Family Literacy Project
Created in 1998, the Family Literacy Project is a home reading program for grades K0-5 in the Boston Public Schools. The Family Literacy Project supports the overarching goal of ReadBoston— "To ensure all children are reading on grade level by the end of 3rd grade"—by providing classroom-based home lending libraries, and by requiring children to read (or be read to) for at least twenty-minutes a day, four times a week, for four weeks a month. This benchmark is consistent with studies that show that children who read for pleasure do better in school and on standardized tests than those that do not.
Studies also indicate that the more families are involved in their child"s education, the better the child does in school. For that reason, the Family Literacy Project requires participating schools to conduct private, appointment-based Parent-Teacher Conferences twice a year. Family Literacy Project staff provide guidance on conducting these conferences.
Larger, More In-Depth Description
The Family Literacy Project (FLP) is a program for Boston Public Elementary School children in grades K0 – 5 that encourages children to read for pleasure and aims to involve parents in their child’s education. The main components of the program include: creating a classroom-based home lending library, hiring a parent liaison at each school to oversee the program, tracking student reading rates, and conducting twice-yearly parent-teacher conferences to discuss each child’s progress. Pending successful execution of project goals, the Family Literacy Project works with a school for three years.
Classroom teachers choose books for home-lending libraries based on students’ interests and abilities. After three years of partnering with FLP, most teachers will have 7 books per child in their library. Experts agree that this is a good minimum number of books per child to have in a classroom library.
FLP staff members train, support and mentor “Parent Liaisons” to coordinate the home reading program within the schools. The Parent Liaisons, along with the teachers, track student participation. Teachers provide students with reading logs to take home weekly, and Parent Liaisons report school-wide tracking results monthly. A number of documents distributed by the Parent Liasions are in multiple languages.
All Boston Public Elementary Schools are required to have one parent-teacher conference; to participate in the Family Literacy Project our schools agree to hold two conferences per year. Parent Liaisons are trained to help schedule these conferences and to follow-up with families.
The Family Literacy Project supports family engagement on the school-level by offering workshops at school-based Family Fun Nights and by setting up informational tables at seasonal Open Houses. FLP is frequently asked to do its “Puppet Making Workshop” at a Family Fun Night. This entails giving a short presentation about how puppets support literacy, reading aloud an engaging story, and making puppets for participants to take home. At an Open House, FLP staff are available to talk about the home reading program with families and provide materials such as booklists and handouts on reading at home.
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