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READ/San Diego - Families for Literacy

San Diego Public Library
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Problem Statement

Low literacy is an intergenerational problem. Intervention that serves the whole family helps break that cycle. In many homes, particularly those with low-literate adults, children aren’t exposed to literacy rich environments. When this is addressed, the whole family, and the communities in which the families live, is positively impacted.


The Families for Literacy Program targets English-speaking parents and caregivers 18 years of age or older who have at least one child under the age of five. The program seeks to break the intergenerational cycle of illiteracy by working with the whole family. Through staff modeling, parents learn how to read to their children and prepare them for school. Families are given free books to build literacy rich home environments. Parents learn to be their child’s first and most important teacher. Utilizing colorful Power Point presentations, each 90 minute program includes a parenting lesson based on current research and parent intake surveys. Parents learn about topics including Phonemic Awareness; the Effects of TV/Computer use on the developing brain; Music and Rhyme as it relates to pre-reading strategies. Children’s songs are sung together and a variety of music pieces from around the world are incorporated into lessons.

Other innovations include The Saturday Family Fun Days Program created to augment regular curriculum and encourage community building between families working to break the cycle of low-literacy. Families for Literacy staff have also partnered with the Logan Heights Library staff to obtain and implement the Family Place Model grant, which will recruit new families into the library and be a great resource for current FFL families.


Last year, 110 families received 3000 new books to build home libraries; 150 children in Logan Heights received new books as a part of FFL outreach; parents in the College-Rolando, Serra Mesa, Valencia Park, City Heights, and Logan Heights communities received child development training and modeling of how to read to and prepare their children for school. Quantitative measures reflect that parents made significant progress toward meeting their literacy goals: 100% of parents who set the goal of learning the alphabet and letter sounds met this goal, 40% of parents who set the goal of reading a newspaper or magazine met that goal, 60% of parents who wanted to get a library card did so, 77% of parents who set the goal of regular library use attained this goal, 100% of parents met the goal of sharing books with their children and family members, 74% met the goal of helping children with homework, 83% of parents who set the goal of interacting with the school or teachers met this goal and of this group several became volunteers at their child’s school. 100% received books to build home libraries at each session. Consistently, 15 to 18% of parents attending the Families for Literacy programs participate in one on one tutoring through READ/San Diego for their own literacy development. The results of the implementation of Family Place will be assessed independently through UCLA in June 2010.