#1: Why is Reading Important? (b) #2: Reading Tips for Parents (b)

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ESOL for Parents and Caregivers Curriculum

Supporting Children’s Learning:

Unit 3 Reading with Children


#1: Why is Reading Important? (b)

#2: Reading Tips for Parents (b)

#3: Watching Videos of Parents Reading to Their Children (b)

#4: Big Dreams- A Family Book About Reading (b)

#5: Book Related Vocabulary (b)

#6: Asking Open-Ended Questions When You Read (b)

#7: Review—Writing Book Reports (b)

#8: Using Children’s Books as Classroom Texts (b)

#9: Having a Family Reading Night
Developed by Susan Klaw

© English for New Bostonians 2014

About English for New Bostonians

English for New Bostonians (ENB) is a public-private-community partnership whose mission is to increase access to high-quality English learning opportunities for adult immigrants in Boston. Through grant making, capacity-building, and public outreach and education, ENB expands the number of English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) seats available, improves program quality in agencies across the City, and leverages private and public resources. Founded in 2001 by the Mayor’s Office of New Bostonians (MONB), ENB now involves several city departments, approximately 20 public and private funders, and numerous community organizations.

About the ESOL for Parents and Caregivers Initiative

The ESOL for Parents and Caregivers Initiative aims to increase immigrant parents’ English communication skills and ability to support their children’s educational success. It is a partnership among ENB, the Boston Public Schools Department of Adult Education and Community Services, and MONB, and includes program support, curriculum development, and coordination among community and public school partners.

About Susan Klaw and Curriculum Design Team

Susan Klaw has directed, taught in, and developed original curriculum materials for Boston-based parent ESOL programs since 1991. She has delivered extensive training locally and nationally on various aspects of Family Literacy and been named a “Literacy Champion” by the Massachusetts Literacy Foundation, Parent Educator of the Year by the Children’s Trust Fund, and Adult Educator of the Year by the Massachusetts Coalition for Adult Education. Special thanks to the Curriculum Design Team of over 20 teachers and stakeholders from community-based organizations, Boston Public Schools, and other agencies for their input and careful piloting at all stages of the process.

About the ESOL for Parents and Caregivers Curriculum

The Curriculum gives ESOL teachers background materials, lessons and activities designed to help immigrant parents learn English and become more effectively involved in their children’s education. With this curriculum, ESOL teachers can orient immigrant parents to the US school system and Boston Public Schools, provide them with practical skills such as interpreting report cards and participating in teacher conferences, and help them support children’s learning at home. While some of the information is Boston-specific, much can be used in any locale.

Using the ESOL for Parents and Caregivers Curriculum

All materials are intended to be downloaded and widely used. Please cite English for New Bostonians and credit English for New Bostonians on all reproductions. We welcome feedback and stories on how you and your students are using the ESOL for Parents and Caregivers Curriculum!

Thanks to the many public and private funders that have supported this project, especially the Barr Foundation, Harold Whitworth Pierce Charitable Trust, Highland Street Foundation, Mabel Louise Riley Foundation, Liberty Mutual Foundation and the Mayor’s Office for New Bostonians We Are Boston Gala.

Contact us at info@englishfornewbostonians.org

or visit us online at www.englishfornewbostonians.org


(Can be used/adapted for use with beginning level students)

Reading with their children is the most important thing parents can do at home to promote school success. In this opening activity of a long and important unit, students begin to define why reading matters for themselves and for their children.

Student Objectives:

  • Students will be able to list two reasons stated by the author of the poem “I Read” why reading is important to him.

  • Students will be able to list at least two reasons why reading with their children is important.


  • Handout: Discussion Questions about Reading
  • Handout: Poem—“I Read”

  • Handout: Version of “I Read” in Spanish—Yo Leo

  • Sample copies of three or four Tomie dePaulo books

  • YouTube video: “Why Reading is Important” with Tomie dePaulo, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7epT0qUaaX4

  • Index cards

Activity Outline:

  1. Explain objectives.

  1. Opening discussion: Divide students into pairs and give them the Handout Discussion Questions about Reading. Allow about ten minutes partner discussion. Ask whether anyone would like to share what they or their partner said.

  1. Distribute poem “I Read.” Read it over slowly, several times. Ask whether any students would like to read it aloud, or have students take turns reading one verse at a time. Ask how old they think the author is and have them point to clues in the poem.

  1. Give out index cards. Ask students to read the poem to themselves and write on their index card at least one of the reasons the author gives for why he likes to read. Have parents read what they wrote on their cards and note their answers on the board. Ask students to look over the poem one more time and see if all of the reasons the author gives for liking to read have now been listed.

  1. Write on an easel pad, so you can save it: Reading is the most important thing you can do with your children at home to help them succeed in school. Explain that this is what most experts think. Ask students why they think this is true.

  1. Begin a student generated list on the easel pad which you will save and add to as you move through this unit. The heading is: Why Is Reading with Children so Important? Get students to contribute their ideas and put them on the list. Explain that you will do a number of classes on the topic of Reading with Children because it is so important. At the end of each class, the group will review and add to this list.

  1. Pass around the books by noted children’s author Tomie dePaolo that you have collected for parents to look at. Explain that he has written and illustrated many wonderful books for children. See whether any of the students are familiar with any of the books.

  1. Watch the four minute You Tube video by Tomie dePaolo called “Why is Reading Important.” Let students watch it and listen to it several times to help them understand what he is saying.

  1. Write a quote of his on the board from the video and discuss what he means: “If you can read, you can learn anything about everything and everything about anything.”


  • Encourage parents to share and discuss the poem “I Read” with their older children.

  • Give Spanish speaking parents the poem in Spanish—“Yo Leo.”

  • Read a Tomie dePaulo book to the class or do an author study on him (See this unit, Activity # 7).

Handout: Discussion Questions about Reading

Directions: Talk about the questions below with your partner. You do not have to write anything, just have a conversation.

  • Did your parents read to you when you were a child?

  • Did you have children’s books in the house when you were a child?

  • Did you see your parents reading when you were younger?

  • Do you like to read? Why or why not?
  • What kinds of things do you like to read? For example, books, magazines, newspapers, poetry, on the internet?

  • Do your children like to read? Why or why not?

  • What kinds of things do they like to read?

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