New York State Even Start Family Literacy


Online Guide for Administrators


Program Design and Delivery


In terms of impact on families, program design and delivery is the most visible management function of program coordinators. Rather than a single entity delivering a single service, Even Start Family Literacy programs build on existing community resources to provide access to a new range of integrated services, including:

  • age-appropriate education to children (birth through age seven) 
  • parent literacy training
  • training for parents on how to be the primary teacher for their children and full partners in the education of their children 
  • interactive literacy activities between parents and their children. 

In addition, programs must provide two to four home visits to all families each month. Integrated instruction in the home tailors learning to the family and the home environment. Family educators help parents and other caregivers foster learning in the home, building on the strengths of the parent/caregiver and child. Integrated instruction may involve the use of household materials (e.g., kitchen utensils for vocabulary and concept development), but books, writing tools, and daily experiences are equally important. Such instruction leads directly to achieving New York State's Even Start Family Literacy goal, i.e., helping all children meet or exceed the State's Learning Standards. 

When designing programs, the needs of families must be considered. Programs must schedule services so that they are convenient and flexible for families. To address other barriers to participation, Federal statute requires programs to offer support services, such as transportation and childcare.

How all of the above components are brought together to support literacy outcomes for children and their parents varies tremendously among programs. However, clear and frequent communication (including shared planning and joint staff development) between all service providers  helps build strong partnerships.

Q2-1: How do I plan for high-quality components?
Q2-2: Do Even Start Family Literacy programs directly provide all instructional services?
Q2-3: How are families prepared to participate in the program?
Q2-4: What strategies can programs use to retain families and encourage participation?
Q2-5: How do I assess where parents are in terms of supporting their children's literacy and language development?
Q2-6: How long is a program year?
Q2-7: Is there a minimum number of families my program must serve?
Q2-8: How do I ensure the safety of my staff when they make home visits?
Q2-9: What does "significant intensity and duration of services" mean?
Q2-10: Can we make changes to the delivery and design of services described in the original grant proposal?
Q2-11: How do I ensure that planning that takes place at staff meetings is implemented?
Q2-12: A family wants to enroll in our program. They are poor, largely homebound, and have several pre-school aged children. The parent wants to get her GED but has been unable to due to lack of support. When we TABE her, she scored above 9.0 in both math and reading. Is there any way we can enroll this family?
Q2-13: Where can I access information on developing appropriate curricula for children in  preschool through grade three? 
Q2-14: Where can I access information on aligning parenting education with with children's education? 


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Hudson River Center for Program Development, Inc.