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Family Literacy Pays For Parents, Children

When the 12th annual National Conference on Family Literacy was held this week in Long Beach, 50 attendees made the time to visit the Family Literacy program at the Head Start Center at the Long Beach School for Adults. Touching families and opening the door to a brighter future has been part of Long Beach Family Literacy for the past decade. Under the leadership of Roberta Lanterman, the program has grown from the original Burnett location to include four additional sites: Long Beach School for Adults, King Academy, the Career Transition Center of the City of Long Beach and the Cambodian Association of America. The typical adult student achieves a 1.5 grade level increase in reading during the school year, and their children also benefit. The amount and quality of time parents spend with their children increase dramatically by the end of the year, with 50 percent of parents spending two or more hours involved in literacy activities with their child each day. After participating in Family Literacy, 96 percent of the parents are reading to their children at least three times a week. Their children also achieved significant growth in literacy, academic and social skills needed to be successful in kindergarten. The four key components of Family Literacy are: • Adult Education: basic education, life skills, workplace skills and ESL; • Children's Education: preschool-aged children, elementary-aged children and infants and toddlers; • Parent and Child Together (PACT) Time: interactive parent-child literacy activities that strengthen the learning relationship between parent and child; and • Parent Time: providing parents with information about child literacy and answering their developmental concerns. All four components are offered at the five Family Literacy sites; however, the CTC also provides a customized workforce program. The Adult Education component includes Adult Basic Education (high school diploma, GED) and English as a Second Language instruction.