• Engage: #2Gen

Two generations. One future.

Family Literacy—An Essential 2-Gen Strategy

Family literacy is a critical instructional approach for providing intergenerational programming within the context of the family. It can be used as a vehicle for developing literacy, leadership, multicultural understanding, and self-efficacy. Despite the demise of Even Start, a small, yet vibrant community of family literacy programs continues to provide educational opportunities and supports to families that may not otherwise have access to them. Recognizing the importance of serving families that are working to improve their futures, the Goodling Institute for Research in Family Literacy sought to better understand the resilency of this community.

In January 2017, the Goodling Institute  published a paper that revisits family literacy programming in the United States. Goodling staff contacted all fifty states and the District of Columbia to learn about their efforts to fund family literacy programs with Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act Title II funding, also known as Adult Education and Family Literacy Act (AEFLA). In 2015-16, 11 states and the District of Columbia continued to fund family literacy primarily with AEFLA and state funding. Goodling staff also surveyed local programs, many of which operate outside of these 11 states and D.C. and found that more than 67% (n=87) never received Even Start monies.

The belief in the importance of family literacy was reinforced by state representatives we contacted. Several reported that programs increase academic skills and opportunities for children and the investment is seen as a poverty reduction strategy. Research backs up this belief—providing early childhood experiences that involve parent learning can help mitigate the disparity of resources available to socioeconomically disadvantaged families (Reardon, 2013). The Program for the International Assessment of Adult Competencies data “provide a strong case for investment in high-quality family learning programs, and other policy interventions at the family level” (Grotlüschen, 2016, p.145).
Although family literacy programming that uses the four-component instructional model (adult education, parent education, parent and child interactive literacy activities, and early childhood education) can be expensive, it may be a better use of resources since it compels programs that would normally work in isolation to partner and share expenses. These collaborations foster intergenerational and family learning which has not been adequately or fairly evaluated or studied.

The Goodling Institute proposed several policy recommendations that relate to sharing resources and evaluating the results:

To learn more about the paper and share your thoughts with us, join our webinar on March 23 at 1pm EST.

Register for the Webinar:
https://psu.zoom.us/meeting/register/eaeb620181ee46078c34be5db4a05ad8
 
References:
Grotlüschen, A., et al.  (2016), "Adults with Low Proficiency in Literacy or Numeracy", OECD Education Working Papers, No. 131, OECD Publishing, Paris, 144-145. DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1787/5jm0v44bnmnx-en
Reardon, S. F. (2013). The widening income achievement gap. Educational Leadership, 70(8), 10-16.

Share this: