How Can Professionals Help Parents Reinforce Literacy Skills?

Cay Holbrook Listen to Cay Holbrook's advice to professionals on how they can help parents reinforce literacy skills.


My name is Cay Holbrook and I'm an Associate Professor of Special Education at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, British Columbia, in Canada.

What do you believe professionals should do to help parents teach and reinforce literacy skills at home, school, and, the community?

I believe that professionals can play a critical role in helping parents teach and reinforce literacy skills at home, in the school, and in the community. I strongly believe that children who are visually impaired have the right to services—direct, ongoing, consistent instruction by a qualified teacher of students with visual impairments. I believe that this is a bottom line, that children must have access to teachers with visual impairments as they are developing literacy skills.

Research has been done that indicates that children who are braille-reading students should have daily access for an hour and a half to two hours per day, by a qualified teacher of students with visual impairments. Having said that, I think that parents and teachers form a team that's unbeatable. Parents provide one piece of the puzzle and professionals can help provide the other.

I think that professionals help parents by conducting learning media assessments which provide information for the educational team about the literacy tools that can support a child's development of early literacy skills. And I also think that teachers of students with visual impairments can help in the development of reading and writing skills and concept development that allow appropriate progress in early emergent literacy areas.

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