The National Center for Families Learning (NCFL) understands families today can learn anytime, anywhere. Learning is no longer confined to the textbook or inside school walls. We also know that children and adults need to learn in ways that are engaging and relevant to real-life situations.
For 26 years, NCFL has helped improve literacy and lives by engaging all family members—parents, children, caregivers, and extended family members—in reciprocal learning in both place-based and digital environments.
Led by President and Founder Sharon Darling's vision for two-generation programming even before NCFL's founding in 1989, NCFL pioneered and has continually tested the four-component family literacy model. This effort has resulted in a network of more than 330 sites and 150,000 educators in 39 states helping more than one million vulnerable families learn—and thrive—together.
Spurred by NCFL's programming and success, the four-component two-generation family literacy model was established in a federal definition in 1998:
"The term 'family literacy services' means services that are of sufficient intensity in terms of hours, and of sufficient duration, to make sustainable changes in a family and that integrate all of the following activities:
- Interactive literacy activities between parents and 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.
We've led, learned from, and worked with the nation's best educators, advocates, practitioners, and families in schools, community-based organizations, and libraries to continuously develop and hone our approach to maximize two-generation learning.
This celebrated approach empowers families to work, play, read, and learn together and as individuals. Parents develop simultaneously as learners, educational role models, and teachers of their children, while children experience positive gains in language, literacy, emotional, and cognitive development.