March 28th, 2013 No Comments »
Donna Elder, senior reading and training specialist at the National Center for Family Literacy, shares her experience at the 2013 COABE (Commission on Adult Basic Education) and LAPCAE (Louisiana Association for Public, Community, & Adult Education) National Conference:
NCFL staff, Donna Elder and Sylvia Cobos Lieshoff, at COABE Conference
It seems as though it just began, but the 2013 COABE and LAPCAE National Conference is winding down! What a great conference it has been!
The conference carried the title of Louisiana Literacy Lagniappe. Lagniappe is a south Louisiana term for a little something extra. Coming here, we had high hopes of delivering and receiving just that—time to learn and share and connect and reconnect with colleagues across the country! Sylvia (Dr. Sylvia Cobos Lieshoff) and I are not the only ones who represented the National Center for Family Literacy at the conference. Our president and founder, Sharon Darling, gave remarks at the closing session Thursday morning.
The sessions NCFL presented have been met with great enthusiasm and attendance. We provided four sessions thanks to the generous support and partnership of the Goodling Institute for Research in Family Literacy at Penn State University.
Did you attend the 2013 COABE and LAPCAE conference? If so, what was your favorite part?
March 18th, 2013 No Comments »
MetLife recently released the MetLife Survey of the American Teacher: Challenges for School Leadership (2012). In its 29th year, the survey examines the views of teachers and principals on the responsibilities and challenges facing school leaders. The survey finds that responsibilities identified as most challenging result from conditions that originate outside of school, such as managing shrinking budgets and engaging parents and the community.
So many of the critical issues and concerns raised in this study can be solved through family literacy, especially with the help of NCFL’s tools and training — from addressing the needs of diverse learners, to increasing low-income student achievement, to boosting parental and community engagement, to implementing Common Core State Standards.
Here are some of the key findings:
- More than seven in 10 educators identify addressing the individual needs of diverse learners as well as engaging parents and the community in improving education for students as challenging or very challenging for school leaders.
- Professional development opportunities (63 percent) have either decreased or stayed the same during the past 12 months.
- Principals in schools with at least two-thirds low-income students are more likely than those with one-third or fewer to say that engaging parents and the community in improving the education of students (86 percent vs. 46 percent) is challenging or very challenging.
- In schools with at least two-thirds low-income students, 37 percent of principals and 27 percent of teachers believe most of their students are performing at or above grade level. By comparison, in schools with one-third or fewer low-income students, 91 percent of principals and 83 percent of teachers believe most of their students are achieving at this level.
- A majority of teachers (62 percent) and a smaller proportion of principals (46 percent) say teachers in their schools are already using the Common Core a great deal in their teaching this year.
- A majority of those surveyed (55 percent) believe help in identifying strategies to teach content more deeply would be very beneficial for teachers. Even more (61 percent) would like support in identifying real-world problems that students can solve.”
NCFL tools for success include:
Teachers – do you share the same opinions yielded from the survey findings?
February 11th, 2013 No Comments »
Have you heard of the Toyota Teacher of the Year award? Each year this award gives an outstanding educator $20,000 to support an innovative family engagement project and significant national recognition for his/her exemplary work with families. The winner also receives a scholarship to attend the 2013 National Conference on Family Literacy. One national runner-up will receive a $2,500 grant for his/her program and a scholarship to the conference. Apply now>>
Last year’s Teacher of the Year Shari Brown, instructor at Caldwell Community College and Technical Institute in North Carolina, shares her reasons why you should apply for this award:
- The award showcases teachers as role models and gives students a sense of pride in their teachers.
- The award provides you with a platform to speak about educational issues relating to family literacy.
- You gain positive exposure for your family literacy program in the community and the award gives the community a sense of pride.
- The award allows you the opportunity to collaborate and share experiences with other teachers, leaders, and advocates in the field of family literacy.
- The award funds innovative ideas that would go “undone” because of lack of funding.
Now you know why to apply; time to act fast! Less than two days remain to apply for 2013 — applications close February 13! Apply now>>
Need some inspiration for your family engagement project? Click here to learn how Shari used the award to fund a community garden.
February 8th, 2013 No Comments »
Excitement is in the air, as 20 organizations spanning 11 states receive $500 mini-grants this month to spur family engagement in their communities. Winning organizations will execute innovative educator-led programs and events that emphasize and promote intergenerational participation and learning. The recipients of the mini-grants, funded by Toyota, include programs in family literacy, early childhood, and transitional education organizations; elementary, middle, and high schools; libraries; and nonprofits/community organizations.
The 20 mini-grant winners are serving a diverse set of more than 2300 families in need of literacy and education services from urban and rural areas in 11 states (Arkansas, California, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Kentucky, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, and Rhode Island).
The winning organizations are:
- Americana Community Center (Louisville, KY)
- Arab American Action Network (Chicago, IL)
- Caldwell County Family Literacy Program (Lenoir, NC)
- Chinese Mutual Aid Association (Chicago, IL)
- Community Education Outreach (Lakewood, CO)
- Esperanza Elementary/ Korematsu Discovery Academy (Oakland, CA)
- FINdings Art Center (San Pedro, CA)
- Louisville Central Community Center, Inc. (Louisville, KY)
- Long Beach Family Literacy (Long Beach, CA)
- Mastics-Moriches-Shirley Community Library (Shirley, NY)
- Monroe Local Schools (Monroe, OH)
- Newnan High School (Newnan, GA)
- Oakland Family Literacy Program (Oakland, CA)
- Ounce of Prevention Fund (Chicago, IL)
- Paisley IB Magnet School (Winston-Salem, NC)
- Providence Public Library (Providence, RI)
- Southwest Elementary School (Durham, NC)
- Spring Institute for Intercultural Learning (Denver, CO)
- United Methodist Cooperative Ministries/ Suncoast, Inc (Largo, FL)
- Walter Turnbow Elementary (Springdale, AR)
Check back later this spring to learn how these organizations are leading family engagement efforts.
February 7th, 2013 No Comments »
Opening Session, April 28
James Patterson, author of the No. 1 best selling Alex Cross detective series and the No. 1 best selling Middle School series, will donate his time to NCFL by opening the conference on Sunday, April 28, at the Galt House in Louisville.
For the past decade, Patterson has been devoting more and more of his time to championing books and reading. From the James Patterson Pageturner Awards, to his website ReadKiddoRead.com, to his College Book Bucks scholarships, and his regular donations of hundreds of thousands of books to schools here in the states and troops overseas, Patterson has passed on his passion of books and reading and supported those who do the same.
Banquet, April 29
Can simple post-it notes really teach physics? What do education and viral videos have in common? What can we learn from everyday objects?
EepyBird, the two visionaries of the Mentos and Diet Coke viral videos, recently wrote The Viral Video Manifesto and have appeared on Late Show with David Letterman, The Ellen DeGeneres Show, the TODAY show, and Mythbusters. EepyBird will lead banquet attendees in examining a new dimension in learning, questioning, and wonder. With EepyBird at the helm, attendees are sure to leave with new ideas and ways of thinking about education and learning.
Closing Brunch, April 30
C.C. Chapman, national social media expert and best selling author of Amazing Things Will Happen and Content Rules, will speak at the closing brunch, leaving attendees charged and ready to make a difference in the field of learning. A champion of our work and an advisor to Wonderopolis®, Chapman has spent years helping people and brands convert passive consumers into passionate, invested advocates. His book, Amazing Things Will Happen, guides readers towards greater happiness and fulfillment in life. Using tenets of his book, Chapman will inspire and motivate attendees. Following his participation at the conference, NCFL has arranged for him to speak with the Louisville Digital Association on April 30.
Don’t miss hearing these speakers and others at the 2013 National Conference on Family Literacy. Register soon: special Early Bird pricing ends March 15.
Prominent Researchers Discuss Family Engagement, Children’s Roles in Education, Cultural Impact on Literacy Development
NCFL, in partnership with the Goodling Institute for Research in Family Literacy at Penn State University, announces the following speakers for the research strand sessions at the 2013 National Conference on Family Literacy:
- Joyce L. Epstein, Ph.D., Director of the Center on School, Family, and Community Partnerships and the National Network of Partnership Schools (NNPS) at Johns Hopkins University
- Oscar Barbarin, Ph.D., Lila and Douglas Hertz Endowed Chair, Department of Psychology at Tulane University
- Vikki Katz, Ph.D., School of Communication and Information at Rutgers University
- Rosario Ordoñez-Jasis, Ph.D., College of Education, California State University at Fullerton
Details of their featured sessions will be announced in the coming weeks. Learn from these experts at the 2013 National Conference on Family Literacy. Register soon: special Early Bird pricing ends March 15.
February 6th, 2013 No Comments »
Feb. 6 is Digital Learning Day (DLD), and the National Center for Family Literacy is a core partner with the Alliance for Excellent Education in celebrating successful instructional technology practice in classrooms across the country. Yearlong activities across the United States will culminate in a celebration on Feb. 6 in Washington, D.C. You can join the movement by participating in a number of ways, including joining the Twitter chat tonight at 8 p.m. EST, when educators and educational organizations will share digital resources for the classroom and best practices on using technology for learning. The one-hour chat will use the hashtag #edtechchat.
Also check out the NCFL-created learning resource, Wonderopolis®, that is included as part of the Science and Project Based Learning toolkits here: http://digitallearningday.org/learn-and-explore/digital-learning-tools/.
February 1st, 2013 1 Comment »
Robert E. Slavin, director of the Center for Research and Reform in Education at Johns Hopkins University, wrote a column for The Huffington Post on the importance of using appropriate, proven intervention strategies to help students read at grade level by the third grade.
We couldn’t agree more with the statement: “If schools use the reading-by-third-grade movement as an opportunity to use proven practices throughout the primary grades, they can reap substantial savings by avoiding unnecessary retentions, and most importantly, they can make a life-changing difference for all of their students.”
Families are an important part of that equation because so many of these students have parents who also need help with reading skills and navigating schools.
Read the article: www.huffingtonpost.com/robert-e-slavin/reading-by-third-grade_b_2567959.html
January 24th, 2013 No Comments »
Do you know an educator making an impact on the lives of learners through family engagement? Maybe he’s the teacher working with English language learners at your community center. Or she’s the children’s librarian at your library branch. There are many unsung heroes in literacy and education programs in towns across the United States, and we need your help identifying and rewarding them!
Nominations are currently being accepted for the 2013 Toyota Teacher of the Year award. This award gives an outstanding educator $20,000 to support an innovative family engagement project and significant national recognition for his or her exemplary work with families. In addition, this educator will win a scholarship to the 2013 National Conference on Family Literacy. One national runner-up will receive a $2,500 grant for his/her program and a scholarship to the conference.
Eligible Teacher of the Year applicants are not only teachers working in traditional classrooms and family literacy programs; educators directly working with children and families in preschool programs, libraries, or other community-based organizations are eligible for this award.
Click here to learn more about the award and apply. Nominations are due by Wednesday, Feb. 13.
January 7th, 2013 No Comments »
The Goodling Institute for Research in Family Literacy at Penn State University and NCFL are pleased to announce the offering of the Family Literacy Certificate course, ADTED 456: Introduction to Family Literacy, during spring semester 2013. This online course, offered through Penn State’s World Campus, will begin on January 9, 2013 and end on April 10, 2013. This course is a part of the Postbaccalaureate Certificate in Family Literacy.
For information about the course and applying for admission, please visit
ADTED 456 – Introduction to Family Literacy
This three-credit post-baccalaureate online course examines the rationale for and characteristics of comprehensive family literacy, focusing on the families served, services provided, outcomes achieved, and the roles and responsibilities of the individuals, organizations, and communities involved.
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December 10th, 2012 No Comments »
Pioneering Literacy in the Digital Wild West: Empowering Parents and Educators, a new report from The Campaign for Grade-Level Reading, is a must read for educators and community leaders.
It examines the role technology can play in improving children’s reading proficiency, how technology can support parents and educators, what matters most for early literacy innovation with technology and recommendations for supporting technology pioneers in digital information. We all agree that technology is a critical tool for leveraging learning. The question is how?
This report provides context, identifies challenges and opportunities, and gives recommendations for how families, schools and communities can amplify learning through technology.
Wonderopolis®, created by NCFL and funded by Verizon Foundation, is cited as one of six pioneering projects that support families and communities (page 12). Its emphasis on social media and multimedia learning was cited as a way to inspire conversation, vocabulary building and further exploration.
One of the report’s key recommendations is to create a place in every community where children, parents and educators can experiment together with online and offline literacy materials. Wonderopolis is truly accomplishing that goal.
Just last week, NCFL visited a classroom in Dublin, Ohio, and spent time with educators and young students who used Wonderopolis to energize and inspire learning in the classroom and at home. This is just one example from a mother in her own words:
Good morning, Mr. Prosser! Just wanted you to know that (my son) came bouncing home about the seahorse wonder you showed in library yesterday. He told me all about it. So, he woke me up at the crack of dawn so we could watch the wonder and look up some other ones. We have spent the early hours watching and reading together. I can’t think of a better way to spend our time together. He thinks Wonderopolis (and Mr. Prosser) are just way cool.
If you aren’t visiting Wonderopolis.org on a regular basis, check out today’s Wonder of the Day and find out what you’ve been missing.
And, for the full report, which gives instructive ideas on how to leverage the power of technology can boost a child’s reading skills, click here.
The Campaign for Grade Level Reading is a nationwide effort founded by the Annie E. Casey Foundation and supported by efforts from nonprofits and communities. The report’s authors include Lisa Guernsey of New America Foundation and Michael Levine of the Joan Ganz Cooney Center.