Families at Pedley and Troth Street Elementary School are taking a strong initiative in their children’s education by joining in the fun of reading. The schools’ principals welcome parents to participate in their family literacy programs to promote early literacy.
“The idea was to allow parents to read with their children at home… cultivate that love for reading, and make memories together,” stated Nancy Galvez, Pedley Elementary principal. Resembling a book club, she assigns a book for families to enjoy together at home and discuss in their bi-weekly meetings at school. Ms. Galvez includes Spanish-speaking families by facilitating her literacy program in both English and Spanish. For their first book, families read Esperanza Rising
by Pam Muñoz Ryan, which resonated with families.
Focused on the effects of immigration, the book sparked relevant conversations within the group. Both students and parents discussed their thoughts with their peers and completed activities related to the story. Teresita Amador, a program participant at Pedley, believes she is setting a positive example for her young children by attending their school activities. Not only are her children excited for school but to read with her as well. “I was surprised that they were excited over [reading]... they get to the point where they want to keep reading.”
Parents are nourishing their children’s reading comprehension and social skills while also bonding. Gloria Elias stated the program permits her to sit down and give her undivided attention to her first-grade daughter, Emily.
Gloria said that attending these extracurricular activities with Emily is teaching her that she will always have the resources from school and the support from her mother to succeed. “Not only right now because she’s young but also as she’s growing so she stays involved,” she said about their continuous participation in school activities.
Staying engaged in their children’s school activities allows parents to see how their students are progressing academically. Leni Arias, Troth Street Elementary parent, gets a first-hand look into her child’s experience at school. “I think it's a good way… as a parent to see how well your child interacts in school,” she said.
After a hiatus due to the pandemic, the family literacy program at Troth Street is back for parents and children to enjoy. To encourage parent involvement in schools, Principal Jacqueline Stump brought the program back. Transitional kindergarten and kindergarten parents are invited every month to their child’s classroom to read and complete fun activities together.
Ms. Stump’s goal is to grow the bond between parents, the community, and the school by encouraging parents to “read to their child and look at the importance of reading and the value that it has.” Students appreciate the time they get to spend with their parents at school, which is made clear by the bright and smiling faces welcoming parents into the classroom.
The sentiment is mutual for Diana Islas, a parent, who enjoys the time she gets with her daughter at school. Participating in the program, she sees how impactful it is for children to read with their parents. “It motivates them... it encourages her to reach out for more information on what she can gather,” she said.