The Fun and Learning Centre of Fogo Island, Newfoundland is a program that demonstrates the power of community and volunteer efforts to raise awareness of the importance of family literacy and to develop a family literacy program, run for and by families themselves.
In Nova Scotia, the Learning Together program of the Hants Shore Health Centre is an example of provincial support and community collaboration. The Hants Shore Health Centre is outstanding in its commitment to literacy development, as part of its mission to promote the health and well being of community members. At the same time the Nova Scotia Department of Education and Culture has provided program development and training resources to enable communities to offer family literacy workshop series with resources and booklets for family participants.
Ontario has two of the oldest running family literacy programs in the country. The Parenting and Family Literacy Centres of the Toronto District School Board is a model of multi-cultural, school based, parent-child drop-in centres that provide family literacy training in a parenting context. The Parent-Child Mother Goose program is an oral language program for families of young children, that has been replicated in many communities across Canada. A report of a Mother Goose adaptation, Rhymes That Bind, is included as a companion article to Celia Lottridges analysis of the Parent-Child Mother Goose program.
As family literacy has received substantial support in Quebec, the Learning With My Child program is a model of a school boards support for family literacy and the development of an extensive volunteer program to assist families in the school-based literacy development of their children.
From Saskatchewan, the Come Read With Me program is an impressive provincial-wide network of family literacy workshop offerings from a pool of over 200 potential family literacy facilitators, utilizing a train-the-trainer model. In preparing this manuscript, discussions with practitioners often revolved around the complex issues that are involved in attempting to assist families in literacy development. As Nickse and Quezada (1994, p. 211) noted:
Literacy improvement is only one goal in the lives of families in need of assistance in a myriad of other areas. Literacy practice does not thrive in a vacuum, or in families beset with social, emotional, economic problems. Increasingly, developers of literacy programs are becoming aware that literacy improvement cannot be separated from the constellation of other factors that impinge on families well being, such as poverty and its effects, quality of parenting, and communication with schools Programs are being developed with the realization that literacy is a slender thread that binds many issues together. Family literacy programs place an emphasis on the enjoyment of literacy, as well as such functional aspects as its importance to childrens school achievement and adults success in finding work in a worsening job market.
A chapter has been included in the volume to address some of the broader issues which face family literacy practitioners, by focusing on some relevant historical background on the family literacy movement, definitions of family literacy, and research on families and literacy and family literacy intervention.
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