Parents & Reading

Given that reading is in the news, this short report may be of interest for parents.,3746,en_2649_35845621_50282672_1_1_1_1,00.html

Education begins at home. The first simple word a parent speaks to an infant opens the world of language to the child and sets the child on the path of exploration and discovery. When formal schooling begins, many parents believe that their role as educators has ended. But education is a shared responsibility of parents, schools, teachers, and various institutions in the economy and in society. New findings from the OECD’s Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) show that parental involvement in education is pivotal for the success of children throughout their school years and beyond.

The OECD is pleased to present its report, Let’s Read Them a Story! The Parent Factor in Education. The report examines whether and how parents’ involvement is related to their child’s proficiency in and enjoyment of reading — and it also offers comfort to parents who are concerned that they don’t have enough time or the requisite academic knowledge to help their children succeed in school. Many types of parental involvement that are associated with better student performance in PISA require relatively little time and no specialised knowledge. What counts is genuine interest and active engagement.


This chapter discusses how parental involvement benefits students – and how particular forms of involvement may be more beneficial than others.

Parental involvement in a child’s education should start at birth – and never stop. This chapter shows how telling stories or reading books to children when they are very young is strongly related to how well they read and how much they enjoy reading later on.

Older children benefit from their parents’ involvement too. This chapter discusses how talking about social and political issues, or about books, films and television programmes with adolescent children is related to better reading performance at school.

When parents take the time to meet their child’s teachers, or when they volunteer for activities at school, they signal to their children that they value education. This chapter examines some of the ways busy parents can be involved in school activities and emphasises that parents and teachers should not wait to meet each other.

Children – even older children, although they may not want to admit it – look to their parents as role models. This chapter explores how children whose parents have more positive attitudes towards reading are better at reading, themselves, and enjoy reading more.

Citizen Letter to the Editor – School district policy dividing families

My two older children go to Peden Hill.

I also have two younger children, one of whom starts school in September.

We live about eight blocks away from Peden Hill. On the day of registration we went to Peden Hill to register my daughter, but we were told that because we lived closer to Westwood, we would have to go there and to request a transfer.

Figuring that her two older siblings go to Peden Hill it would not be a problem getting her transferred. We were wrong.

I contacted the school asking to speak to the principal and was told she was too busy to talk.

I was then told by the secretary that we would have to wait till August to find out if she got in and that there were only three spaces left. We have four children and I really don’t think its appropriate for them to go to two different schools.

Something has to be done.

D. Ross Prince George


DPAC had released a report in February that referred to some of the issues around kindergarten registration that would be coming up. In the recommendation section of the report, we state:

As an example, it appears that elementary school capacities are being reached or exceeded in some areas, while other areas have excess capacity…

The district policy 5119, for student registration and transfers, was recently revised. This revised policy gives more emphasis to catchment for regular schools and programs, rather than allowing children to register in whichever school they wish. This policy will be more used in the future, given the implementation of full time kindergarten, the increased numbers in the building of classes, growth in different areas of the city, and the upcoming increase in elementary school aged children across the district. Some schools will not have any room for additional children, and some schools would be faced with an inability to add more children without rebuilding classes and adding teachers.

The revised policy does not appear to give the school district any clear  responsibility to transport children to a school that they can be accommodated in, should their catchment school (or other local schools) be too full to fit them. The school district may have unwritten, customary policies as to how this issue is handled – but it is the written policy that must be followed. It is unclear if any record is kept when children are turned away from a school due to capacity issues.

DPAC is hearing of a number of parents having problems getting their children into schools, but this is only anecdotal evidence.

Additionally, DPAC had comments when policy 5119, which governs student registration and transfer was revised:

We have heard from parents at other schools who have been informed that their application to transfer their kindergarten child to the same school their elder sibling is registered in will only be reviewed in mid-September. This is not an acceptable situation for parents to be in.


Focus on Reading

From an email sent from the Ministry of Education July 25th:

This morning, Education Minister George Abbott sent an email to BC teachers outlining the government’s plan to make reading in Kindergarten to Grade 3 a primary focus for the coming school year. Building on the ministry’s ongoing commitment to literacy as the foundation for all learning, the goal is to use current research and understanding to create best practices that will ensure all students succeed at reading.

This is an important topic for teachers, but since literacy extends well beyond the classroom and involves parents, families, and communities, we know it is important to many of you as well. With that in mind, we invite you to review the discussion paper “A New Focus on Reading” on the Ministry of Education’s engagement website at  We also invite you to provide feedback on the discussion paper at

We look forward to hearing from you!

The BC’s Education Plan Moderation Team