Four Ways Parents & Caregivers Can Support Their Young Reader

May 16, 2023 | Blog

The following resource is intended for parents and caregivers of young readers. Learn more about Ed Trust–NY’s statewide early literacy work here.

Parents and caregivers are their child’s first teachers and play a vital role in their child’s reading success, particularly in the early years. When caregivers know how to support their child’s reading, there is enormous potential. Yet too often, parents do not have access to the best tools and resources to support reading development, leaving them feeling unprepared to support their little learner’s needs.  

Here are four ways that parents and caregivers can support their young reader: 

  • Start At Birth: Strong reading skills start at birth, with frequent opportunities for parents to help their child’s social, emotional, and cognitive development between the ages of 0-5. Activities can be as simple as: 
    • Reading with your child every day.
    • Visiting a physical or virtual library with your child. 
    • Engaging in back-and-forth interactions and speaking about everyday experiences. 
  • Learn about the Science of Reading: Our recent poll showed that most parents were unaware of the science of reading, a robust body of knowledge about how children learn to read, but overwhelmingly supportive once they learned about it. Parents can learn more about the science of reading by: 
  • Ask About Supportive Services:  Beginning at two months of age, parents can begin monitoring their child’s developmental progress and check their school readiness and reading skills as they get older: 
    • Parents can check on key early milestones for their child focused on how they play, speak, learn, move, and act. If your child is not meeting milestones, parents should contact their doctor or nurse to discuss their concerns. 
    • Parents can assess whether their child is progressing with grade level reading skills beginning in kindergarten by using Learning Heroes Readiness Check.
    • Parents can build strong relationships with their child’s teacher and ask questions about their child’s reading progress, beginning in kindergarten.
  • Share Your Experience: Every child deserves access to effective, proven reading instruction. Parents can advocate for their learner by: 
    • Asking their school board and district how they are addressing early literacy and to make their reading curriculum and instructional approach publicly accessible.
    • Urging school boards and district officials to follow the science of reading and purchase evidence-based instructional materials.
    • Request evidence-based tools and other supports that parents can use at home to support their child’s reading development.
    • Enrolling in summer, afterschool, and tutoring programs that build student’s reading skills outside of school and if your school does not have these programs, ask why and advocate for funding to support them.