Long before #2Gen became a recognized hashtag on social media, programs across the United States were quietly educating parents and children together. Some political and educational leaders, including the National Center for Families Learning's President and Founder Sharon Darling, recognized that parents’ educational attainment and children’s educational outcomes were related. If the goal was to improve children’s outcomes, then parents also needed opportunities to build their skills. To draw attention to this work, NCFL worked with Congress to designate November 1 as National Family Literacy Day-- in 1994!
For the past 23 years, libraries, schools, and educational programs across the United States have celebrated National Family Literacy Day. Generally, it is an opportunity for practitioners to emphasize the important role that families play in the education of their children. At NCFL, our work revolves around two-generation education solutions for families. So rather than celebrate family literacy for a single day, we recognize the entire month of November as National Family Literacy Month®! We invite you to join our celebration by planning activities and events throughout November that focus on families learning together. Share your events and photos on social media with the hashtag #NationalFamilyLiteracyMonth. Here are a few ideas:
- Plan a reading workshop for families in your program or classroom. Choose a book to read aloud to adults and children together. (Hint: humorous books often work well with larger groups.) Plan stopping points and ask open-ended questions that families can discuss. Encourage families to see that reading books together can be interactive. Be sure to leave time for families to select books to read together! Print copies of our Cultivating Readers bookmark to support families in talking while they read.
- Recognize families in your classroom or program. Give shout outs to families for their work towards their goals on your social media accounts using #NationalFamilyLiteracyMonth.
- Engage families in 30 days of family learning! NCFL’s guide, 30 Days of Families Learning Together, provides a month’s worth of family literacy activities and practices designed to inspire family memories rooted in imagining, playing, and learning together. These hands-on and wonder-filled activities are available in English and Spanish on a printable calendar.
- Writing is another important aspect of literacy. Work with adults or older children to write letters to the editor of your community’s paper. Share information about your program’s successes and stress the importance of funding for two-generation learning opportunities.
Family Literacy is worth celebrating. Educators, parents, and children work hard to ensure that families reach their goals, and become more engaged in their communities. Celebrate with your families this month, and publicize the work that you are doing. Remember to share your National Family Literacy Month activities on social media and tag us with #NationalFamilyLiteracyMonth.