Family Literacy


Tomorrow we will be joined by Dr. Betsy Jones who is the Director of Polytech Adult Education/Family Literacy in Kent County, Delaware.  Dr. Jones has over 25 years of experience in adult education program development and leadership.  She leads the adult division and supervises all of the Polytech Adult Education literacy and workforce development programming.  She holds a graduate degree in School Counseling and a doctorate in Innovation and Leadership in addition to multiple state certifications for school counseling and administration.  She has been the Director of Adult Education in the Polytech School District for the past 10 years and has overseen the expansion of programming to include 10 satellite locations in Kent County, Delaware. 

The Polytech Family Literacy Program provides services that integrate parent engagement, early childhood and elementary education with adult literacy training.  The primary goal of the program is to build on the strengths and address the needs of parents/primary caregivers and their young children. 

Please join us for this exciting discussion!



Welcome to our Family Literacy discussion.  Today we are joined by Dr. Betsy Jones who is the Director of Polytech Adult Education/Family Literacy in Kent County, Delaware.

Dr. Jones,Thank you for joining us today for this important discussion!  Please tell us about your program and the families you serve in Kent County, Delaware, especially how you provide services to the many Hispanic families living in both Kent and Sussex Counties in Delaware.



Good morning from Delaware and thanks Jeri for the warm welcome!  The Polytech Adult Education ESL/family literacy program assists adult English language learners (ELLs) in improving their speaking, listening, reading and writing skills as well as building their confidence in working with their children on literacy-based activities.  Children are concurrently enrolled in age-appropriate educational services while their parents attend literacy class.  Family literacy services are offered in partnership with 3 local school districts; programming is located in the elementary school in each district that has the largest ESL enrollment. 

Our program is built upon the four core requirements of the State of Delaware Family Literacy model: early childhood education, interactive literacy activities between parents and their children, adult literacy and parenting education.  Throughout the duration of program participation, our adult and early education teachers work to develop a partnership between the family and our program.  This partnership includes providing supports for children’s progress in reading and school readiness, as well as fostering parenting skills and confidence.  This support of the parent-child relationship is achieved by creating a welcoming program environment, developing a trusting and respectful relationship with parents, promoting open communication between teachers, program staff and parents, and incorporating the unique cultural, ethnic and linguistic backgrounds of the family.  Parents are provided instruction in child development and parenting, connected with community resources, and participate in personal and academic goal setting, as well as health screenings and developmental assessments for their child(ren).  Our program goals are to:

  • Foster a learning environment that is safe and supportive and promotes the personal growth and development of students and staff;
  • Deliver quality adult literacy instruction that aligns with the English Language Proficiency Standards for Adult Education;
  • Assist adults who are parents or family members in obtaining education and skills to become partners in the educational development of their children and create sustainable improvement in economic opportunities for their families;
  • Deliver quality early childhood instruction driven by scientifically-based literacy research and targeted educational support for school-aged children;
  • Provide parent-caregiver training, and interactive literacy activities between the parent/caregiver and child;
  • Assist ELLs in improving their literacy skills and acquiring an understanding of the American Government, freedom and the responsibilities of citizenship;
  • Assist adult learners in acquiring the knowledge and skills necessary for employment and economic self-sufficiency.

Thank you Dr. Jones for bringing your program to our community discussion!   I know that the services and resources you provide for the families in Delaware are benefit both parents and children in family relationships, literacy, employability skills, and other areas as well.  What changes has your program undergone to provide services to the (mostly Hispanic) families in the areas you serve in Delaware?  Also, what have been your greatest challenges?


Our program typically services more than 500 adult learners annually.  In FY12, adult ELLs represented 26% of our Adult Basic Education (ABE) population.  Today more than half of our ABE students are second language learners.  The additional impact of this change in our adult student population is that our family literacy program is now working almost exclusively with Hispanic and Haitian families.  The adult learning/growth continuum is much longer for ELLs, starting with oral proficiency and basic levels of reading and writing, advancing into ABE/GED®, adult high school diploma studies and culminating in transition to postsecondary education or training.  Within our own program ELLs can transition to career certificate programs in healthcare, manufacturing or construction trades through the Integrated Education and Training (IET) programming available. 

As the ELL population grew, we realized that the best place to offer our services was in the community, close to where our students live and work.  We partner with area school districts to provide space to offer classes, and in some cases, financial support for aspects of the program.  This shift has enabled us to grow our program and connect with families right in their neighborhood, but has also presented some challenges.  We are working harder to educate building teachers and administrators in our host districts on the purpose and effect of family literacy.  We are also communicating more regularly with them and tailoring what we provide in each location to align with the greatest need of the children in that district.  Because our program partners with 3 different school districts, that means working with many different curricula, different K-12 teachers and different student strengths and weaknesses.  Whenever possible, our family literacy staff attend curriculum training in the districts to ensure that what we teach in the evening supports what the children are learning during the day. 

We also stress to our school district partners that family literacy is really parent engagement 2.0!  Working with ELL families has definitely impacted interactive literacy activities between parents and their children.  Because of the [sometimes great] differences in native language as well as English language proficiency among the adult students in our ESL program, we have had to make changes in the way we conduct the parent-child literacy activities.  We have moved from mostly whole group activity delivery to a more personal and individualized approach.  As it turns out, what started out as a logistical challenge has, in fact, resulted in a more meaningful experience for the families as well as for our program.

From 26% to over 50% is quite an increase, and I am aware that other programs in Delaware have also seen greater numbers in their ELL populations.  It makes sense to provide family literacy resources and programs in ELL communities, even though the communities themselves are still diverse.  I love that your language diversity challenge developed into a more positive experience for your families!

For those of you working in other states, are you seeing the same trend in your ELL population?  Do you mostly provide whole group family literacy activities, or does your program individualize activities as Polytech does?

Colleagues, please share the best practices and activities you implement to engage the families in your programs!

Thank you, Dr. Jones, for sharing your family literacy program, along with its changes and challenges.  I appreciate your time and expertise.  Please continue to participate in our discussion over the next few days.

Tomorrow we will be joined by Staci Croom-Raley, Executive Director for Home Instruction for Parents of Preschool Youngsters (HIPPY), based in Arkansas.  HIPPY USA is an evidence-based home visiting program that empowers parents to become their child’s first great teacher by giving them the tools to teach their kids and prepare them for kindergarten and beyond.  Prior to joining HIPPY USA, Ms. Croom-Raley served as Vice President of Workforce Development at Goodwill Industries of Arkansas where she spearheaded the development of several workforce and adult continuing education initiatives. Staci has enjoyed a 20-year career in the public and private sectors addressing public health, workforce, and economic initiatives for communities in need.  Staci has a Master of Science from The University of Memphis, where she focused on Leadership and Adult Education.

Please join us as we continue to hear from expert family literacy program directors!

Welcome to the second day of our Family Literacy discussion.  Today we welcome Staci Croom-Raley, Executive Director for Home Instruction for Parents of Preschool Youngsters (HIPPY), based in Arkansas.  

Good morning Staci and thank you for joining us today!  Please tell us about your program and the diverse needs of the families you serve living in 119 communities, 19 states, and in the District of Columbia.

Good morning Jeri and everyone celebrating the importance and value of family literacy!  Greetings from HIPPY USA and all of our amazing program affiliates and families across the country.  It's an honor to share information with the community today about our program and how adult education principles underpin the practice of home visiting, and how these two fields work together to support family literacy and stronger families.  First, I'll share a brief overview of HIPPY, our mission and history.  It will be clear how important adult education is to our work and our legacy as we discuss our model for teaching and coaching parents, the ways in which our families and staff engage in adult learning opportunities daily, and the multigenerational outcomes we see with families all over the world who have trusted HIPPY to make a difference in their lives.  

HIPPY Overview

For over 30 years, Home Instruction for Parents of Preschool Youngsters (HIPPY) USA has equipped parents with skills, tools, and confidence to prepare their children for success in school in their most important role as their child's first teacher. HIPPY serves families with children ages 2 to 5 and helps them overcome barriers and build a foundation for school success.  

Our Proven Model delivers 30 weeks of lessons to parents at home who in turn teach their children, ages 2yrs to 5yrs, for 20 minutes each day. The HIPPY activities include reading, math, science, motor, and language skill in which cognitive, creative, social, and emotional development is addressed. The program is combined with group meetings where other HIPPY families can engage, support, and share experiences. These gatherings are key to the child’s success and encourage the family to stay committed to HIPPY.  At the core of our model is the belief that if we teach parents with proven methods for adult learning, we will support them in becoming their child’s first, great teacher.

Our Story began in 1965 as a pilot program under the leadership of Dr. Avima Lombard at Hebrew University in Jerusalem.  Her idea of parents becoming their child's first and most important teacher was adopted in Israel as a national model for early academic success in 1975.  HIPPY was brought to the United States in 1984 by the National Council of Jewish Women, and the national office, HIPPY USA, was established in 1988. Over the years, 10,000s of children can proudly say that they are HIPPY Kids.  Currently, we are in 119 communities in 19 states and the District of Columbia. HIPPY also serves as a home-based learning model in 10 countries and an academic inspiration for several others that comprise HIPPY International.

Hello Staci,

Thanks for joining this LINCS discussion. I have some familiarity with HIPPY in a West African setting, but not in the U.S. In Liberia, where Friends of Liberia, HIPPY International and a local Liberian NGO have partnered to support the Liberian Family Literacy Initiative, as a member of the Friends of Liberia Education Working Group I have been very impressed with the HIPPY curriculum, training for home visitors,  and the  intensity of the weekly home visits that prepare parents and other caregivers to then go over the HIPPY lessons with their children. Although I believe it is more successful with parents who can read, I have seen that because of the home visits, in which parents go through the lessons with the home visitor and become very familiar with the curriculum content, that HIPPY is still successful. The children's pre- and post-tests with the Bracken early childhood assessment also confirm this. I am wondering what you find in HIPPY programs in the U.S. Can HIPPY be implemented successfully with parents or caregivers who cannot read at all, or with those who can read at only a very basic level? If so, is there evidence that their experience with HIPPY alone helps improve their reading, writing,  and/or numeracy?

David J. Rosen

Good morning David,

It's nice to e-meet you.  I've had the pleasure of working with my HIPPY counterpart in Liberia, and I think the world of her and the work happening in West Africa.  As I stated, we hear the same comments from parents around the world about the value of HIPPY.  Because our outcomes often center around school readiness and positive parent interaction and engagement, we've been  represented in the home-visiting field as an evidence-based model.  Because we look at school readiness outcomes for the children, we've always participated and supported the work needed in early education. But, not unlike other organizations with multi-generational approaches, we have only begun to scratch the surface in exploring the many positive outcomes that our program can affect.  The answer to your question is that there's a lot of anecdotal evidence that HIPPY works with parents with low to no literacy but not specific research.  It's definitely an area that we've considered exploring, especially as we continue to partners with others in different professional fields (i.e. adult education, community and economic development).  I'll close with this story shared with us by a home visitor last year.  During a recent home visit, the parent, who did not speak English, was so excited to share with the home visitor that he had learned to read one of the HIPPY books that he had used in working with his child. He read the book in English to the home visitor from cover to cover, and the joy and pride he had made the home visitor feel so good about the work they were doing and the change it was making for this family.  That home visitor shared the experience with their supervisor who in turn contacted the national office, which is how I became aware of the story. This is just one example of the stories we hear from across the HIPPY USA network that let us know the power parents have to learn as they teach their children with the HIPPY curriculum.   

Give our best to the Friends of Liberia!


Staci and David, those are the stories that keep us going.

Way back in the Laubach Literacy days, one of our elderly students finished her first reader in the program. She told her tutor that she had gone home and called her daughter in CA (from TX) and said, "Darlin', I want you to sit down. Momma's gonna read you a story!" She read the whole book to her daughter to whom she couldn't read when she was raising her." Tears of joy! :)

It's great to "hear" you voice here. Thanks for sharing. Leecy

Thank you for participating in this conversation.  I am Site Administrator for an ELL Family Literacy Program in Connecticut.  Can you recommend any resources for Interactive Literacy Activities between parents and children?  Books? Websites? YouTube videos?  Any suggestions would be welcome!  

Thank you in advance!

Kimberly Bobin

Family and Early Childhood Coordinator

Wethersfield, CT

Hi Kimberly and Community Participants!

This is a great question and the perfect opportunity to highlight one way that family literacy can be fun and interactive at the same time.  I'm excited to share how HIPPY USA believes in teaching parents skills but also about how we teach parents to explore additional ways to teach their children. We call them extension activities! After our parents and kids work through the games and activities in the HIPPY curriculum and read the free HIPPY books that accompany the curriculum, there's always a little time for more positive interactive learning.  HIPPY is pleased to share how we worked with one of PBS's content providers to create new initiatives that help kids ages three to five gain science and computational thinking skills, thanks to funding from the National Science Foundation.

In 2016, HIPPY USA joined with WGBH, Boston's preeminent public broadcaster and the largest producer of PBS content for TV and the Web, to devise new ways to engage families in science.  Through our home visiting network, HIPPY USA helped WGBH research and design a fun learning experience that gives parents the skills and tools needed to foster their child’s positive learning of science. The result was Bringing Science Home with PEEP, also known as PEEP and the Big Wide World.  The animated series Peep and the Big Wide World gives wings to the innovative idea of teaching science and math to preschoolers. Wry and other lovable characters combined with a comprehensive science program will attract and engage kids three to five years old. Peep and the Big Wide World is a funny, engaging series that celebrates being curious, being adventurous, and, for at least one character, being a duck.  

By visiting the HIPPY USA website, you’ll learn about our curriculum and our approach, and you'll find links to some of our partner sites like PEEP that support parents with supplemental interactive learning resources for parents.  Here’s a link specifically to resources for parents just to get you started. 

My personal favorites (and my son’s as well) are the PEEP games and videos that cover everything from animals and plants to shapes and patterns.   These are all concepts that are taught to parents in the HIPPY curriculum, and PEEP serves as a great extension of the learning process for parents and kids.  When our HIPPY parents feel confident in their teaching skills to explore and utilize additional learning tools and resources, we know they’re feeling more confident about their ability to be their child’s first great teacher!  I’ll post more resources that HIPPY families use as extension activities over the next few days to keep the conversation going!



HIPPY has a very interesting and long-standing history of serving parents and children!  In a previous position I worked with parents and children during home visits, so I am a firm believer in the value of instructor-parent-child interactions.  I see from your website that parents are also encouraged to attend weekly group meetings where they can participate in enrichment activities, to help them connect with each other.  I also read that you employ home visitors from the communities you serve, who are parents in the program.  HIPPY provides them with opportunities to learn a variety of skills, including time management, organization, administration, filing, and computer skills.  Are there some parents who also need academic skills?  If so, is HIPPY able to provide these services, or do these parents attend additional adult education programs?

I really enjoyed watching some of the video you provided links for!  I look forward to learning more about HIPPY and the resources provided.

Thank you, Jeri

Hi Jeri,

You’re correct!  We employ home visitors from the communities we serve, and many (approximately 50%) are former HIPPY parents.  For many home visitors, working with HIPPY is their first professional job, and the learning curve into the world of work can sometimes be challenging for any of us.  Therefore, home visitors receive hours of training weekly with a trained coordinator that not only coaches them with teaching techniques to teach parents from the curriculum but also prepares them with other professional skills needed to be successful in their current or future positions.  Home visitors and coordinators must understand and employ excellent time management skills to ensure that they can see all their families weekly, participate in training opportunities and staff meetings as well as document their work within our national data collection system.  For many home visitors and parents, some basic level skill development is required for them to be successful or to prepare them for the responsibilities for their job.  Because we know that everyone learns differently, our programs offer a variety of resources and opportunities that staff and parents can utilize to build their skills, often at their own pace.

Yes, many of our parents receive referrals to adult education programs, especially if they are seeking a GED or diploma.  HIPPY program affiliates understand that they cannot do it all, so partnerships are key and referrals to other community programs make a difference.  Some HIPPY Programs are part of a menu of services offered at an organization that makes it easy for parents to do something great for themselves while they participate in the HIPPY Program for their children.  Here are a couple of examples of organizations across the country that offer wrap-around services to HIPPY Families:  Bergen Family Center in New Jersey; Diversified Community Services in Philadelphia, PA; COA Youth and Family Centers in Milwaukee, WI; and ChildServ in Chicago, IL.  All sites can be accessed at

There are still other resources that the national office shares with programs that help parents and staff develop and enhance their skills.  Many of these resources are online and available for individuals to access and learn from at their own pace.  One of my favorites is GCFLearnFree, a worldwide leader in free, online education.  Parents can almost anything from computer and financial literacy education to workplace skills and English and other languages.  I’ll use a future post to talk about this incredible resource that’s always accessible via our website under parent resources.





My pleasure!  I'll post more resources shortly, but I wanted to also invite you to look at Share My Lesson.  Your organization can actually become a partner with Share My Lesson, and they will highlight your organization from time to time.  This was one of the first partnerships I formed after coming to HIPPY USA.  It’s another great resource, and SML affiliates with the AFT (American Federation of Teachers), and their resources and advocacy work has proven to be extremely informative for me in working with school districts, K-12 partners, and higher education networks across the country.

Thank you Staci for sharing HIPPY's history as well as the parent and child activities  and resources that HIPPY provides in the communities you serve.  Please continue to participate in our discussion!

Tomorrow we will be joined by Kirsten Wittkowski , Adult Education Coordinator and Instructor for Briya Public Charter School in the Washington, DC area.  Kirsten Wittkowski is an Adult Education Coordinator and Instructor at Briya Public Charter School. Kirsten has 8 years of experience teaching ESOL to adults in private, community college, and family literacy programs in the DC area. In her current role, she teaches ESOL and Child Development to immigrant parents and coordinates 2-generation curricular programming at one of Briya’s four sites. Kirsten holds a Master of Education.  Briya Public Charter School uses a two-generation model where parents and their young children are engaged in a culturally sensitive learning environment that moves the whole family toward academic, social, and economic success.

Please join us as we continue this family literacy discussion!


Good morning Kirsten and thank you for joining our third day of this Family Literacy discussion!  Please tell us about your program and how Bryia is able to design an individualized network of support for each family and how you partner with partner with other organizations around Washington, DC. 


Good morning to Jeri and everyone participating in this discussion about family literacy! I am honored to share about Briya’s two-generation model of education in Washington, D.C. and how our partnerships allow us to support families holistically. First, let me share a bit about our program. 

Briya is a Public Charter School that currently serves over 600 families at four campuses located across Washington, D.C. Three of our schools are co-located with Mary’s Center, a community health clinic that has served immigrant and low-income communities in D.C. for 30 years. Our fourth campus has been located inside of a public elementary school since 1990.  

Similar to HIPPY, Briya is founded on the belief that parents are children’s first and most influence teachers. Our model recognizes that as parents’ literacy and educational levels increase, so does their children’s academic success. In Briya’s two-generation program, immigrant parents take English classes that integrate digital literacy and a weekly Child Development class while their young children (ages 0-5) attend the school’s bilingual early childhood or preschool programs. Parents enter their children’s classrooms to participate in interactive “Family Time” (or PACT activities) on a weekly basis with the guidance and support of our multilingual Early Childhood teachers. While not all adult students bring children to Briya’s early childhood classes, they are all parents in some form and so a focus on literacy and the educational success of children permeates our English curriculum across all language levels.  Some ELL students eventually continue on to receive their high school diploma through the National External Diploma Program (NEDP) or enroll in one of the school’s two workforce development courses: Medical Assistant program and Child Development Associate program.

Briya takes the two-generation model a step further through its strategic partnership with Mary’s Center, in which it offers families onsite access to high-quality health care and social services. Mary’s Center provides medical, dental, mental health and social services for children and adults. For example, Briya students benefit from bilingual therapists they can meet with during class time, free teen programs for their older children, and referrals to parent-child interaction therapy. Co-location with three Mary’s Center clinics provides direct access to all clinic resources for students who often experience a scarcity of time balancing work, parenting, school, and running a household. 

Another longtime partnership that has been a cornerstone of Briya’s model is its partnership with Bancroft Elementary School. The two schools shared space in a building and many Briya families ultimately sent their children to public school at Bancroft, which offers a bilingual program in English and Spanish from preschool to fifth grade. While this Briya site has now relocated to a new public elementary school this year, this model provided an integrated school experience for many Briya families that we hope to continue and build on in the future. 

These two organizations are Briya’s primary partnerships, but the school collaborates with many other local agencies to provide programmatic and social support for families. In order to aid students in navigating these partnerships and D.C.’s complex public systems, Briya employs a student services coordinator at each site who meets with parents individually to identify and address their family’s specific needs. Additionally, a transitions coordinator assists adult students - the majority of whom are immigrants and the first in their family to attend college - with college admissions, applying for financial aid, and/or entering the workforce upon completion of their RMA or CDA credential. 

These holistic services are critical to Briya’s educational programming because adult students are unlikely to succeed in school if their basic needs are not met. With this individualized network of support in place, families are more likely to break out of poverty and achieve long-term healthy outcomes in all aspects of life.


Thank you for sharing Bryia's two generation model.  We are just beginning a dual generation program in Delaware in the city of Wilmington.  I will connect the staff with Briya's website.  I'm sure it will be helpful!  Your holistic approach of services is so needed.  Too often, our families come to us with many needs.  I especially that their are therapy services available.  This reminds me of the need for trauma informed services for many of our students, and the specific need for these services for immigrant families.  Can your parents work on their their high school diploma through NEDP at Bryia, or do they need to attend another program?  

Thank you again for sharing?


We really are lucky at Briya to have this close relationship with a partner agency that is able to meet needs that Briya could not address alone. I would emphasize also the importance of making these supports and services available during class time, making them much more accessible to families. I would agree with you that perhaps the majority of our families are in need of trauma-informed services, and this is a topic on which our school has increased its focus recently. Over the past year, adult education teachers have received some training in trauma-informed teaching practices and we try to share what we learn with parents to pass along to their own children and families, but I think we are also still scratching the surface. Our student services department has also worked hard to add free "self-care" activities into the school day for students, including regular parent support groups, student-led coffee hours, and exercise classes such as zumba and yoga. These happen right after or before classes, and childcare is provided. What practices have other Family Literacy programs implemented on this topic? I would love to hear any ideas from other practitioners in our community. 

In answer to your question, Briya parents are able to complete their NEDP studies in-house. Although NEDP is an individualized and self-paced program, Briya has created an NEDP "class" that takes place during normal class time hours (9:00 - 11:30 or 12:30 - 3:00). While students in this class still work independently, this class time provides their children an opportunity to learn in our early childhood program and the parents have the dedicated time to focus on their studies. They can also receive technological and logistical support, given that the program is fully online and Briya students come to us with a wide range of digital skills and experience. The other unique benefit is that parents are still able to participate in the family literacy aspects of the program, including Child Development class and Family Time with their children at Briya, which is not something they would experience if they were completing NEDP through another school. 

One of the more exciting aspects that I love to talk about with HIPPY is our amazing workforce story.  Anyone who knows about workforce development knows that it starts with a full appreciation for adult education and life-long learning.  With the right educational supports, parents can go from entry-level/career-building positions to leadership professionals all while being a part of the HIPPY Network. This is an important characteristic of HIPPY that may be attractive to adult education seekers and professionals.  HIPPY provides an entry point for a career pathway that can evolve into employment opportunities in various fields (eg. education, social services, nonprofit, training, etc.).  Although our home visitors are not required to have a bachelors degree, they do have the opportunity to earn credentials (i.e.Child Development Associate) and to pursue their educational goals.

Here’s a quick career pathway that almost anyone can pursue with HIPPY.  A HIPPY parent enrolls in the program and begins learning at home with a peer home visitor from within their community.  The peer home visitor is required to have a high school diploma, to share the language and culture of the family they serve, and to be a part of the community in which they are serving families.  The peer to peer relationship is important because it helps to build trust between the home visitor and the parent.  Most parents are enrolled in the HIPPY Program with their child for a minimum of two years.  Once the child graduates (yes, we have preschool graduations) and starts school, many parents want to become home visitors, and they certainly have the right foundation to become home visitors by having gone through the curriculum with their child/children.  Today,  50% of our home visitors are former HIPPY Parents.  As you may expect, home visitors will choose to advance their skills, pursue more education, and become program coordinators.  This trend continues and it’s been part of our story for over 30 years.  Nationally, close to 40% of all of our staff are former HIPPY parents, and our parent alumni includes home visitors, program coordinators, educators, curriculum developers, administrators, and CEOs of organizations across the country.  One of our favorite points to make is that HIPPY offers workforce training right in their own home.

I didn't realize that the HIPPY program required home visitors to be a part of the home community/language/culture of the families they are serving, and I think that is a really important factor for success. Briya also has a large number of educators and other staff who were once students, including those who came to Briya as young children! In fact, many of the students in the CDA program are able to complete their hours working in Briya's early childhood classrooms and some then continue on to become early childhood educators in the school. This is one important way that we work towards the school's mission to provide culturally responsive education to all families, even as they hail from diverse linguistic and cultural backgrounds. I'm curious to know how other programs have created career pathways and/or taken steps to reflect the communities of the families they serve. 

Staci and Kirsten,

Kudos to both programs - HIPPY and Briya, for having strong relationships with both parents and children.  The opportunity for the parents in your programs to complete career pathways, perhaps even continue their educations and careers, and ultimately  become employed by HIPPY and Briya is commendable!  Of course, other reasons for the success of your programs is the focus of parent-child relationships and learning, as well as the other services available to families within the programs.  I have learned so much!  What great models for others programs as they develop their own family literacy models!

Thank you, Ladies!

Hi Kimberly, 

Here are a couple of online resources that we have used or referenced during our program's Child Development classes or PACT times:

  1. Ready Rosie has a great library of videos (in English and Spanish) demonstrating ways to incorporate literacy and all kinds of learning into daily life with children. Unfortunately, it requires a subscription and I am not sure what the cost is. 
  2. Unite for Literacy has e-books that you can read online while listening to the audio. The audio is also available in many languages, including Spanish, Arabic, Chinese, Vietnamese, Tagalog, French, and many Native American languages.

Also, we find it helpful to use and provide wordless picture books for our lowest level ELL students/parents when possible. These books are more accessible for our many parents who are not highly literate in their own languages and can also be used with all parents regardless of the language they speak. 

This are just a few things that came to mind right away, but I'll be sure to share more resources as they come to me. 


As we close this activity, but not the discussion, I want to thank Dr. Jones, Ms. Croom-Raley, and Ms. Wittkowski for all their expertise in sharing their Family Literacy programs!   Thanks, also, for those of you who participated in the discussion and shared your thoughts and ideas.  Let’s keep this discussion going!

Remember that next week is Adult Education and Family Literacy Week.  Please share what activities you have planned to celebrate!



Betsy, Staci, and Kirsten, thanks for sharing so much of your work with us here. I hope that this discussion keeps going. In my view, we don't discuss family-literacy strategies enough in adult education. Yet, we are able to achieve so much, so much faster when we include the whole family either in our targeted activities or by including them in the context of what we read and write about, and what we measure and compute in our work.    Thanks to you, as well, Geri, for launching this great topic with such outstanding professionals in the field.    Might we share additional ideas on how to integrate family, in addition to integrating reading, writing, and math into our workplace training and education? Leecy

Thank you, Leecy, for continuing this discussion!  You are right - we focus a great deal on skills & competencies for academic and workforce preparation, and not nearly enough on how any form of instruction for the whole family.  

Colleagues, if you did not have the opportunity to participate in this discussion as it took place, please return to the original posts. You can still view the discussion and post comments and information.  We would love to hear what you are doing in your family literacy programs and the positive effects of working with whole  families on the lives of our adult education students and their children.

Please share your thoughts and ideas!