Reading Circles became popular in the school setting during the 1980s. They started out as student-led discussion groups that functioned similarly to book clubs and served a significant role in the improvement of literacy and language skills. Fast-forward to today, and the traditional Reading Circle has taken on a new life. Reading Circles are now known as Family Reading Circles as they feature a home-school connection. Learn more about Family Reading Circles and the home-school connection.
Family Reading Circles have grown in popularity with the increase of English Learners (ELs) in our school system. Teachers and education leaders have come to value the home-school connection and know the importance of parental involvement in the education and literacy development of their children. In recent years, educators have focused on strengthening the home-school connection by seeking professional development opportunities that help them gain a greater understanding of the EL and immigrant community and how they can collaborate with EL parents.
One thing that most educators working with the EL population can agree upon is encouraging parental involvement and forming a partnership with EL parents so that they feel recognized and influential in the academic success of their children. Family Reading Circles can do just that. EL parents are encouraged and given appropriate instruction on how to conduct Family Reading Circles at home. Additionally, school districts offer special events on campus, such as a school-wide Family Reading Circle program. Schools provide childcare for younger children and dinner for families so that EL families can find it easier to come to school after work.
All Family Reading Circle participants are encouraged to participate at their own level. The key to a successful home-school connection is inclusiveness. It is pertinent to create an inviting environment. Additionally, it is important to find books that participants can relate to and will be able to provide feedback during discussion opportunities. Lectura Books offers an array of bilingual books that are ideal for use in Family Reading Circles with Hispanic EL families.School administrators and teachers should encourage families to participate in Family Reading Circles. When EL families take part in intergenerational reading groups, it helps to enhance reading comprehension and encourage engaging discussion sessions. Family Reading Circles not only strengthen literacy skills, but they also help to bring families together. The Latino Family Literacy Project offers workshops on how to establish successful Family Reading Circles. Take a look at what teachers and parents are saying about the programs on our site.