Parents are being offered advice as part of a new drive to encourage them to help with their children's homework.
Children do better if their parents are involved in their reading
The Scottish Executive has improved its Parentzone website and published the first of three packages designed to show parents how to provide support.
Research has suggested that regular homework has the same benefit as an extra year's schooling.
At the launch, Education Minister Peter Peacock stressed: "Education does not begin and end at the school gate."
He said parents could play a "vital role" in supporting their children and helping them develop their skills.
"But not all parents know how best to do this and not all parents know where to turn for help," he said.
"The three-tier information package I am launching today is designed to give parents the support and advice they want.
"It is designed to be flexible and to augment information already available from schools in ways that can be used to best suit their local circumstances."
The package includes staff development materials for schools, a leaflet offering advice to parents, and more detailed and practical information for families on the Parentzone website.
It was launched at St Andrew's RC Secondary in Glasgow.
The chairman of its school board, Bruce Lorimer, said: "We believe parents play a pivotal role in the education of children, and parents in our school always promote the school motto - putting young people first."
Alan Smith, president of the Scottish School Board Association, said: "We welcome this as a first step in supporting parents' involvement in their children's education.
"It will help parents to engage at a level with which they are most comfortable and we appreciate the flexibility of the non-prescriptive approach adopted by the executive."
Research has suggested that children move up to 18 months ahead in their reading scores when parents are involved.
Children are said to do better when schools and families work together.
Half the language used by adults is in place by the time they are three years old, rising to 85% by the age of five.