Family Literacy Activity Ideas: The Ultimate Guide
Families are a child’s first educators and serve as an important part of their learning as they grow and get farther along in school. Parents, grandparents, and siblings can play a big role in a child’s literacy development and choosing fun family literacy activities is a big step in the right direction.
Here, we cover the ins and outs of family literacy to understand why it’s so important and share some of our favorite family literacy activity ideas to get you started.
What Is Family Literacy?
At its core, the family literacy definition is straightforward. It’s parents and children learning together, both at home and while in the community. Family members learn activities together, shaping how each learns and develop literacy for kids and adults.
Family literacy makes an impact on all members of the family in different ways. Parents learn the variety of ways that literacy impacts their children and use those insights to meet the interests and needs of everyone involved. Children are just as involved. They inform the activities that the family engages in and how the generations interact.
A strong family literacy strategy encourages young children to develop language and comprehension and strengthens language, reading, and problem-solving skills. Many grandparents also get involved, helping children understand that there are many ways to learn and that it can continue later in life.
One of the biggest impacts of family literacy is the bond between family members and across generations. This bond spills into many other areas of the family members’ lives, building a passion and connection that lasts a lifetime.
Why Is Literacy Important?
The simple definition of literacy is developing writing and reading skills, but it’s not quite that simple. Today, literacy also encompasses digital and visual media as well as printed materials, like books and newspapers. These sources have generational implications, too. Younger family members may feel more comfortable reading things online while older people may prefer a magazine or newspaper.
Literacy is important because it applies to just about every area of our lives. Every day, we read signs, instructions, text messages, emails, news headlines, and more. Encouraging literacy is one of the best things a family can do to build a lifelong love of learning. Below, we cover some ideas for family literacy events and activities that make reading a fun thing that everyone can do together.
Family Literacy Activity Ideas
There are many ways to introduce literary skills in a way that everyone in the family will find them engaging and entertaining. From literacy games to a night at the movies, here are ten ideas for family literacy activities.
1. Family Book Club
One of the easiest ideas for family literacy activities at home is a family book club. Family members can take turns choosing books to read. At the end of every month, family members can get together and talk about what they read.
This activity encourages children to read and creates a positive environment for learning. Families can choose young adult books appropriate for tweens and teens so they can also participate, but even just letting the kids see the adults of the family get together to talk about books once a month encourages a love of learning.
This activity is one that even the youngest members of the family can participate in. Parents, grandparents, and children can take turns telling or reading stories to one another or writing stories together. There are many ways to do this, too. Young kids can choose their favorite book, while older kids can record their stories on their smartphones.
3. Table Topics
Fostering communication is one of the best things families can do, and one easy way to get people talking is with table topics. Write various topics down on small slips of paper, toss them into the bowl, and pull one each night. Not only will this get everyone in the family talking to one another, but it also encourages kids to speak up, defend their ideas, and practice speaking in front of others.
Many families may already have a family game night, but did you know that you can also call it family literacy night? That’s right, family game night is another great way to practice literacy together. Whether you’re playing a game that involves reading or you must read the instructions to figure out how to play something new, this is a great opportunity to ask the kids to read to improve their literacy.
If you want a way to practice literacy together outside of the home, take the kids to your local library. There, you can take some time to choose books for the family book club, and the kids can pick their favorite books to read before bed. Many libraries offer free family crafts and other fun activities that encourage literacy at home, too.
Family movie night is a fun way to take the family book club a step further. After you’ve read a book together and talked about it, watch the movie version of the story together. Then, compare the two and talk about which you liked better and why. Talk about the themes of the book, whether they held true to the movie, and which one told the story better.
Audiobooks can be used for literacy purposes, whether you sit at home and listen together or put one on for a long road trip in the car. Talk about the audiobook just as you’d talk about any other book. What themes were important to the story? What was everyone’s favorite character?
Creating a bedtime story ritual has many benefits in addition to encouraging family literacy and mastery of language. A bedtime story ritual creates a bond between parents and their children and can help lower kids’ stress levels and sleep better at night.
Flashcards are an excellent way to help kids practice their vocabulary skills. Use words from school assignments or family book club choices to create flashcards. Then, go through the flashcards one at a time, quizzing kids until they know all the words in the stack of cards.
Another fun way to learn vocabulary is to write words down on pieces of paper and add them to an empty jar. Children can pull a word from the jar every day and try to use that word as many times as they can use the new word in what they say throughout that day. Parents can participate, too, and turn it into a contest to see who can use the word the most.
Family literacy has many benefits, from creating tighter family bonds to encouraging a love of reading and learning that’s fun for everyone.
If you’re ready to start incorporating family literacy activities into your home, try some of the family literacy activity ideas listed above and tailor them to your family’s needs to improve early literacy skills. For kids struggling with speech, contact VocoVision for teletherapy services to get them the support they need.
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