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Apr 10, 2018 |
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The National Center for Families Learning (NCFL) is proud to announce that we have joined the Book Rich Environments (BRE) initiative! This partnership is a collaboration between the National Book Foundation, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), the Urban Libraries Council, and the U.S. Department of Education. Additionally, across the U.S., 36 housing authorities serve as local partners along with the public libraries in their communities. The goals of the BRE initiative are to increase book ownership; to increase public library engagement; and to promote reading among families living in HUD-assisted communities. Book Rich EnvironmentsTo achieve these goals, housing authorities and public libraries host festive events ranging from community barbeques to author forums and from story times to back-to-school kickoffs. At these events, high-quality children’s and young adult books are provided to families. For 2018, over 420,000 books have been donated to the BRE initiative by corporate publishers, such as Penguin and Scholastic. At NCFL, we recognize that the persistent achievement gap between low-income students and their more affluent peers is a barrier that perpetuates intergenerational poverty. The BRE initiative is one way we can help address this issue. Data from the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) demonstrates that when students own more books, they perform better on reading assessments. Eliminating book deserts in HUD-assisted communities may assist in closing the achievement gap. However, books cannot solve the problem by themselves. A long-term goal of the BRE initiative is to establish partnerships between organizations that can provide ongoing educational programming to families living in HUD-assisted communities. NCFL is supporting this work by reaching out to partners from Toyota Family Learning, the National Literacy Directory, and Literacy Powerline. Twenty-nine literacy organizations in 25 communities will be supporting the BRE initiative as a result of outreach by NCFL. These organizations are varied and include well-established non-profits, such as the Fort Wayne Urban League, as well as grassroots organizations, such as Project One Focus in Houston. These local literacy partners will connect families participating in BRE to educational programming. For example, parents with young children might sign up for home visits and learn more about how to read-aloud with their infants and toddlers. School-age children might go to a local community center and receive tutoring in reading. High school students might be connected to volunteer opportunities where they can read with younger children. The goal is to help families get maximum benefits from the books that they are receiving. At NCFL, we are excited to join the BRE initiative. We recognize that access to books is key for ensuring that young people become proficient, lifelong readers. Additionally, the BRE initiative is aligned to our mission of working to eradicate poverty through education solutions for families. Follow NCFL on Facebook or Twitter to get updates about BRE book distribution events across the United States. Learn more about the Book Rich Environments initiative at


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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