You can see the pride in Lourdes Valdivia’s eyes when she talks about her three sons, ages 3, 9, and 11. Each weekday morning, she and her sons walk through the doors of Harms Elementary in Southwest Detroit. Her oldest two children head for their classrooms, but it’s not the last they’ll see of their mom throughout their school day. That’s because Valdivia participates in a program that allows her to both learn English and how to better support her sons’ education. “My time in the classroom has helped my children be better students,” Valdivia said. “We’ve also developed a stronger bond. We go to the zoo, library, soccer games, and we read and do homework together.” Throughout the years, evaluations of National Center for Families Learning (NCFL) programs have proven that intergenerational family literacy is an effective way to close achievement gaps that exist between children from affluent families and children living in poverty. This is most recently demonstrated with our partner Southwest Solutions in Detroit. It may sound like a no-brainer that being an engaged parent leads to better academic outcomes for children. But this Detroit program—which is based on NCFL's family literacy model—is making a big impact. NCFL's latest research brief, The Collective Impact of Social Innovation on a Two-Generation Learning Program, explores what can happen when organizations join forces towards a common cause. This brief examines Southwest Solutions’ English Language Learners’ Program (ELLP), a family literacy program designed to enhance the learning of young elementary students. With support from the Corporation for National and Community Service’s Social Innovation Fund, United Way for Southeastern Michigan (UWSEM), Detroit Public Schools, and NCFL, Southwest Solutions’ ELLP positively affects academic achievement among Hispanic/Latino students. The results of the study of the 2014-15 school year are impressive. On average, students in ELLP had a 7.4% gain in reading level, achieved a 5.6% increase in reading proficiency, and attended 12 more days of school than comparison students. The study shows that participating parents helped their children have better school attendance rates, were more engaged in their children’s learning, and developed positive habits at home that supported their children’s academic attainment. Valdivia sees the results every day. Her older boys have raised their grades and are doing better socially. In fact, they both went to the state math competition. “They see me as a teacher and a model. They are motivated by me being at their school and taking classes.” The results of this study shine a light on the power of family literacy. When parent and child learn together, intergenerational cycles of low education and poverty can be broken. Click here to read NCFL’s full Collective Impact brief.
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 $35 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
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