You Are Your Child’s First Teacher

Learning to read and write is critical for children’s success in school and in life. Research has shown that the early childhood years – from infancy through age 8 – are the most important period for literacy development. Family members, particularly parents and other caretakers, are children’s first teachers and have tremendous influence on their children’s development path and progress.

By Debra Pryor and Deborah Meyers

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 As a caring and concerned parent, you want to actively support and encourage your child’s literacy development. Here is our top-five list of educator tips for parents on how to introduce your child to a world of learning that is fun and engaging.


  1. Set aside time every day to read to your child – one of the most important things you can do because it encourages a love for reading in your child.

  2. Children are expected to have a number of basic skills before they enter kindergarten. If you have a pre-kindergarten child, find out what is expected, and make sure your child is school-ready.  

  3. Children learn best when material is presented in a context. Use your everyday interactions with your child, such as going to the store, as learning experiences.

  4. Children learn through games and play activities. Board games teach your child the concept of taking turns and typically involve skills like counting. Online learning games and activities make use of visual and audio media as well as immediate feedback to engage and motivate children to pay attention and to stay focused on specific learning activities for an extended period.

  5. Finally, remember that children are eager to learn – from a teacher’s point of view, that’s at least half the job! When learning is fun, your child will welcome new challenges.



About the authors of this article

Debra Pryor has over 20 years of experience in the K-12 education market. She is the author of Technology in the Classroom; Ahead of the Trend Study: Youth and Education; The Ten Emerging Truths: New Directions for Girls 11–17; and Empowering the Next Generation Learner, and has been quoted on educational issues in USA Today, New York Times, and Los Angeles Times.


Deborah Meyers has over 30 years’ experience in the areas of education, communication, and public information. As writer and project manager for Partners In Brainstorms, Inc., a consulting firm specializing in identifying current and future dynamics in the education market, she has contributed to numerous program materials for tweens and teens ages 11–17 as well as research reports on the K–12 education market.