Families don’t need books stacked from floor to ceiling or over-flowing bookshelves to consider their home a literate home.
Families don’t need every issue of every magazine published in order to consider their home a literate home.
And families don’t need to spend hundreds of dollars on resources or materials in order to consider their home a literate home.
Literate homes are homes that celebrate literacy, reading, and language, and any home can be a literate home. In fact, many people I know already have literate homes and they don’t even know it!
In order to create strong readers from the beginning, it’s ideal to raise children in literate environments—just like we want our teachers to create literate environments in their classrooms. Though we don’t need to have brand-new resources, posters, charts, and words hung everywhere we turn, our children need access to reading material—and that reading material can be anything, and it can come from any source.
Frequent visits to the library and sharing books and magazines between friends and family members will put new texts into the hands of children. Celebrating those new reads and carving out time to read together will let children know that reading is a priority in your house.
Hanging homemade alphabet charts, posters that identify family members, or daily schedules or chore lists will also help to create a literate environment. Even hanging children’s work from school on the fridge or wall counts, and kids love to see their work celebrated. But it’s not about creating and ignoring these resources; it’s using them frequently and referring to them as often as possible that will help your family grow and flourish in an ‘at home’ literate environment.
As long as parents model the importance of reading to their kids, read as often as possible, and make reading a priority, a literate environment is one that is easy—and natural—to create.