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Nov 1, 2020 |
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Over the past several decades, researchers across the country have recognized the strong correlation between parents’ and caregivers’ educational attainment and children’s educational outcomes. We know that families thrive when they learn together.

Back in 1994, the National Center for Families Learning (NCFL) worked with Congress to designate November 1 as National Family Literacy Day®. Each year for the past 25 years, we have joined libraries, schools, and educational programs across the country to celebrate National Family Literacy Month throughout each November.

The month offers an opportunity for practitioners to emphasize the important role that families play in the education of their children. Whether it’s hosting a virtual reading workshop for families in your program or classroom, or publicly recognizing families for their efforts during this difficult year, there are many ways to celebrate.

This November, we invite you to explore the following activities to foster learning within your own family and with your students. Don’t forget to share your activities online using #NationalFamilyLiteracyMonth.

  • During the 30 days of November, discover ways to learn and have fun as a family with 30 Days of Families Learning Together, a guide full of literacy activities and practices designed to inspire family memories rooted in imagining, playing, and learning together. This resource is available in Spanish as well as English.
  • There are still a few warm days in store, so relieve some stress by heading outside. There are lots of ways to have a scavenger hunt, or consider playing a simple game of nature bingo.
  • Plan a virtual 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. Learn more about family reading strategies in this webinar.
  • Recognize families in your classroom or program. Give shout outs to families for their work toward their goals on your social media accounts using #NationalFamilyLiteracyMonth.
  • How were rubber bands invented? What makes something alive? We may not be able to enjoy as much of the world as we used to, but we can still explore all of its wonders right at home with the help of Wonderopolis. Each day, this free online learning resource invites visitors to explore an intriguing question about the world around us, or search for answers to questions they have. As a family, read through one Wonder each week and practice the accompanying activities together.

We hope these activities lead to meaningful learning opportunities and happy memories for you and your family this month. Subscribe to our Hotspot blog and follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram to learn about useful resources and strategies throughout the month.


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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