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Family Literacy

What is family literacy?

Family literacy is a program model designed to break the cycle of intergenerational poverty and low literacy in families. Family literacy integrates several distinct programs – adult literacy education, early childhood education, and parenting education – into a unified program. Basic assumptions of family literacy include that parents are their children's first and most important teachers, that a great deal of critical learning occurs in the home, and that learning is a continuous, life-long process.

What does a family literacy program look like?

Family literacy programs follow a holistic model in which parents and children learn together. As the child's first teachers, parents play a powerful role in their children's academic success, so family literacy programs promote the involvement of parents in all aspects of the child's early development and education.
  What does family literacy look like?

Family literacy programs strive to provide services that integrate all of the following activities:

Adult Literacy Education

provides parents with basic skills, including English, life skills and the opportunity to earn a high school credential. 

Early Childhood Education

provides opportunities for children to learn from birth and focuses on the education of very young children from birth through age 8. Family literacy programs work in the areas of physical development, social-emotional development and cognitive development and emphasize children’s eventual success in school. 

Parent Education

provides parents with a wide variety of learning topics including parenting strategies, how to be advocates and role models for their children, and strategies to support their children’s learning. 

Interactive Literacy Activities (ILA)

provide a time “to increase and facilitate meaningful parent-child interactions focused primarily on language and literacy development in a high-quality learning environment where they can learn and play together.” (Jacobs, 2004, p. 197). 

Home Visits

provide a means for delivering literacy instruction in a familiar setting and to emphasize that parents are the child’s first and most important teacher.