Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA)

PISA - Let's Read Them a Story! The Parent Factor in Education


Table of contentsGetting everyone involved | Successful parental-involvement programmes | Presentation | How to obtain this publication | Related documents 



ISBN: 9789264176232 (E-book) and 9789264176195 (Print)
Pages: 79
Language: English

Also available: French, German


PISA - Let's Read Them a Story! The Parent Factor in Education

Education begins at home. The first simple word a parent speaks to an infant opens the world of language to the child and sets the child on the path of exploration and discovery. When formal schooling begins, many parents believe that their role as educators has ended. But education is a shared responsibility of parents, schools, teachers, and various institutions in the economy and in society. New findings from the OECD’s Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) show that parental involvement in education is pivotal for the success of children throughout their school years and beyond.


The OECD is pleased to present its report, Let’s Read Them a Story! The Parent Factor in Education. The report examines whether and how parents’ involvement is related to their child’s proficiency in and enjoyment of reading -- and it also offers comfort to parents who are concerned that they don’t have enough time or the requisite academic knowledge to help their children succeed in school. Many types of parental involvement that are associated with better student performance in PISA require relatively little time and no specialised knowledge. What counts is genuine interest and active engagement.



Table of contents


This chapter discusses how parental involvement benefits students – and how particular forms of involvement may be more beneficial than others.

Parental involvement in a child’s education should start at birth – and never stop. This chapter shows how telling stories or reading books to children when they are very young is strongly related to how well they read and how much they enjoy reading later on.

Older children benefit from their parents’ involvement too. This chapter discusses how talking about social and political issues, or about books, films and television programmes with adolescent children is related to better reading performance at school.

When parents take the time to meet their child’s teachers, or when they volunteer for activities at school, they signal to their children that they value education. This chapter examines some of the ways busy parents can be involved in school activities and emphasises that parents and teachers should not wait to meet each other.

Children – even older children, although they may not want to admit it – look to their parents as role models. This chapter explores how children whose parents have more positive attitudes towards reading are better at reading, themselves, and enjoy reading more.


Getting everyone involved

The report also includes checklists that recommend specific ways in which parents can become more involved in their children’s education. Teachers, school leaders and policy makers can also promote greater parental involvement.


Successful parental-involvement programmes

Examples of successful parental-involvement programmes throughout the world are given throughout the report:


Ireland: Legal recognition of parents as partners

Israel: Family as Educator

Japan: Homeroom teachers

Korea: School support for parental involvement

New Zealand: Working with Maori extended families

Poland: All of Poland Reads to Kids

Romania: Parenting programme in early childhood education

Sweden: Las For Mej, Pappa

United Kingdom: Bookstart

United States: 826 Valencia

United States: Harlem Children Zone

United States: The National Network of Partnership Schools

United States: Cool Culture

Worldwide: Reggio Emilia approach


Most important, the report shows parents that it's never too early and never too late to get involved in their child's education.




Presentation given at the launch of the publication on 11 May 2012 in Potsdam, Germany

How to obtain this publication

  • Subscribers and readers at subscribing institutions can access the online editions via the OECD's ilibrary.
  • Non-subscribers can download the PDF e-book and purchase the paper copies via our Online Bookshop.
  • Order from your local distributor.
  • Government officials with accounts () can go to the "Books" tab on OLIS.

Related documents


For complete data and analysis on which this report is based, see “Parental Involvement in Selected PISA Countries and Economies”, OECD Education Directorate Working Paper no. 73, OECD Publishing.





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