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Nov 15, 2018 |
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The Hour of Code is a one-hour introduction to computer programming, designed to demystify code and show that anyone can learn. Hour of Code is a global movement in over 180 countries encouraging learners of all ages to engage in one hour of computer science activity. Each year, the Hour of Code takes place during Computer Science Education Week (#CSEdWeek), which falls on Dec. 3-9 in 2018. Participating in an Hour of Coding can introduce students to important real-world skills in the digital age while building upon their soft skills as well. NCFL enlisted 10-year-old book activist and Wonderopolis Lead Ambassador Olivia Van Ledtje (aka “LivBit”) to participate in the Hour of Code and share “bits” of advice for families and educators who are curious about coding. 

Have you ever thought about how powerful coding experiences are for kids?

This week, my New Jersey buddy, Louie DaCosta and I collaborated on an Hour of Code. One of the most fun things about being techie kids is having virtual playdates where we can find super fun ways to deepen our thinking about creating and coding.

Louie and I tried the Minecraft activity on the Hour of Code website, and we came up with three “bits” of advice for kids, teachers, and parents who are curious about coding with kids. So, what kind of mindset do you need to get your coding experience started?

Practice Perseverance:

Learning to code is all about Perseverance! As we played together, Louie and I talked our way through the different levels, and we both felt super happy when our hard work paid off and we advanced to a new challenge. Sometimes, however, we needed to encourage each other through the hard parts or even give hints to each other about how to code a certain level. Perseverance is KEY to being a good coder! 

Think Creatively:

Sometimes levels require very little coding, and if you overthink a certain challenge, you can end up frustrated. The best thing Louie and I did together was talk our way through some of the levels by asking each other lots and lots of questions. So, if you hit a coding wall, think creatively and work around it! Being a Creative thinker is KEY to being a strong coder!

Collaboration Power:

Louie and I worked quickly through many levels in the aquatic challenge because we worked together. Hour of Code encourages something called paired programming. This is actually what happens with grownups in real world tech situations; they help each other think through a problem and work to solve it together! This is exactly what Louie and I did when we got stuck on a level, and it is definitely something that made our work stronger! When you realize the power of Collaboration, you can develop even more coding tricks!

Coding is like solving a really big puzzle! Some people like to start from the outside and work their way in, and some people like to find groups of pieces that go together. In the end, both ways work to create the entire puzzle picture, and Hour of Code helps you practice your coding potential.

Thank you to our friends at Wonderopolis for encouraging Louie and me to take on this challenge together! We can’t wait to conquer more coding missions, especially the Minecraft ones! Hint, hint! We need MORE Hour of Code Minecraft missions!

Keep reading! Keep thinking! And keep watching LivBits for more ideas about your world!


Olivia (aka LivBit) is a 10-year old who is a passionate advocate for books and using social media to promote student voice and audience.  She loves to tweet out messages that help kids love authors, books, and big ideas about life. Olivia's work on LivBits has been featured all over the world, including conferences in Singapore and England.  She is so excited to be speaking at events, as a voice for kids and social media and looks forward to more opportunities working with authors and organizations who share her drive to promote digital citizenship for kids. She has presented at the Families Learning Conference, Twitter San Francisco, the Digital Citizenship Summit, and other conferences. Learn more about Olivia at



Interested in introducing your students or family to coding? Google’s CS First has developed a fun, interactive activity that can be completed in 15 minutes to an hour. Anyone can teach it and no computer science background is required. CS First is designed for ages 9-14. The activity is available in both English and Spanish, and uses Scratch 3.0, a new and improved version of the Scratch tool. Click here to review Google’s digital lesson plans and other materials for teachers. And click here to get started with the activity!



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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