Research has shown that students who have parents that read to them consistently have better reading skills. Furthermore, parents who are involved in their child’s education, particularly reading, perform better in school. Parents empower students for reading success. The question is how do we, as school librarians, empower parents to get and stay involved? Amy Rubin, school librarian at Findley Oaks Elementary School in Johns Creek, Georgia, has just the thing. Her program, “Book with Mrs. Rubin,” allows her to partner with parents to help them establish good literacy habits with their students. The program ultimately helps to strengthen the students’ reading skills and improve critical thinking skills.
How does the program work?
Amy encourages all parents to complete an online survey with their child. The survey seeks to determine the child’s interests. The survey is available at http://findleyoaksreaders.weebly.com/book-with-mrs-rubin.html.
A personalized reading list is then developed for each student based on the survey data. This list is created in Destiny and shared with parents both electronically and in print. Additionally, Amy collaborates with each student’s teacher to get general information about the student’s reading skills, reading level, and other academic data.
Amy schedules appointments with parents every day before the official school day. During these appointments she works with the parent and child to review the list, talk about favorite books and authors, and answer questions the parent might have. She also directs parents to online resources. Amy uses this time to guide parents to activities they can engage in to help grow stronger readers. She promotes read-aloud strategies and shares tips on independent and shared reading.
Parents leave the appointment with books, information, and a game plan for helping their child at home. “Parents go away with a stronger connection to our school and feel empowered to really make a positive difference in their child’s life,” says Amy.
Amy said she noticed a need to engage parents more, so she crafted a proposal with all the program details and presented it to her principal, Camille Christopher. Ms. Christopher loved the idea. “I support the program 100% and appreciate the way it draws parents into our school building. The program helps to create a positive, welcoming school climate,” states Mrs. Christopher.
School librarians are perfectly poised to create lasting partnerships with parents.
Author: Michelle Easley
Michelle Easley is the author of How to Increase Diversity in School Library Collections and Programs. Michelle is a national presenter, diversity and library advocate, consultant and speaker. Michelle spends her free time volunteering with homeless youth.