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Through the project, Windham has found that family members, especially those unfamiliar with American schools, gain confidence and a better understanding of their child's education. The father of a Russian student, in his struggling English, made a point to contact Windham after the project in order to tell her "it is good you teach this, having children come to ask their parents questions. You are teaching the right things".

Researchers have found that the most powerful form of parental involvement occurs when parents are actively engaged with their children in ways that enhance learning (Thorkildsen & Stein, 1998). Projects such as these offer ways for non-English speaking parents to participate in their children's education, and motivate non-English speaking students to convey who they and their families are to the English-speaking community. Students learning English as a second language can interview family members in their home language and write their family stories in English, perhaps sharing the stories with classmates in two languages. Students have opportunities to read, write, and speak both their home language and English.

Students also may gain new insights into what makes a story. After observing her family's storytelling habits and interviewing family members, a fifth-grader at a Portland, Oregon, school remarked:

I had to ask a lot of questions of my parents and I was surprised about how much I didn't know. It was really interesting because I didn't know that when my grandma talks, when my great-grandma talks, I didn't realize that saying "I used to do that when I was your age" was considered a story. It was really interesting.

By encouraging and providing opportunities for meaningful family involvement, teachers play a critical role in bridging home and school. In the small, rural town of Copper Center, Alaska, Tamara Van Wyhe, a secondary school English teacher, engages her students in creating an annual publication of poetry and prose that is shared with the community in a year-end celebration. Through the writings, Van Wyhe says she has developed a greater understanding of the strengths of her students' families and how they support their children's learning. She says this new knowledge has even changed the focus of her parent newsletter-moving away from "look what the school is doing for your child" to "thank you so much for all you are doing to help your child learn

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