By Karina Wegelius, Director of ESL Programs
While visiting one of our Family Literacy classroom in the Centennial School District, I observed two of our instructors, Brigitte and Iryna, conducing an ILA session. ILA stands for ‘Interactive Literacy Activities” and its purpose is to teach parents to support language development in their young children by engaging both in a fun activity.
What a joy it was to see mothers and children having a good time. The book of the day was “The Secret Birthday Message” by Eric Carle. Both instructors developed many hands-on literacy activities to teach “shapes” and “following directions,” based on the book. Learning new words through “story time,” creating a “shapes book” with mom, and having the young children follow directions around the room using fun props made this ILA session a real learning adventure for everyone! At the end of the session, all the children were very excited to take their children’s book home with them to add to their family home library. I was touched by the many moms that thanked Vita for making this program possible.
Research has demonstrated that the literacy level of the mother greatly influences a child’s success in school. Since all the moms in our family literacy program are second language learners of English, it is quite a challenge for them to help their child develop the language skills that are critical for entering pre-school programs. Activities like ILA not only help the children, but their parents as well.