Family literacy is a term that has historically been used to characterize intergenerational learning between children and their caregivers. That learning has occurred in a multitude of ways, such as parents reading to their children and adult education taught within the context of parenting.
Even Start Family Literacy, supported nationally through the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001, is a unique approach that emphasizes services to the most impoverished and most in need of literacy services. Involving parents and their children through age seven, it helps break the cycle of poverty and illiteracy by improving the educational opportunities of participating families. The intense family literacy services offered by Even Start Family Literacy help parents become full partners in the education of their children and assist children in reaching their full potential as learners.
Key to this process is providing services to families that are of sufficient intensity and duration to make sustainable changes in a family. The services integrate the following components:
- interactive literacy activities between parents and their children
- training for parents regarding how to be the primary teacher for their children and full partners in the education of their children
- parent literacy training that leads to economic self-sufficiency
- an age-appropriate education to prepare children for success in school and life experiences.