Family literacy is lifelong learning for the entire family. Parents and children – both generations – learn best when they learn together. Adults and children receiving family literacy services not only strengthen their learning skills among their peers, but also come together to support and inspire each other’s educational success. Adults also learn how to support their children’s education as their child’s first and most important teacher.
What are Family Literacy Programs?
Family literacy refers to a continuum of programs that addresses the intergenerational nature of literacy. Under the Adult Education and Family Literacy Act, Title II of the Workforce Investment Act of 1998, family literacy programs integrate
(1) interactive literacy activities between parent and child;
(2) training in parenting activities;
(3) literacy training that leads to economic self-sufficiency;
(4) age appropriate education to prepare children for success in school and life experiences.
The essence of family literacy is that parents are supported as the first teachers of their children. Programs work with individuals as well as with the family unit. While family literacy programs provide developmental experiences for young children, their parents are offered instruction in parenting skills and parental support to change patterns of family interaction. Some programs build the literacy skills of parents and extend learning opportunities to include pre-employment and employment skills. Instructional approaches are modified appropriately to respond to the variety of cultures within each program. Family literacy programs vary from one community to another as each program works to meet the needs of the participants and the community as well.