Who was your first teacher? For most of us, it was our parents or caregivers.
Who was your favorite teacher? For most of us, it was someone who shared their passion in a way that we not only understood, but connected with us.
Someone who had resources, training, and experience that many parents don’t. We know that in Texas alone, 90,000 citizens lack basic literacy and therefore the skills they need to encourage literacy in their families.
Albert Einstein (we believe) once said that “If you can’t explain it to a six-year-old, you don’t understand it yourself.” As we educate parents, aunts, uncles, and other caregivers who are part of family units, they are in turn passing on what they’ve learned. Since we’re teaching teachers, why not get the whole family involved?
While reading is fundamental, literacy turns this skill into a tool we can use to build the life, career, and relationships that we desire. When used correctly, this tool not only has a ripple effect on those around us, but also on the generations to come. As an educator, and especially as a parent, we are preparing our students and children to be better citizens, access more economic opportunities, achieve upward mobility, and have a greater impact socially. They, in turn, do the same for their children.
Family literacy programs take that even further, providing specific and specialized knowledge. What kinds of foods make up a balanced diet and healthier bodies? Which activities do bodies need to remain healthy? What choices do we have when dealing with sickness or injuries? What’s the best way to pay for that health care?
Learning basic literacy may help answer these questions, but it’s not guaranteed. Adult learners need literacy programs designed with this in mind. Engaging the entire family in literacy activities can help educate and motivate adult learners to create a culture of literacy at home.
This holistic, family-centered approach is based on the simple reality we began with: the parent is the child’s first teacher. Helping them be the best teacher that they can be helps them advocate for their child academically, emotionally, and in other ways they need to succeed.
What better motivation could a parent or caregiver ask for?
On August 2-4, speaker Dr. Ida Acuña-Garza dives deeper into this subject in “Family Ties to Literacy”. This session is part of the 2021 Literacy Texas Annual Conference, which explores the interconnected issues of adult literacy, early childhood education, and immigration. Her session will discuss strategies for engaging the whole family in literacy and try out some hands-on activities. You’ll walk out with a Family Literacy Festival Planning Guide and greater confidence to pull off a family literacy event that’s fun, engaging, and successful.
Visit https://www.literacytexas.org/calendar/2021-literacy-texas-annual-conference/ to register and learn about the other speakers and sessions offered at this extraordinary event.