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Apr 2, 2019 |
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According to a 2014 article by John Traugott, 76 percent of people who wrote down their goals and shared them with someone were successful. In comparison, only 43 percent of those who didn’t write out or share their goals succeeded.

Studies like this are one reason NCFL uses goal-setting in its programming. Learners and practitioners work as a team to accomplish tasks leading to obtainment of a goal. Goal-setting is also a way to self-monitor progress—which increases self-efficacy.

Whether we’re looking at the Financial Fitness program or Healthy Family Habits, they all begin with a desire to do something—improve an aspect of one’s life. And, when it comes to literacy, the Cultivating Readers program can do just that.

Creating goals is hard work. Targeting a specific outcome can be difficult and sometimes frustrating—are we asking enough of ourselves? Not enough? Many of us have heard of SMART Goals. Keeping our sights set on reaching Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, and Time-based goals is important. If we create goals that are too broad or not measurable, how will we know when we’ve attained them?

A sample SMART goal for including literacy-based content at home might look like:

'We will read with our child for ten minutes after dinner for five out of seven nights per week over the period of one month and will track by placing a + (plus) on the calendar for a night we read and a – (minus) on the calendar for nights we did not read.'

     Specific: We will read with our child for ten minutes after dinner

     Measurable: Track on calendar with a + (plus) for night read and a – (minus) for no reading

     Attainable: Five out of seven nights per week

     Realistic: Yes—not expecting 100 percent compliance

     Time-based: Over the next month

In the classroom, nothing is more effective than having student buy-in for goals. Even when the goals are lengthy or multi-step, using student goal-setting with SMART Goals increases student drive to complete the tasks necessary to obtain the goal. A student may have a long-term goal of completing two credits of English in a school year, but that is a huge goal and should be broken down into bite-sized chunks, so learners can see—and celebrate—their accomplishments. An intermediary objective to meet that goal would be: I will receive a grade of C or above on every English assignment for the next marking period. This ‘mini-goal’ meets SMART Goal criteria and leads toward bigger picture success.

The celebration of meeting a goal is almost as essential as the goal itself. Learners celebrate in different ways and play an important role in planning a reward for their successes. Some learners don’t need tangible tokens—they’re comfortable with intrinsic rewards. Others require a small item to feel their progress is happening. These extrinsic rewards should match their task—keep bite-sized accomplishments worth something of less value than reaching the over-arching goal.

How do you motivate learners? How do you use goal-setting in your environment? Let us know in the comments! 


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NCFL Partners

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Toyota Family Learning Program

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

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 reach the 35.7 million adults ages 18-64 who do not have a high school diploma by guiding them to better-paying, more stable jobs.

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®.

Go to Dollar General Literacy Foundation's website

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 to advance early literacy and learning resources for vulnerable families. Current efforts supported by PNC include a collaborative initiative in two at-risk Detroit communities that engages families to support vocabulary development for children under age 5.

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.

PNC Grow Up Great

W.K. Kellogg Foundation

NCFL has partnered with the W.K. Kellogg Foundation since January 2016. The Foundation is currently supporting a dynamic two-generation family engagement initiative that expands NCFL's Family Learning model into select Head Start programs nationwide. NCFL's model presents an innovative way to support Head Start programs in meeting outcomes aligned with the Parent, Family, and Community Engagement Framework.

Visit the Foundation website

Better World Books

Better World Books selected NCFL as its domestic literacy partner in 2005 and has raised more than $1 million to support NCFL’s work and donated more than $15 million to support literacy and education efforts worldwide. Better World Books is a triple-bottom-line online bookstore, working equally for people, planet and profit. Each book purchased powers literacy across the world.

Better World Books’ support of NCFL has provided books and workshops to families after Hurricane Katrina, donated large book donations to literacy programs and families nationwide and fueled innovative family literacy and learning programs and resources in libraries, schools and community-based organizations. In addition to their work for literacy and education, Better World Books diverts books from landfills and offers carbon-balanced shipping.

Better World Books

Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation

In 2013, NCFL began a partnership with the Gates Foundation to ensure that our network of students, teachers, and families thrive among recent shifts in standards-based education. NCFL will leverage the unique strengths of our award-winning Wonderopolis® platform to build upon the growing teacher network that uses the resource for core daily instruction and as a basis for professional growth.

Foundation Website

Goodling Institute

NCFL has partnered with the Goodling Institute for Research and Family Literacy at Penn State University since 2001, working collaboratively to further research, professional development, and policy efforts for family literacy and intergenerational learning.

The work of this partnership includes, but is not limited to, a strong research strand at NCFL's national annual convening, the Families Learning Summit; advocacy for family literacy and learning to further support for and inclusion of family-focused education in new and ongoing legislation; and dissemination of the latest research, resources, information, and professional development opportunities for literacy and learning practitioners and advocates, including the Certificate in Family Literacy provided by the Goodling Institute.

Goodling Institute for Research and Family Literacy at Penn State University