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Showing a video at a Family Literacy Night: effective way to get the message across, or contradiction?

There's a serious discussion going on over at the alsc-l listserv about this Booklist article, in which Terrence E. Young jr. provides a possible format for a one-hour family literacy night.  The controversy isn't in whether or not one should provide such programs, but in the first element of the program he proposes: showing a video.  Yes, the video is of Rosemary Wells' book Read to Your Bunny, but it is a video, rather than a read-aloud.  Does this send the wrong message to families, or is it totally appropriate, given the video's content?  Also, in his program, he doesn't mention anything about discussing the 6 early literacy skills with parents, although they are probably (I'm guessing) included in one of the "goody bag" handouts.  Is this enough?  What do you think of his Family Literacy Night agenda?


Why I chose the video

In a school with all students on free lunch and parents lacking the skills to support reading at home the video gets the message across "Read to your child 20 minutes a day".  the handouts that are included in the "goody bag" provide parents the necessary information to help them with their child's reading.  Once you view the video and read the publications then let me know what you think.  This one hour family literacy program is just an example of how to get involved....a first step.

I've enjoyed your comments.

Terry Young

To video or not to video

We all come from different places and skill levels. I don't want to judge Mr. Young's choices, as only he knows what his goals and parameters were for the program. For myself,  I would use video for having another adult with big credibility share facts and data that I might think parents wouldn't see me as the expert--- for example the segment from 60 Minutes with Diane Sawyer has some of the brain information that I think it's important for parents to know, but that's not my area of expertise. For just reading a book, I would hope that modeling reading a book would be something we could do and not have that done on video. On the other hand, maybe the Rosemary Wells' bunnies are the credibility experts needed? I can see both sides, but would have to pick for myself what I worked best. I do think that if your message to parents is that kids benefit from reduced screen time, that using screen time to make that point is a little counter-intuitive. Hmmm.

Video or not?

    If the video demonstrates what Mr. Young wants the parents to learn then I don't see a problem with showing it. Also, there is a read-aloud as part of the evenings agenda.

     As for not mentioning the 6 skills that might be a personal choice -- if the programs intent is to get parents to read to their children more maybe he doesn't want to overwhelm them with too much information at once. There is a review of the information in the goody bag where literacy skills might be given the spotlight.  Also, at the end of the agenda there is a question period where literacy skills could be introduced.

   Without knowing what the whole presentation looks like it's very hard to judge. However, if he can get an increase of parents reading to and with their children then it's a win win situation.

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