facebookYou TubeInstagramtwitter            
Return to "Leading the Conversation" >
Family Engagement
November 2013  
Turning the Page: Refocusing Massachusetts for Reading Success
Full Report
Executive Summary
Chart: A Developing Reader’s Journey
Chart: Making it Happen
Read the full recommendation

Families should be supported and engaged to be full partners in their children’s education and development as young readers
Becoming a strong reader begins at birth. The cornerstones of reading success—language, knowledge, and curiosity—should be cultivated from infancy, and in every setting. To promote the language and reading development of our state’s young children, strong partnerships with families are not optional. Families are experts on their children; they are the people most invested in the child’s growth and development. If we reach out to children’s caregivers and give them the information they want and need to promote their children’s reading development, ultimately both the child and society will benefit. If we rely on schools only, our approach is too narrow. If we wait for kindergarten, it is too late.


  • Early education and care settings and schools should link family engagement efforts to children’s language, emergent literacy and reading.
  • Capitalize on and strengthen the role of the community library in promoting family literacy practices.
  • Use community leaders as conduits for helping families build children’s language and reading skills.

Opening Doors: School Library Supports Family Literacy
A community reading program initiated by Mary Kenslea, librarian at the Whittemore Elementary School in Waltham, has brought the signature-filled book card system back to the library, creating a social buzz in the stacks and building family literacy at home. Participants take home new “green sticker” books, in English and some in Spanish, to read together with their families, then sign the book card on the inside cover and pass it along to another student. When five families have read and signed one book’s card, the Whittemore students from those families are recognized at a school community meeting where they pose for a picture that will be affixed to the book. The book then enters the general collection for the entire community to borrow. Read Out Loud...Pass it on!, funded by a Bookapalooza grant from the American Library Association, includes a trove of books and even promotes bilingual family literacy; parents read aloud in Spanish, children read aloud in English, and the entire community benefits.


Lead for Literacy Memo: The Importance of Early Literacy Assessment

Lead for Literacy Memo: Comprehensive Assessment: Towards a More Complete Picture of Literacy

Lead for Literacy Memo: Comprehensive Assessment: Making Sense of Test Type and Purpose

Note: Lead for Literacy, an initiative of the Language Diversity and Development Research Group at the Harvard Graduate School of Education, is a series of one-page memos informed by “Turning the Page: Refocusing Massachusetts for Reading Success.”  The research group is led by Professor Nonie Lesaux, author of “Turning the Page.”

400 Atlantic Avenue, Boston, Massachusetts 02110                                                                                    info@strategiesforchildren.org