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Lesson Plan

Connect With Low-Literate Families: A Three-Tiered Approach

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Grades K – 2
Lesson Plan Type Standard Lesson
Estimated Time Four or five 30-minute sessions
Lesson Author

Jennifer Soalt

Concord, Massachusetts

Donna Elder

Louisville, Kentucky

Cindy Nelson

Louisville, Kentucky


International Literacy Association



From Theory to Practice



Research shows that the connection between home and school is enhanced when children share learning experiences with their families. This lesson plan follows a three-tier scaffolding model to suggest how teachers can prepare take-home reading activities for children to share with their parents or caregivers. By preparing students to read a selection unassisted and providing prompts for parent–child discussion, the model provides opportunities for low-literate parents or caregivers to celebrate their children's achievement and contribute their personal experiences and knowledge in ways that are comfortable to them.

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Smith, M.C., & Elish-Piper, L. (2002). Primary-grade educators and adult literacy: Some strategies for assisting low-literate parents. The Reading Teacher, 56(2), 156–165.

  • Many literacy activities that teachers send home with children living in low-literate families are difficult for parents or caregivers, who may be intimidated or confused by the demands of the particular activity.

  • Teachers can develop successful take-home literacy activities for children from low-literate families by following a three-tier scaffolding model that takes into consideration the needs of the families. The three-tier approach consists of
1. Preparing students to take the activity home.

2. Sending students home to work on the activity with their parents or caregivers.

3. Having students share in class what their experiences were with the at-home activity.


Morrow, L.M., Kuhn, M.R., & Schwanenflugel, P.J. (2006). The Family Fluency Program. The Reading Teacher, 60(4), 322–333.

This program introduces parents to strategies to use at home including echo reading, choral reading, and partner reading.


Kuhn, M. (2004). Helping students become accurate, expressive readers: Fluency instruction for small groups. The Reading Teacher, 58(4), 338–344.


Wilfong, L.G. (2008). Building fluency, word-recognition ability, and confidence in struggling readers: The poetry academy. The Reading Teacher, 62(1), 4–13.

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