April 2nd, 2012 2 Comments »
Some of the best online and mobile early learning resources are now available free of charge on a new website, the Fred Rogers Center Early Learning Environment™—“Ele” for short.
Families, child-care providers and teachers can access a library of more than 100 high quality ebooks, videos, mobile apps, music and other materials that promote early literacy, other learning and development for children from birth to age 5.
The site, www.yourele.org, includes:
- Activities – A library of more than 100 ebooks, digital games, videos, music, mobile apps and other activities that support learning and literacy development. Some activities help adults support children’s language and literacy skills; others are designed for use by adults with children.
- Let’s Talk – An online community where teachers, families and caregivers can ask questions, connect and share about issues affecting young children.
- My Ele – By signing up for a free Ele account, users can organize the site’s resources around their own needs and interests, and then share them by creating Play!Lists.
Visitors meet Ele, an avatar that serves as the site’s friendly guide. Activities are easily searchable by age, educational setting and media type. Each activity includes accompanying user tips.
NCFL Vice President Emily Kirkpatrick serves on the advisory board.
March 27th, 2012 No Comments »
Better World Books and the National Center for Family Literacy (NCFL) today announced that library programs in Columbus, Ohio; Providence, R.I., and Salinas, Calif., have won the annual Better World Books/NCFL Libraries and Families Award.
Each library program will receive a $10,000 award.
“These libraries provide a critical service for our communities and are passionate about the families they serve,” said John Ujda, vice president of marketing for Better World Books. “The grants will fund innovative programs that enable them to implement big ideas to promote family learning and help libraries spread the word about the important impact they have on families and communities.”
- Columbus, Ohio
Columbus Metropolitan Library’s Ready to Read Corps (R2R) will use the grant money to expand the reach of the program that teaches parents and caregivers the importance of kindergarten readiness and their role as their child’s first teacher.The grant will help fund the next step in the evolution of the Corps. It will enhance the services currently offered through expanding the R2R lessons and moving into a familiar setting — the family’s home. Lessons will be delivered to 200 families through a series of personalized in-home visits, and the parent/caregiver will receive a mini R2R toolkit of supporting materials and activities following each lesson.
- Providence, R.I.
The Providence Public Library’s Chace Children’s Discovery Library features hands-on activity centers focused on key elements of early childhood literacy development. The grant money will be used for critical outreach for the library to non-native English speakers by identifying, training and utilizing immigrant parents as guides for the hands-on activities. They also will recruit families to the library and support their ongoing use of the library. In addition, the trained guides will help develop an outreach plan to engage immigrant families, provide recruitment and outreach strategies for immigrant families, and serve as spokespeople for the library in their communities.
- Salinas, Calif.
The Salinas Public Library will create a new program that leverages the popularity of its mascot Snappy, the leopard tortoise. The new program will equip a family literacy mobile called the Snappymobile, which will provide services to 2,500 families a year. The Snappymobile will target socially and linguistically isolated families unfamiliar with the services of the library. Key activities for the van will include going to hospitals, pediatric clinics and housing projects; participating in special events; issuing “Snappy” library cards; conducting story time; and checking out materials including books and toys from the library’s Toy Lending Library.
“Libraries provide families with important access to reading and other learning activities,” said Emily Kirkpatrick, NCFL vice president. “This award continues to promote, reward and expand the innovative programming that is fundamental to success for our families and communities.”
Funding for the program comes from the Better World Books for Libraries program, a free service that helps libraries manage their unwanted books. Better World Books sells those books online, sharing the revenues with the libraries and its nonprofit literacy partners.
In addition to the $10,000 grant, award recipients received scholarships to attend the National Conference on Family Literacy, which concludes today in San Diego.
This is the third year of the award and the latest partnership effort between NCFL and Better World Books, which together have raised more than $838,000 for NCFL’s programming since 2005.
Hundreds of thousands of books have been donated and sold to support family literacy since the partnership began. Books come from college campus book drives, library discards and donations, and corporate book drives. These efforts have funded the purchase of more than 10,000 books to restock family libraries after Hurricane Katrina and the development of resources to reach wide audiences with literacy tools and materials.
You can get info on how to apply for next year’s Award here.
March 26th, 2012 No Comments »
Shari Brown, a Lenoir, N.C., educator, received the national 2012 Toyota Teacher of the Year award Sunday at the National Conference on Family Literacy in San Diego.
Brown is a family literacy coordinator and instructor employed by Caldwell Community College and Technical Institute. The Caldwell County Family Literacy Program that Brown serves will receive $20,000 as a result of the honor from Toyota and the National Center for Family Literacy (NCFL). The program serves about 50 families and another 30 are on the waiting list.
“As the proverb goes, instead of giving a family a fish, I am able to guide my families through the process of learning to fish by developing lessons around their interests and needs, allowing them ample opportunities for short- and long-term goal achievement in a secure environment, and enhancing self-esteem and building confidence so they will reach for their dreams,” Brown said. “It also is what we are fostering in parent engagement activities, so parents can be the guide for their children.”
The county faces many challenges, including high unemployment and a teen pregnancy rate twice the state average. Despite those obstacles, the program has a strong record of success:
- Children in the program score six to 18 months higher than the norm on testing and enter school ready to learn;
- The effect also is long-term – children graduate at higher rates than their peers who didn’t attend the program;
- ESL children enter kindergarten at the same or higher levels as their non-ESL peers and require no accommodations;
- Adult students have a 94 percent persistence rate; and
- Adult ESL students move from the lowest levels of ESL to graduate with a GED and enter college (15 last year). They also become advocates for their children in school.
“Shari, the other educators in her program and the families are proof that meaningful parental engagement can be achieved with all demographics,” said Sharon Darling, president & founder of NCFL. “Shari’s work is a model that other programs and schools can emulate.”
The grant amount doubled this year for the award, which is in its 16th year. Brown said the award money will be used to create a community garden. Parent engagement activities will address the obesity epidemic, improve nutrition, promote healthy cooking and prepare adults for careers in high-growth industries – including helping them obtain college credit for this project.
“Her bar is very high, her content extremely rigorous, her results exceptional – that is why Shari Brown is the 2012 Toyota Teacher of the Year,” said Patricia Pineda, group vice president, Toyota Motor North America, Inc. “The award is based on a history of success, but we are extremely excited about what the future of the program will bring.”
The Teacher of the Year runner-up, who received a $2,500 grant and a scholarship to attend the conference, is Karen Routt, program manager for the School on Wheels in Indianapolis.
Reaching the most difficult to serve transient and homeless populations in 10 shelters and two schools, School on Wheels serves 350 homeless families each year. With volunteer academic mentors, who meet with middle school and high school students weekly, School on Wheels has achieved solid student gains: 77 percent of students maintained or increased grades during times of deep family turmoil.
Routt will use the award money to help create an impact documentation plan of a parent engagement plan – the first of its kind for School on Wheels. It also would cover assessment and evaluation.
To find out more about the Toyota Teacher of the Year Award, click here.
March 19th, 2012 No Comments »
SAN DIEGO – (March 19, 2012) The 21st National Conference on Family Literacy will feature best-selling authors and national education leaders as it convenes March 25-27 in San Diego at the Sheraton San Diego Hotel & Marina.
National education experts also will lead in-depth sessions on parent engagement, financial literacy and other critical education issues.
The conference attracts family literacy educators and advocates for the largest and most comprehensive gathering of educators, government officials and practitioners dedicated to multigenerational learning – a critical issue impacting work force readiness and economic stability for families and communities.
“Of the 93 million adults in the U.S. functioning at or below basic levels of literacy, 30 million are the parents or primary caregivers of children ages 8 and under,” said Sharon Darling, president & founder of NCFL. “A multi-generational problem needs a multi-generational solution. Family literacy provides practical, effective solutions to so many of the challenges facing our education system today, such as creating meaningful parent engagement.”
Highlights for the more than 1,500 conference participants will include:
- Wes Moore will share his insights, as told in his book The Other Wes Moore, on the role of personal responsibility, accountability and family in his journey to success and the turn his life may have taken without them. Moore has been featured by “The Oprah Winfrey Show,” People magazine, USA Today, Essence, “The View,” “Meet the Press,” “Charlie Rose,” “Tavis Smiley” and NPR. He is a national correspondent and political/economic analyst for NBC News and regularly appears on “Morning Joe.”
- John Grogan is the author of Marley and Me, a best-seller about his life with a loopy Labrador retriever, and The Longest Trip Home, a memoir of his journey to break the ties of home and then to find his way back again.
- Alice Ozma, author of The Reading Promise: My Father and the Books We Shared, and her father, Jim Brozina, will share the story of commitment to family and to literacy through an inspiring promise they made to each other.
- Karen Mapp, a lecturer with the Harvard Graduate School of Education, and a leading expert in parent-school-community partnerships, will examine the role of family-school partnerships and their impact on children’s learning and development.
- Nelson Lauver, a nationally syndicated broadcaster and educational rights advocate, will bring the story of his struggles with dyslexia, which are recounted in his book, Most Unlikely to Succeed, and the world that opened up to him as he overcame his reading problem.
- Dorothy Bush Koch is the co-chairperson of the Barbara Bush Foundation for Family Literacy and the founder of the Barbara Bush Foundation for Family Literacy Maryland Initiative, which raises money to support family literacy programs all over the state of Maryland.
In addition, two national awards will be presented at conference. The Toyota Teacher of the Year award winner will receive $20,000 for his or her program, and the runner up will receive a $2,500 grant.
The Better World Books/National Center for Family Literacy Libraries and Families Award will present three winning libraries with $10,000 in grants each for a total of $30,000.
All the winners of both awards will be in attendance.
To register and for more information, visit www.famlit.org/conference.
March 7th, 2012 1 Comment »
Released today, the MetLife Survey of the American Teacher: Teachers, Parents and the Economy is an important tool for gauging attitudes and effectiveness in the classroom.
MetLife has sponsored this survey since 1984 to give voice to those closest to the classroom. The survey examines the views of teachers, parents, and students about the teaching profession, parent and community engagement, and effects of the current economy on families and schools. Progress in areas such as parent engagement is encouraging, but more work must be done.
Family literacy is uniquely positioned to maximize parent engagement because it has been a core component of our work for more than 20 years. The recession and education budget cuts on every level has hampered some progress in the classroom, which makes innovation and technology in education that much more important.
The report can be found online at http://www.metlife.com/teachersurvey.
February 13th, 2012 No Comments »
February 17, 2012, is the last day to take advantage of the conference discounted registration fee. After February 17, registration fees will go from $445 to $510.
Act quickly! Visit http://www.famlit.org/conference/register/ to register.
January 4th, 2012 No Comments »
Double the award funding and a more inclusive focus are two of the new features for the 2012 Toyota Teacher of the Year award that NCFL is announcing today. The winning teacher’s program will receive $20,000, and educators who demonstrate exemplary educational practices in family learning and parent engagement are eligible for the award.
The nomination form, which should be completed online, is due no later than Feb. 1.
In addition to winning $20,000 for his or her program, the winner will receive a free trip to the 2012 National Conference on Family Literacy to be held March 25 through March 27 in San Diego. One runner-up will receive a $2,500 grant for his/her program and a scholarship to the conference.
The award will honor high-performing teachers who serve parents and children with a strong intergenerational approach to help them learn together and/or use innovative ways to engage parents in their children’s education.
The nomination form must be completed by the nominee’s principal, director or program coordinator/supervisor, and the nominee must answer the final question.
For more information and guidelines, visit here http://www.famlit.org/toyota-teacher-of-the-year-award-selection-criteria/.
December 22nd, 2011 No Comments »
One of NCFL’s innovative library partners, the Dallas Public Library, recently released a great new video to help extend the reach of its Every Child Ready to Read @ Dallas program. Lily’s Book of Adventures — Adventures in reading for parents and children was produced this summer to capture the program’s successful early literacy workshops for families who otherwise can’t participate.
And a note to all of the great libraries out there with a passion and big ideas for working with families: The Dallas Public Library video project was made possible by a recent Libraries and Families Award available from NCFL and Better World Books. So don’t forget to submit your library’s application for the 2012 Libraries and Families Award by February 6, 2012!
December 14th, 2011 No Comments »
Verizon Thinkfinity is wrapping up its Thinkfinity Education Speaker Series with an expert voice who’s very close to NCFL’s heart. Jason Falls, NCFL board member and social media visionary, is the fifth influential speaker featured in this excellent series.
In the interview, Falls speaks with Katrina Allen, program director of 21st century learning at St. Philip’s Academy in Newark, N.J. He stresses the need for educators to embrace social media in the classroom to expand learning opportunities.
Since September, the Thinkfinity Education Speaker Series has also featured retired Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor, renowned neurosurgeon Dr. Benjamin Carson, basketball legend Earvin “Magic” Johnson and learning technologies expert Dr. Chris Dede weighing in with their thoughts on the future of education.
The interviews are available as videos on demand exclusively to members of the Thinkfinity Community. (Not a member? Register for free today — in addition to access to this great series, you’ll also be able to connect with more than 25,000 fellow educators!)
Falls also authored a post published on Verizon’s Responsibility Blog about how constantly changing technology means that successful education depends on teaching children how to teach themselves — and that begins with schools embracing the power of technology.
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December 1st, 2011 No Comments »
Health care is a hot topic these days, and many families are placing more emphasis on staying healthy.
With the holidays fast approaching — and New Year’s resolutions looming — what better time to start focusing on adopting healthy habits in your household? Becoming more healthy can be a great family goal in 2012.
For the past nine weeks, Wonderopolis has focused on health and wellness topics every Wednesday. This health literacy Wonder of the Day® series is sponsored by The Humana Foundation.
Health and wellness is a multifaceted discipline. Teaching our families (and ourselves!) to live a more healthy life means covering a variety of angles — from eating right and exercising regularly to managing stress and getting enough rest to taking care of yourself when you get sick.
These nine Wonders of the Day are a great way to start instilling healthy habits in your family!
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