Reaching out to Hispanic parents can be quite challenging for a variety of reasons. Some of those reasons include a lack of familiarity with the education system in the United States, limited English skills, insufficient exposure to mainstream American culture, lack of education, and scarcity in time. For example, in some countries, parents are not accustomed to discussing their children’s education with their teachers, as they feel that it is disrespectful to question teachers about their job. Furthermore, parents with limited English are oftentimes reluctant to speak with their children’s teachers for fear of not being able to communicate properly or of being seen as lesser than.
However, there are ways to combat the barriers to communicating with Spanish-speaking parents. Below are a few ways to engage Hispanic parents to increase their school involvement:
1- Use a trained bilingual interpreter.
2- Communicate with parents in their preferred language.
3- Create a welcoming environment.
4- Translate all written communications sent home – report cards, homework, event flyers, etc.
Throughout our experiences working with Spanish-speaking parents, we have found ways to communicate with parents and to gain trust. In turn, parents feel comfortable enough to open up with us to share their experiences in school involvement and other activities involving their children’s academic endeavors. With a little effort, you too can create an open line of communication with Spanish speaking parents. Here are just a few testimonials from Spanish-speaking parents about school involvement that we have received from involved parents:
— This is an excellent opportunity. Being here not only taught us to read to our children, but it brought me close to my kids.” – Bayonne, New Jersey
— “This program has helped me understand that there should always be a special time to dedicate to my children.” – San Jose, California
— “We read and discussed the book and learned about each other. We had the opportunity to learn more about our traditions and cultures.” – Palatine, Illinois
For more information regarding our school involvement programs, call us at 1-877-LECTURA or visit our website at www.latinoliteracy.com.