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Reading start at home.

Published 17th November 2010, 1:48pm

Reading Week 2010 Message from Minister Rolston Anglin:

"Children are created readers on the laps of their parents". This quote by Emilie Buchwald is the basis for the theme of this year's Reading Week: "Families and Literacy". It is a very important reminder of the partnership that is necessary to develop this critical life skill.

Literacy is a priority for the Ministry of Education. We recognize the importance of quality literacy instruction in our schools. At the same time, we are also aware that families have an important role to play in the success of our students. Families are the first teachers, and the values that they impart are the values with which students enter our schools. Children from homes in which discussion is a part of daily life, who are expected to both listen and participate in conversation, are students who are ahead of the game; as are students who come from homes where stories are read and told often.

The work of schools is often discussed in isolation, but schools can never operate as such. They are part of the community and they build upon a foundation laid by the families. Although I owe much to my teachers, and I have never failed to give credit where due, I also owe a debt to my parents who set high expectations for me and expressed time and time again how education was key to future success. When the message that education matters comes from the parents, it is important; when it comes jointly from parents and teachers, the power is undeniable.

Lyndon Johnson, the 36th President of the United States, very clearly emphasized the importance of the family in children's education when he stated: "The family is the corner stone of our society. More than any other force it shapes the attitude, the hopes, the ambitions, and the values of the child". Without the strength of the family supporting our students, "schools, playgrounds, and public assistance, and private concern - will never be enough."

There are many things that parents can do to help support literacy in the home that don't cost too much or take too long. For example, reading books from the school library or the public library nightly will help develop a love of reading and vocabulary. Turning off the radio in the car and having conversations instead will help to maintain a close relationship with your children and develop their oral language.

Remember, expressing the belief that school success is important can help students better value their education. Developing a relationship with your child's teacher will help you better monitor your child's growth and strengthen the view that education in essential.

Therefore, as the Minister for Education, I acknowledge the importance of the efforts our schools are making to promote literacy during this year's Reading Week, and I encourage all parents to work with our educators, as partners, to develop able and enthusiastic readers.