Teaching Parents How to be Better "First Teachers" for their Kids

Thursday, June 23, 2011 - 9:38am

There's a great need in this region of Texas to provide children with the tools they need to help with their language and literacy development and officials say it starts with books.

Both reading and holding open ended conversations with children about the books they're reading or really anything will help foster these necessary skills.

A national organization, Reading is Fundamental, provided training Wednesday for over a dozen educators from literacy centers and other agencies here in the lower valley.

"We are trying to provide the trainers with the skills and knowledge they need to train families in the community on how to be better first teachers for their children," said Caroline Gonzales, a trainer for Literacy Service with Reading is Fundamental.

While some parents themselves may not be the best readers, Gonzales says they can still promote learning and be good first teachers for their kiddos.

"Whatever happens in the home before the age of five is very important in having a child that is well prepared for school in order to read and write," added Gonzales.

Skills to help those parents with that huge task is what these trainers will take back after today's session.

According to Gonzales research has shown that talking and reading to children from the time they're born can improve their chances of being better readers and writers by the third grade.

On top of educating community leaders on language and literacy skills, the program also provides books to children and families who may not have any in the home. However, congress has recently cut funding for this program and they're now operating off of private contributions.

It's expected that these trainers will take what they've learned and pass it on to families who will then implement and hopefully pass the skills obtained on to other families.

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