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Jun 10, 2019 |
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In NCFL’s “Meta Analysis of the Studies of High Performing Family Literacy Programs” (2013), eight elements were credited for program success:

  • Quality Teachers
  • Parent and Child Together® Time
  • Relationships and Trust
  • Building-Level Leadership Teams
  • Adult English Language Classes
  • Relevant Content During Parent Time
  • Parent-Centered Programming
  • Celebrations of Program Success (Levesque, 2013)

What does success look like for learners? As practitioners, do we live to tick off boxes--indicating a student has met a state-defined objective? Or, do we use goal-setting and allow students to identify what success looks like for them--and create goals to that end?

In reality, most practitioners are somewhere in the middle. We have our own agenda for student growth and success, as well as tasks that will measure the concepts. But, what if a student doesn’t meet the goals we have set for them?

Educators can reframe how they look at success by taking a person-first approach to instruction.

  • Where is the student now?
  • What are their barriers to success?
  • How would they best demonstrate success?
  • How can we support their learning?
  • How can we celebrate their successes?

Every step toward mastery is a success waiting to be recognized and celebrated.

So, how do we celebrate success?

With adult learners, it is important to ensure learners know the expectations for success. Rubrics are a great way to make concepts clear and evident for all. We can also ask people to self-assess, based on the rubric.

With English language learners, we need to ensure we are celebrating the whole person--not just their language skills. Can they create beautiful art or music? Celebrate that! What about reading a book in their native language? Celebrate their courage to perform the activity. Building self-efficacy is important and isn’t based on using English alone!

During Parent and Child Together® Time, parents are offered the opportunity to watch how practitioners interact with their child and how success is recognized and reinforced. Something as simple as designing a sticker chart to celebrate effort can help immensely, and modeling interactions between practitioners and their children is a great first step.

For younger learners, it is likely we focus more on extrinsic rewards--stickers, a smiley face on a paper. For older learners, the rewards tend to be intrinsic--"Yeah! I wrote that paper like a boss!"

For all learners, success increases self-efficacy.

Self-efficacy--the belief whether one can complete a task--is part of goal-setting and celebrating success. When we look at family literacy programs, one of the key factors of a quality program is setting high aspirations. And, while the ultimate goal may be lofty, that doesn’t mean scaffolding doesn’t happen. Every rung of success on the ladder to the top of the goal is cause for celebration.

How do you celebrate successes in your learning environment?


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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