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Nov 1, 2018 |

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.


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NCFL Partners

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Toyota, one of the nation's most successful corporations, began a partnership with NCFL in 1991. In addition to a commitment of more than $50 million, Toyota has also contributed a wealth of in-kind support — including advertising, planning and management expertise — to form one of the most progressive corporate/nonprofit partnerships in the nation.

Three major programs have been developed through the Toyota partnership based on the family literacy model of parents and children learning together. These models have influenced federal and state legislation, leveraged local dollars to support family literacy and led to successful programs being replicated across the country.

Read more about Toyota's commitment to communities

William R. Kenan, Jr. Charitable Trust

NCFL received its very first donation in 1989 from the William R. Kenan, Jr. Charitable Trust to promote and implement family literacy programming, first in Kentucky and North Carolina and later nationwide. The Kenan Family Literacy Model in part laid the groundwork for 30 years of subsequent family literacy and family learning programming developed by NCFL.

Kenan has continued to support NCFL’s place-based family literacy programs since our inception. Most recently, it has invested in our organization’s Sharon Darling Innovation Fund, which will launch emerging ideas and programmatic evolutions in the multigenerational learning space.

Learn more about the William R. Kenan, Jr. Charitable Trust

Dollar General Literacy Foundation

The Dollar General Literacy Foundation began partnering with NCFL in 2006. A signature effort of this partnership is the National Literacy Directory, a resource that launched in 2010 and strives to guide potential students and volunteers to literacy services, community education programs, and testing centers in their communities.

The National Literacy Directory contains over 10,000 educational agencies located across the United States and has a dedicated toll-free number to help support those wanting to pursue educational opportunities in their communities.

Dollar General also provides support for development of NCFL’s innovative family learning resources centered on financial literacy and Parent and Child Together (PACT) Time®.

Learn more about the Dollar General Literacy Foundation

PNC Grow Up Great

PNC Grow Up Great believes deeply in the power of high-quality early childhood education and provides innovative opportunities that assist families, educators and community organizations to enhance children's learning and development.

PNC Grow Up Great has partnered with NCFL since 1994, most recently in Louisville, Kentucky, to support Say & Play with Words, our pre-Kindergarten vocabulary-building initiative.

NCFL's work is also featured on the PNC Grow Up Great Lesson Center website. The Lesson Center includes over 100 free, high-quality preschool lesson plans and research-based instructional techniques and strategies. All lesson plans contain Home/School Connections printouts, in English and Spanish, to help families extend and reinforce the learning at home.

Learn more about PNC Grow Up Great

U.S. Department of Education

Initiated through the U.S. Department of Education in 2018, the Statewide Family Engagement Centers (SFEC) program provides 12 grantees and 13 states with five-year, $5 million grants to promote and implement systemic evidenced-based family engagement strategies. NCFL was selected to lead SFECs in two states, Arizona and Nebraska, and is a primary partner for two other SFECs in Kentucky and Maryland/Pennsylvania. 

The SFECs work to support family engagement through state- and local-level agencies while providing both professional development to school districts and direct services to families related to children’s academic outcomes and overall well-being.

Learn more about the U.S. Department of Education

Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation

NCFL was named a recipient of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation’s "Voices for Economic Opportunity Grand Challenge," which seeks to elevate diverse voices in order to broaden the conversation about the issues inhibiting economic mobility and generate deeper awareness along with actionable understanding. NCFL will develop and launch a podcast series that will highlight the remarkable stories of low-income, diverse families across the U.S. who have improved their communities through Family Service Learning.

Foundation Website