Parent-child interaction in the reading process

Much has been written to show that there is a positive relationship between the home environment and reading achievement at school (Della-Piana, Stahmann, & Allen, 1968); it is this view of learning with which this project was concerned. AT the National Right to Read Conference (Allen, 1970), it was pointed out that an enriching and stimulating home environment could help children become good readers; that parents, like it or not, have a a-role as educators . One of the recommendations of the conference was that communities plan programs for parents to improve their effectiveness as auxiliary sources to help children in reading. Toward this end, several communities in the United States have initiated parent education programs in reading (Lloyd, 1965; McManus, 1964; Smith, M. B., 1971). The project reported herein was part of a parent education program within a middle class community located in the metropolitan area of Southern California, with a population of over 13o, ooo (1972). The median family income of this community is $11, 845.00, and more than 16% of the population 25 years and older have attended college from one to three years, and 73.6% are high school graduates (United States Census, 1970). Included in the program was an adult education course entitled, "Developmental Reading for Parents and Teacher Aids," and the publication and distribution of a free parent manual entitled, Reading…A Most Wonderful Gift, written by this investigator. It was because the parents in this community were interested in helping their children improve in reading skills that community pressure was placed on the local school board for an adult education program in the field of reading. When requests were made at board of education meetings, the board members agreed to proceed with such a program. Hence, the district administration and staff began looking for ways to assist the parent to provide opportunities in the home, which would broaden the reading experiences of their children. This investigator's proposal for a manual which would be of immediate benefit to parents was met with approval from the district administration. As an active member in this community, serving on the library board of trustees for three years, and working as a reading teacher in the schools, the investigator was well aware of the need for further parent education in reading. (See more in text.)