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Oct 1, 2019 |
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The 2019 Families Learning Conference is just five weeks away! With over 100 sessions to choose from, you’ll want to start planning your experience now. Content will be offered in the strands of Adult Education, Early Childhood Education, Funding and Sustainability, K-12 Education, Library, Research and Policy, and Parent Leadership.

All parents want their children to be ready for school, but it can be challenging to find educational resources to prepare them. This featured session explores the creation and execution of a community-wide collaboration for kindergarten readiness. 

Harnessing Local Resources to Increase Access

Tues. 11/5 1:45 p.m. – 3:00 p.m.

Every day is a Big Little  Adventure. Conceived out of a unique community think-tank exercise, My Big Little Adventure (MBLA) was collaboratively designed to connect families with young children (age 0-5) to the educational resources that already exist within their home, neighborhood and broader community – but with the hook of themes, structure and incentive. The project ultimately materialized as a website that now serves as a resource and clearinghouse for (mostly free and low cost) events and activities. It organizes resources from lots of sources into one place and eliminates the clutter of commercial enterprise and the wide age ranges typically found in these kinds of event sites. The project also involves community outreach work to drive signups and family engagement and harnesses the voices and resources of multiple cultural and social service partners under the common interest of reaching more young children and caregivers with existing programs and services. MBLA is a value-added experience that nurtures everyday learning by pointing out the easy ways to turn daily routines and simple materials into adventures that hone kindergarten readiness, and by encouraging participation and the development of relationships with local resources (like libraries, health providers, museums, parks, zoo, arts organizations and more). MBLA aims to be an accessible and understandable roadmap for connecting more families to the easily-accessible and readily-available enrichment resources that exist around them, as well as coaxing adults into using materials around the house to further learning in simple ways. This session will explore the MBLA project from initial concept, through design to year one deployment, identifying successes, lessons and anticipated adjustments as collaborators move into the project’s second year. We will explore what can be accomplished when like-minded professionals set aside individual program goals for the greater good of a mutual cause like early childhood school readiness.

GED® Testing Service has been a longstanding NCFL partner and will be back again this year! Attendees will have two opportunities to explore the GED®:

Finding GED®: Navigating the Search for Adult Literacy Services

Mon. 11/4 11:15 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.

How do you braid the adult literacy services into your program? GED Testing Service can help. Join us to explore the tools and resources to locate and engage your learners in adult literacy services.

All Things GED®: What You Know and What You WANT to Know About GED®

Tues. 11/5 9:45 a.m. – 11:00 a.m.

Many people know the name GED®, but what do you KNOW about today’s GED®? Join in a facilitated discussion to review what you know about the GED® program and ask questions to learn the things you WANT to know about the GED® program.

Through our partnership with Goodling Institute for Research in Family Literacy, attendees will have the chance to hear from  leading researchers in family literacy.


‘Presencing’ the Field of Family Reentry Research and Practice

Mon. 11/4 9:45 a.m. to 11:00 a.m.

Given the conditions of mass incarceration in the U.S. today, what can be done to sustain family connections from afar? Where do connections happen? How does the perceived presence of loved ones affect the quality of “doing time?” William Muth, Ph.D. reports on empirical data from his book, Fathers, Prisons and Family Reentry: Presencing as a Framework and Method regarding: the lived experiences of families doing time, the hopelessness of future-oriented policy, and model approaches and programs in the US and Europe.

Native Families and Places of Indigenous Learning and Restorative Practices

Mon. 11/4 3:15 p.m. – 4:30 p.m.

In this presentation, Dr. Tarajean Yazzie-Mintz will share an overview of eight years of work across nine tribal colleges serving Native communities in developing systems of care and learning for children and families. At the center of this work are the discoveries and motivations for engaging families as full partners in curricular design, assessment and inquiry, and in the historical acts of implementing Indigenous learning and restorative practices, so that Native communities can thrive.

Family Literacy Behind Bars: The Read to Your Child Program in a Pennsylvania Prison

Tues. 11/5 9:45 a.m. – 11:00 a.m.

This session presents findings from a qualitative study of fathers in the Read to Your Child family literacy program at a Pennsylvania prison. The presentation outlines the impacts of incarceration on families, the benefits of the program, and implications for practice.


Part of the Library strand includes an exciting live webcast on Monday morning featuring education and library experts who work to engage diverse community groups and how those programs can inform your work.

How Programs Can Recruit & Engage Culturally Diverse Families

Mon. 11/4 11:15 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.

Families are more likely to become engaged in their children’s learning when school and library staff reach out to them. But often, culturally diverse families are isolated from schools, libraries, and other community resources. A long list of issues may be keeping families from crossing your threshold and helping them stay hidden from your outreach - mistrust of government entities, lack of experience with public institutions such as libraries in their homeland, language barriers and embarrassment about their own literacy or education levels, fear due to immigration status, and more. How can you better understand who you aren’t reaching and how can you help families access your resources?


Again, this year we will offer extended, deep-dive sessions on Wednesday, Nov. 6 from 8:15 a.m. to 10:15 a.m. These in-depth sessions allow attendees to dive deeper into particular subjects relevant to the field of education.

Figuring in Families: Family Math as a Path to Equity

Our nation’s educational system has historically denied children of color, those learning multiple languages, and those from low-income homes opportunities to become proficient in mathematics. At the same time that we work to change school systems to become equitable, we can mobilize families as positive influences on the early mathematics learning of their children, just as they are for reading. In this session we will learn about the elements of mathematics (it’s more than counting and shapes!) and look for math learning opportunities in everyday life. We will celebrate the strengths of families as they interact in mathematical ways with their children, and we will discuss initiatives to support families to do even more math with their children in joyful and natural ways. Participants will leave the session with concrete strategies and resources that they can share with the families they serve. Our ultimate goal is that every learner is empowered with the math confidence and skills required to thrive in school and to participate in the 21st century workforce.

Leveraging the Private Sector to Spur Social Mobility

Eliminate the guesswork of uncovering how corporations are thinking about funding your efforts. This session will dig into the strategy and rationale behind the investments of some of the nation’s most generous companies. In this deep dive session, you’ll hear from leaders at Dollar General, PNC, and Humana, on how they approach the important role of investing in some of the most pressing social causes of our time. They will offer their insights as to how new forms of philanthropy are shaping the future and will explore how traditional philanthropy can work within the evolving framework of giving required by an ever-changing world. The panel will be facilitated by NCFL Board Member Nicole Chestang, principal of The Chestang Group.

Reach Out and Read and NCFL: A Pediatric Perspective on Family Literacy

This orientation to the pediatric early literacy program Reach Out and Read includes an outline of the stages of language and literacy development from birth through age 5, their social context, and the caregiver’s role in supporting optimal development, and explores the potential for partnerships between pediatric primary care and family literacy providers.

See you at the 2019 NCFL Families Learning Conference!

Register here!


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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