Making Literacy a Family Affair Helps Kids
LOUISVILLE, Ky. - Parents in schools
across the nation are learning how to bring literacy into their homes - and it
starts with mom and dad going to class. The National Centers for Learning
(NCFL) implemented a family literacy program a decade ago in 30 cities, and a
new report shows that as a result, parents are better equipped to help their
children succeed in school.
Darling, Center president and founder, said parents also are in the classrooms
- gaining the skills and confidence they need to engage with their child.
actually sit with their child and participate in the class, and understand what
is required of their children and how they can carry that learning into the
home. That's been very powerful. It's a very comprehensive approach to really
looking at the whole cyclical issue of under-education," Darling said.
parents in the schools reported that the greatest benefit of family literacy is
their own sense of increased support for their children's education. Darling
noted that these parents are more likely to attend conferences and after-school
programs, and the students are demonstrating good behavior and regular
said they have also seen great success with the children they have tracked at
more than 40 program sites on Native American reservations.
start out at sometimes the 20th percentile on national tests as 3- and
4-year-olds, and by the time they reach kindergarten, they're on the national
average. And it didn't just happen with a good early-childhood curriculum - the
parents knew what to do, and the home became a learning environment" she
report found that the program narrowed the achievement gap among African
Americans, Latino and Hispanic Americans, as well as their white and Asian
American counterparts. And Darling said in households where English is not the
primary language, it had extra benefits for parents.
finding that not only children's achievement test scores outrank those of other
children in the school and in the program, but the parents are much more
engaged. The parents who are not English-speakers start to speak English, and
start to interact with the schools," she added.
Toyota Family Literacy Program is the first national family literacy program
created to address literacy needs of Hispanic and immigrant families with
children in kindergarten through third grade.
report found gains in student achievement, parent engagement and adult reading
behaviors. It is available at http://familieslearning.org/pdf/TFLPSynthesis.pdf.