Platte Valley Literacy Association’s Family Literacy Program breaks the cycle of illiteracy by supporting the family in reaching educational goals. This program is for children ages 4-11. Their family is encouraged to Be Enthusiastic About Reading (BEAR). Before the parents attend their adult education class, they read for a minimum of 15 minutes with their child. Parents are also able to benefit from parenting information and assistance with Power School. PVLA has seen wonderful results from this program as many of the young participants have become the first in their families to attend a college or university.
What do we do in Family School?
Here parent and child can learn together. When a parent has more than one child, a “date” is made so that each child has one-on-one cozy reading experiences with their parent. While the parents are in their classroom, their children are provided with educational activities in the children’s area.
How do we help school-age children?
School-age children obtain assistance with homework assignments or weak skills in reading. Using Power School and school report cards weak academic skills are identified. The parent is shown how to check on the child’s progress in order to monitor quiet time at home for studying. By explaining the report card, aides advise how important it is to attend teacher conferences. Parent and teacher communication is guided whenever possible. Guided reading is a priority. Each family is encouraged to have a library card so that books can be checked out from the library to share at home.
Young children listen to a certain number of books and older children read a certain number of chapters to earn time on the computer using educational software or a website that is conducive to learning.
What about Preschool children?
Preschool children have language learning opportunities organized with the High/Scope key experiences. A Child Observation Record documents progress.
Volunteers are very important in nurturing the child’s love of learning through the enjoyment of reading. BEAR pairs happen when volunteers read to the child, help them with homework, guide their learning activities, or show them how to use the computer. Teenagers may volunteer if they need community service for girl scout or boy scout badges, living faith hours, confirmation, honor society, and applications for scholarships. Bilingual teenagers are especially appreciated because interpreters are often needed for the parents. A benefit for teenage volunteers, who donate more than 30 hours, is obtaining a PVLA letter of recommendation when they are applying for a job or scholarship.
History of Family School
In 1992, Family School was created after training at the National Center for Family Literacy in Louisville, Kentucky. At first it was financed by a United Way of America and UPS initiative grant with local funding from the Peter Kiewitt Foundation and Columbus Lamplighters for Literacy. Now the Columbus Area United Way continues to support Family School.