Jan 20, 2021

Family Literacy Engagement workgroup aims to improve family communication around literacy

BATON ROUGE, La. -- The parent is a child’s first teacher, and the Louisiana Department of Education is bringing educators and leaders together from across the state to help support that bond. The Department created the Family Literacy Engagement Workgroup to develop a strategic plan focused on improving family communication around literacy. 

“Families play an essential role in the literacy development of their children,” said State Superintendent of Education Dr. Cade Brumley. “Our goal through this workgroup is to ensure all families have the knowledge and tools to help their child progress no matter their age or where they are on their literacy journey.”

The workgroup is composed of 27 Louisiana educators and leaders. Members represent education from birth through post secondary and include parents, public advocates, educators and leaders from diverse backgrounds and cultures. 

"This work is so important for families in Louisiana,” said workgroup member and Jefferson Parish Schools Executive Master Teacher Breonne LaSalle. “We need to meet families where they are and give them the diverse support and resources they need to help their children throughout their literacy development."

One of the group’s first actions is to develop an exhaustive list of ideas and strategies to promote ongoing communication with families around their child’s literacy development. They will then turn their attention to providing a framework of support for school systems to effectively improve and maintain positive, consistent and responsive communication with families.

The Family Literacy Engagement Workgroup held its first meeting in December. Future meetings are planned for January, February and March. This workgroup is part of an effort by the Department to expand literacy initiatives across the state. The Department wants to ensure accessible opportunities are provided at the state and local levels for all families to engage with their child’s literacy education at all ages and stages.

Research has documented how two-way teacher-parent communication can lead to greater parental involvement, improved student engagement and academic achievement. Family engagement in schools contributes to positive student outcomes, including improved child and student achievement, decreased disciplinary issues, improved parent-teacher and teacher-student relationships and improved school environment.

A comprehensive review of the literature on family engagement in early childhood found that all families from diverse socioeconomic, educational and racial/ethnic backgrounds were interested in their child’s educational success and could effectively support their child’s learning at home and school when provided with the information and guidance that they needed.

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