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How to Boost Your School's Literacy Development Programs

Talk It Up

Prefer to make up your own tales rather than read from the page? Great! Telling children stories about travel or a cultural tradition automatically exposes them to different words and concepts. So arrange a time when you can come to the class to talk about your job, where you come from, a trip you just took?anything. It's helpful to bring a prop to help spark discussion and focus the kids' attention, says Rasco. But don't feel pressured to make your presentation fancy. Simply listening to and conversing with a new grown-up is beneficial for kids.

Share Books

A recent report commissioned by RIF indicates that increasing children's access to books significantly increases their literacy skills and reading performance. Make a list of your family's favorite books and encourage other parents in the class to do the same. You can share lists and then start an informal book swap.

National PTA recommends dedicating a section at your school's book fair to new and gently used books donated by parents and available at no cost (one or two per family, depending on supply).

Liven up the Library

If you notice that the media selection at the school library doesn't match the diversity of the school or community, hold a fund-raiser to drum up money for new titles. You might also work with your PTA to hold a book drive to build the school's collection or to share with local families. For more ideas, has great book lists, reading games, and activities.