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Mar 19, 2012 |
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SAN DIEGO – (March 19, 2012) The 21st National Conference on Family Literacy will feature best-selling authors and national education leaders as it convenes March 25-27 in San Diego at the Sheraton San Diego Hotel & Marina.

National education experts also will lead in-depth sessions on parent engagement, financial literacy and other critical education issues.

The conference attracts family literacy educators and advocates for the largest and most comprehensive gathering of educators, government officials and practitioners dedicated to multigenerational learning – a critical issue impacting work force readiness and economic stability for families and communities.

“Of the 93 million adults in the U.S. functioning at or below basic levels of literacy, 30 million are the parents or primary caregivers of children ages 8 and under,” said Sharon Darling, president & founder of NCFL. “A multi-generational problem needs a multi-generational solution. Family literacy provides practical, effective solutions to so many of the challenges facing our education system today, such as creating meaningful parent engagement.”

Highlights for the more than 1,500 conference participants will include:

  • Wes Moore will share his insights, as told in his book The Other Wes Moore, on the role of personal responsibility, accountability and family in his journey to success and the turn his life may have taken without them. Moore has been featured by “The Oprah Winfrey Show,” People magazine, USA Today, Essence, “The View,” “Meet the Press,” “Charlie Rose,” “Tavis Smiley” and NPR. He is a national correspondent and political/economic analyst for NBC News and regularly appears on “Morning Joe.”
  • John Grogan is the author of Marley and Me, a best-seller about his life with a loopy Labrador retriever, and The Longest Trip Home, a memoir of his journey to break the ties of home and then to find his way back again.
  • Alice Ozma, author of The Reading Promise: My Father and the Books We Shared, and her father, Jim Brozina, will share the story of commitment to family and to literacy through an inspiring promise they made to each other.
  • Karen Mapp, a lecturer with the Harvard Graduate School of Education, and a leading expert in parent-school-community partnerships, will examine the role of family-school partnerships and their impact on children's learning and development.
  • Nelson Lauver, a nationally syndicated broadcaster and educational rights advocate, will bring the story of his struggles with dyslexia, which are recounted in his book, Most Unlikely to Succeed, and the world that opened up to him as he overcame his reading problem.
  • Dorothy Bush Koch is the co-chairperson of the Barbara Bush Foundation for Family Literacy and the founder of the Barbara Bush Foundation for Family Literacy Maryland Initiative, which raises money to support family literacy programs all over the state of Maryland.

In addition, two national awards will be presented at conference. The Toyota Teacher of the Year award winner will receive $20,000 for his or her program, and the runner up will receive a $2,500 grant.

The Better World Books/National Center for Family Literacy Libraries and Families Award will present three winning libraries with $10,000 in grants each for a total of $30,000.

All the winners of both awards will be in attendance.

To register and for more information, visit


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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