Children, Youth, Families & Schools, Nebraska Center for Research on


Date of this Version



Hanna, J., Hinrichs, K., Mahar, C., DeFrain, J., & Durden, T. (2010, January). The Power of Family Literacy. NebGuide G1985. University of Nebraska–Lincoln Extension, Institute of Agriculture and Natural Resources.


Copyright University of Nebraska 2010


StoryQUEST’s Vision: High-quality early relationships and experiences throughout their daily routines provide each infant and toddler with the tools and skills to build a strong foundation for future school readiness. Families, caregivers, and communities as a whole collaborate to enable all children to become highly competent in language and literacy. This series was developed as part of a national research project — StoryQUEST — through the California Institute on Human Services, Sonoma State University.

Children exposed to reading and storytelling at home have greater success in school. Second in a series of nine, this NebGuide suggests language- and literacy-related activities.

Virtually all parents want their children to learn to read, write, and succeed in school, and are eager to provide any support necessary.

Family involvement in everyday language- and literacy-related activities has a significant impact on children’s language development and acquisition of early literacy skills. Early language and literacy activities at home contribute to differences when children enter school.

Parental attitudes and activities convey messages about schooling, work, the joy of learning, and the value of education. Children who see literacy as a family value and learn early on that reading, writing, and communicating orally are pleasurable, important, and meaningful are more successful in school.

Research found that children who had fewer language experiences in their homes in the first years of life started school behind peers who had richer language experiences. This gap continued until age 9 when the study was concluded.