During our initial planning, francophone literacy associations expressed their eagerness to develop a companion document for family literacy, which would reflect the distinct approaches developed within francophone communities. Consequently, the present volume refers primarily to anglophone programs. At the same time, a national Aboriginal literacy program study is currently under way (Globensky, 1998) to document and analyze Native literacy programs in order to provide provincial and national perspectives on Aboriginal literacy and make recommendations. In view of this current work and the limited information available on Aboriginal family literacy initiatives, the reader is directed to the Globensky study for detailed perspectives on family literacy in Native communities.
Twelve programs from eight provinces are included in the volume. All of the practitionerauthors have been centrally involved in program operations and in directly working with families. In addition to discussion about the early development of programs and aspects of working with families, all practitioners have sought to provide analysis and reflection on aspects of the community context for family literacy, the nature of obstacles faced, as well as suggestions and strategies for maintaining family literacy programs.
The range of family literacy approaches is notable. Programs range from a focus on parent-child interaction through oral language and story telling, play-based programs which encourage parent-child shared reading, to programs which cater to caregiver only groups in workshops featuring childrens literature, writing, and parenting. In addition, programs with broad-based community involvement for family literacy have been included to examine the process of collaboration in school settings and community agencies.
Three programs were selected from Alberta. Prospects Literacy Association was chosen as an example of a literacy organization that made a major commitment to family literacy, managing a variety of collaborative family literacy projects. Books for Babies is an example of an all-volunteer program involving families at the birth of their children. Learning and Parenting Skills is a workshop-based program which has developed practitioner training materials and participant materials adapted for learners with English as a Second Language.
The Families in Motion program from British Columbia is community based program which includes four components: adult education, early childhood education, parent group time, and parent-child interaction. It is an example of the benefits of early community involvement and collaborative planning.
From Manitoba, Book Bridges represents a family literacy workshop series offered in many communities, supported by facilitator training and a community support network. The Victor Mager School family literacy program is an example of one schools vision for meeting the needs of families and of commitment to providing a wide range of literacy services that meet the needs of all family members.
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