November is Family Literacy month

Hello Program Management Colleagues,

Do you have a family literacy program? If so, this month would be a great time to tell us about it. Are you part of a national family literacy professional development organization such as the National Center for Families Learning or the Goodling Institute for Research in Family Literacy at Penn State University? If so, tell us about your activities, and especially what you have planned for November. Are you part of a state adult basic skills professional development organization? Tell us about your activities that support family literacy.

In separate posts, I will tell you about a family literacy initiative in Liberia, West Africa that I am helping to support, and an early childhood education curriculum, with one version for early childhood education centers, and another for home-based family daycare, that I helped to create. Both versions of the curriculum are free and available online. Although it was not designed for this purpose, some community college Early Childhood Education course instructors have found this to be a useful accompaniment to their courses for center-based childcare providers who may have difficulty reading and writing in English; this is because the author paid attention to using plain language as well as to ECE standards that are apparently consistent with those in their courses.

David J. Rosen, Moderator

LINCS CoP, Program Management group


Hello Program Management Colleagues,

In honor of Family Literacy Month noted U.S. and international adult education researcher, Thomas Sticht, has posted the message below in the AAACE-NLA Google group that I moderate. I thought you might find it of interest.

David J. Rosen, Moderator

LINCS CoP Program Management group

From: tgsticht <>
Date: Tue, Nov 3, 2020 at 5:24 PM
Subject: National Family Literacy Month

Colleagues in Adult Literacy Advocacy: November 2020 is National Family Literacy Month, a month to learn about the role of adult literacy education in the development of family literacy. The Adult Education and Literacy system (AELS) of the United States helps adults learn to read and gain the confidence to use their reading skills for the development of their family’s literacy. 

An early expression of the common sense idea that reading ability is based on the earlier acquired ability to listen to and speak (oracy) the native oral language is found in 1908 in Edmund Burke Huey’s classic book, “The Psychology and Pedagogy of Reading.” In this book Huey wrote about the relationship of oral to written language and said, “The child comes to his first reader with his habits of spoken language fairly well formed, and these habits grow more deeply set with every year. His meanings inhere in this spoken language and belong but secondarily to the printed symbol.”

The use of oracy to promote interest in and the achievement of literacy has a long history. Huey made the point that “meaning inheres in this spoken language and belongs but secondarily to the printed symbols.” He also commented on the importance of parents reading to their children, saying “The secret of it all lies in the parent’s reading aloud to and with the child".

For learning more about the relationships among oracy and literacy skills and the contributions  of adult oracy and literacy education to family literacy during this special month,  you can download my report entitled “From Oracy to Literacy and Back Again: Investing in the Education of Adults To Improve the Educability of Children.’ Available online at:

For a paper on providing adult education for improving family literacy see Sticht (2011): ‘Getting It Right From the Start: The Case for Early Parenthood Education” from the American Federation of Teachers (AFT) ( In 1908, Huey wrote, "The school of the future will have as one of its important duties the instruction of parents in the means of assisting the child's natural learning in the home." 

Today, a substantial body of scientific evidence supports Huey's call for the instruction of parents in the means of improving children's learning at home, and therefore their learning at school. The results of studies of major early childhood education programs suggest that much of the long-term academic and social outcomes of early childhood education result not so much from the direct education of the children, but rather from education provided to highly disadvantaged parents. Changes in parenting help explain why relatively short-term education programs for children could sustain them through school, and into adulthood. Better parenting provides a long-term educational intervention for children. 

As Huey understood 112 years ago--and cognitive scientists have since demonstrated--literacy follows oracy, so parents who foster their young children's listening, speaking, vocabulary, and knowledge development are also fostering success in school.  As noted earlier,  investments in the education of adults increases the educability of their children, and that is yet another reason to celebrate National Family Literacy Month this November of 2020!!

Tom Sticht