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Families Learning Together
Tulsa City-County Library
According to the 2010 Kids Count Special Report, 88% of fourth grade, low-income Hispanic students scored below proficient levels on the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NACP). Some of the factors identified as contributing to these deficiencies include a lack of early interactions with family members that foster linguistic development, little or no participation in high-quality early childhood and pre-kindergarten programs, and the challenge of immigrant families to communicate with their children’s school.
This highly collaborative, community-based program is a once a month family literacy intervention designed to provide opportunities for at-risk, low income Hispanic families to come together around books and learning in a safe and relaxed environment. Easily replicable, this intergenerational literacy outreach program consists of four parts: a family meal, parenting and English language education, literacy enrichment activities for children, and parent and child time together. By partnering with a local after school mentoring program, children ages 5-12 and their parents are exposed to high quality literature, songs, flannel stories, finger plays, and other literature-based activities. Because many low-income families do not have books in the home, families take home two books after each session. In addition, some months children receive manipulatives or other tactile giveaways that reinforce the emergent literacy skill for that month. Library staff demonstrate how parents can use the resources they take home with their children to build each emergent literacy skill.
Through pre and post surveys, parents have responded that they are provided the tools and confidence necessary to be their children’s first teachers. By communicating current research on early literacy development and modeling positive literacy experiences, parents are better equipped to foster a literacy-rich environment at home. Additionally, there have been increases in the number of books in families’ homes, an increase in the number of times per week that parents read aloud to their children, and improved English language skills of parents.