Learn together: November 1, Family Literacy


November 1 (and the week and month that follow) is celebrated as National Family Literacy Day. The NationalCenter for Family Literacy (www.famlit.org) and the Newspaper Association of America Foundation (now www.americanpressinstitute.org) collaborated to produce the NIE feature on ways parents can use newspapers to enhance learning. An edited half-page version of the feature appears first under TABLE OF CONTENTS on this site: /family-literacy-day-november-1-2013/. To celebrate Family Literacy Day (week or month), you may find readers in your community eager to write for publication about literacy experiences that transformed their lives and/or their relationships. You may also know of community resources available to families that you can talk and write about. Other writers make stories available for publication through the NCPF website:  /family-literacy-day-november-1-2013/. Former teacher, Mary Andrews writes about the pleasure of gathering families around a “tailgate” to read together and talk about their reading. She aims to help reluctant readers find reasons to open books. Programs in your community may have similar goals. Writer and teacher, Susie Wilde encourages parents to read aloud to their children and encourages family members to bond around books they love, particularly books they pass on to children and grandchildren. Jack Gantos writes about and proves the value of journaling. Using journals that included words and illustrations about events in his life, he has written Newbery award-winning books. Journaling can serve varied purposes. In the FOLLOW-UP, this READER RESPONSES activity advocates keeping a news journal. Jack imagined himself a writer when he was young, and so can you, he says. Though an accomplished writer, he says he challenges himself to write more and better. In his open letter, he offers that challenge to young writers. John Claude Bemis used reading to travel around the world. Books, newspapers and much more can do that if you imagine yourself in different places, as Bemis did. The feature developed for NIE, and available for publication, encourages parents to talk with their children about what and why they read and to read to each other, and the feature encourages children to discuss in detail what they learn from the newspaper. You’ll find more about the use of newspapers and the celebration of Family Literacy Day in the story that starts in the bottom right section of . And, more about family literacy and newspapers can be found. API’s website includes a Parent Guide that suggests activities for parents to do with their children and activities for children to do on their own: http://www.americanpressinstitute.org/docs/Foundation/parent-newspaper-guide-englishonly.pdf Standard One under Speaking and Listening in the Common Core calls for “Collaborative Conversations.” Family Literacy says that those conversations should begin at home and begin before children can talk. Why? Conversations around what is heard and read bind family members and lay the foundation for life-long learning.