of viewing per week increases, however, TV watching becomes a negative influence on your children's school work. Most childrenwho watch television 20 or more hours a week don't do well in school.
8. Monitor your children's school performance. When you visit your children's teachers, observe their classrooms, find out about the reading programs in their schools, and participate in home-school programs, you can get a good idea of how your children are doing in school and how you can help them become better students. Research shows that children tend to be more successful readers when their parents have an accurate view of their school work.
9. Encourage your children to read independently. The amount of reading your children do outside of school influences how well they will read in school Most American children don't read very much during their free time. One of your top priorities as a parent should be to encourage your children to spend more time reading. You can help them read more by having plenty of books in your home and visiting the library regularly.
10. Continue your personal involvement in your children's growth as readers. Set a good example for your children by reading newspapers, magazines, andbooks. Suggest reading as a leisure time activity and make sure your childrenhave time for reading. You may want, for example, to establish a bedtime hourwhich reading is the only activity permitted other than going to sleep.