How Can Parents Partner with Teachers for their Child’s Literacy Development?

Expert Interviews: Robyn Murphy, The Parent's Literacy Coach and Further Her Women's Empowerment Coach

Tell us a little about Further Her and your specialty:

Further Her is a consulting and coaching company that I founded in 2012.  There are three main areas that we work in: Life Coaching/Women’s Empowerment, Literacy Coaching, and Community Service/Social Responsibility.

What’s unique about your services?

I have been working in the education field for over 35 years.  I earned my M.S. in Reading Education in the 80s.  I have coached teachers for the last 18 years; many of those years working in 25+ school districts across the country. I have experienced education in all community settings, so I have a broader view than most.

Your services are a result of the work you do with teachers in the school system.  Tell us about the program and organization you work with for the school system?

I currently work for a wonderful organization called the Children’s Literacy Initiative. I have been with them for 13 months. My teacher coaching experiences also include stints with The Center for Literacy and the American Reading Company. In each of these roles, I worked with teachers on their practice of increasing the literacy outcomes for their students.  I have observed thousands of reading lessons over my career and have given feedback on all of them.  My work now has me placed in a high needs school in Philadelphia, PA.  I work with teachers in grades K-3 as they facilitate lessons that support the building of a strong reading foundation for children.

Because of the work you do with the school system, you came up with a unique concept to coach parents and help them support their kids' literacy needs at home.  At what point did you realize this was needed? Why?

I have always helped parents.  I have had such a long career in education that I have been the “go-to” for my family and friends for years as they encountered challenges with their child’s education.  In the last two years, I have focused on sharing my knowledge in a more structured way and with a broader reach.

What I learned is that many parents believe that if their child is in a “good” school, they can have a hands-off approach to their child’s education. This is rarely true.  Unfortunately, many parents do not feel the impact of this until middle school, where many deficiencies are brought to light. For most of them, understanding how important their role in their child’s reading life is, could have made it easier.

Define reading and its value.

Reading is FREEDOM! Knowing how to read is the basis of freedom.  You get to have choices. Reading is saying the words AND understanding what it means.  Being a good reader is invaluable.

What are the 3 common reading problems for students today?

  1. Not reading every day.  Children without a reading habit have a much lower vocabulary and much less background knowledge than children who read daily.
  2. Not having their reading abilities properly nurtured and/or repaired.
  3. Not having access to texts that are appropriate.

Spelling and Reading, is it one and the same?

The short answer is no. Spelling is the ability to use your knowledge of letter and syllable sounds correctly in a visible way.  Reading is the interpretation of those letter and syllable sounds.  

What are some Reading strategies that can help?

Each child and family have different needs. When a child needs help with reading, there are many factors that got him/her there. I could not make a recommendation without specific information.

What about those with Dyslexia and learning difficulties, how can they manage?

Dyslexia and other learning difficulties should be addressed by the professionals that are trained to support each specific need. Parents should stay open to consulting specialists in the earliest stages of their child’s development.

Do you find the literacy programs on the rise or struggling just as much as our libraries, schools, and other sources for supporting and encouraging reading?

There was a time when reading was supported and encouraged throughout the community.  Many factors have led to a change in that part of society.  The problem is, very few viable options have been offered as replacements. Where do children get to see and choose books?

How do you find the literacy challenges of a child impacting their parents?

Parents must recognize the challenges before they are impacted by them.  The frustrations of paying for tutors and outside of school programs can weigh heavy.  There may be guilt and confusion over what they didn’t do in the early years.  They may need to adjust their dreams and plans for their child and that is an emotional challenge on top of everything else.

For parents that could benefit from your services how can they get in touch with you? …and if parents who want to sign up their kids for a literacy program with your organization?

The organization that I work for contracts with school districts exclusively.  If parents want to reach me, they can do so at,, and at 610-585-5719.

Is there anything else you’ll like to share with the readers?

You can get my checklist, How to Create a Home Reading Habit, at


Thank you Robyn for taking time out to chat with us about your expertise in the importance of reading, literacy programs, and services you offer. 

Please contact Robyn Murphy, if you need assistance on how to support your child for their literacy issues. 

Continue to watch out for more interviews, tips, and advice from amazing experts like Robyn Murphy. 

Robyn, thank you again, it was a pleasure!

Until next time,


Check out the video chat between Robyn and Gracie:

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