The Montgomery County Extension Homemakers Literacy Attainment Committee is planning for their spring events! We are partnering with Head Start, Wilson Literacy, Every Body Reads Montgomery County and local elementary schools to talk with parents and families about early reading experiences, and how they impact the earliest reading experiences. The committee's message: Your role, as a parent or caregiver in a child's reading and language development is significant!

Literacy is an ongoing process that begins at birth and includes oral language, listening, reading, and writing skills. There is much evidence, through research, children who are successful in early school years; this success is related to the quality of early literacy and pre-reading experiences and language development. The more children know about the nature and purpose of reading the more the kindergarten teacher will have to build on.

Parents are a child's first and foremost teachers. They are essential to children's language and literacy development. Parents provide the nurturing and caring environment that children feel safe to explore and develop. Children's health, and physical well-being and social emotional preparation are critical to the development of literacy skills and parents are responsible for this development in their children.

Parents should be highly involved in activities such as reading, telling stories, signing, and playing with young children. These activities contribute to children's language and literacy development. The most accurate predictor of children's student achievement is not income or social status, but to the extent that parents create a home environment that encourages learning, express high but not unrealistic expectations, and become involved in their child's education at school and in the community.

The social-emotional context in which children's early literacy development is related to children's motivation to learn and read. There is an association between children's development of important literacy skills and their enthusiasm, for learning. For examples, parents who approach early literacy and reading as a recreational activity and as a source of enjoyment gain greater skills than are children whose parents approach literacy as a set of skills that must be learned.

As you work to support literacy and its development, the Montgomery County Extension Homemakers Literacy Attainment Committee will be hosting a Health Fair Saturday April 20th at the Montgomery County Fairgrounds.  This health fair will encompass literacy and its impact on children's health.  We hope you will make plans to join us as we bring information about literacy attainment and its enjoyment to your parent group, or community event.

Joy Dugan is the Consumer and Family Sciences Purdue Extension Educator for Montgomery County. She has a Bachelor of Science in Consumer and Family Sciences Education with a Master of Science in Curriculum and Instruction with a specialty area of Consumer and Family Sciences and Extension Education.