Starting a new Family Literacy Service

Two literacy specialists lead a child literacy eventFor general implementation guidance on CLLS Family Literacy Services, please view the “Family Literacy Services Overview” (2023).

A four-part webinar series providing an extensive set of ideas, tools, and research data on starting a new family literacy service and developing an existing one. Presented by the California State Library, March-June, 2019.

Family Literacy Landscape Analysis (2018) prepared by Common Knowledge for the California State Library provides an overview of family literacy programming in California’s public libraries and includes a wealth of great programming ideas.

Useful Organizations and Resources

Early Learning and School Readiness

1,000 Books Before Kindergarten

The 1,000 Books Before Kindergarten challenge is: read a book, any book, to your child, with the goal of reading 1,000 books before kindergarten. The program’s goal is to provide a simple, innovative yet fun approach to establishing strong early literacy skills, and its objectives are to promote reading to newborns, infants, and toddlers, and encourage parent and child bonding through reading. The program helps young children gain the confidence necessary to become strong readers.

Building Blocks for Kindergarten: Nurturing Children for Success

Building Blocks for Kindergarten is a resource guide presented by Santa Monica Cradle to Career, a collective impact initiative committed to helping the youth and families of Santa Monica reach their fullest potential.

Campaign for Grade-Level Reading

The Campaign’s goal is for a dozen states or more to increase by at least 100 percent the number of children from low-income families reading proficiently at the end of third grade by 2020. The Campaign is building a network of national and local civic leaders, policymakers, advocates, community organizations, and everyday people to assure: quality teaching for every child in every setting, every day; community-driven efforts to address major barriers to third grade reading proficiency (school readiness, chronic absence, and summer learning loss); and a seamless outcomes-accountable system of care, services, and family supports for children, from birth through third grade.

Early Learning with Families 2.0

Early Learning with Families (ELF) is a California State Library initiative intended to support the evolution of library services to young children (0-5), their families, and caregivers. The initiative is based on the knowledge that the first five years of life are critical in the formative development of children and families, and that libraries are one of the community pillars that support and nurture optimal early childhood development.

Every Child Ready to Read

Every Child Ready to Read® @ your library® is a turn-key research-based early literacy outreach education program for parents and caregivers produced by the Public Library Association and Association for Library Service to Children. It is an adult-focused education outreach program on early literacy, seeking out those families who are most at-risk and who may not visit public libraries. The program provides the tools and strategies for libraries to provide quality parent education and put library resources into the hands of parents. The goals of Every Child Ready to Read® @ your library® are to change practice in the library field around parent early literacy education, resulting in improved early literacy skills in very young children, and to educate parents on how to nurture early literacy skills in their children and successfully become their child’s first teacher.

Family Place Libraries

Family Place Libraries is a nationwide network of children’s librarians who embrace the fact that literacy begins at birth, and libraries can help build healthy communities by nourishing healthy families. Family Place Libraries transforms libraries into community centers for early literacy and learning, parent education and engagement, and family support and community connectivity, helping to ensure all children enter school ready and able to learn. The Family Place Libraries network currently includes more than 450 sites in 29 states and continues to grow.

First 5

First 5 California funds programs that educate parents, grandparents, caregivers, and teachers about the critical role they play during a child’s first five years. Since its creation in 1998, First 5 has supported millions of families with programs and services designed to help more California kids grow up healthy and ready to succeed in school and in life. Current efforts focus on the areas of nutritionearly literacy and language development, and smoking cessation, among others.

JumpStart:  Read for the Record

Jumpstart is a national early education organization working toward the day every child in America enters kindergarten prepared to succeed. It provides language, literacy, and social-emotional programming for preschool children from under-resourced communities and promotes quality early learning for all children.

Mother Goose Programs

All Mother Goose Programs include picture books, training, activity guides and educator resource manuals that transform the act of reading to children into multidimensional and powerful learning experiences. These include learning in math, science, social studies, environmental awareness and language and reading skills. All programs and products are standards-based and have been rigorously evaluated.

P.A.R.E.N.T.S. Parental Adults: Reading, Encouraging, Nurturing, Teaching, Supporting

Resources for parents and caregivers to support their children’s early learning, by Jane Curtis: Front and Back CoverIntroductionLessonsHandoutsMaterials

School Readiness Toolkit

The Reimagining School Readiness Toolkit includes research-backed resources that were created for librarians to help families prepare children ages 0 to 8 for success in school and in life.

Speech Goals

Speech Goals is a pediatric speech-language pathology center specializing in evaluations, diagnosis, and individualized and group treatments for children 0-18. Its mission is to give our undivided attention to families and provide them with optimal therapy strategies and provide parent education for optimal growth in the child.

Talk With Me Baby

Talk With Me Baby is a population-based initiative Two women teach children at literacy eventdesigned to ensure that every child, starting from birth, receives the essential “language nutrition.” Just as healthy food nourishes a growing baby’s body, language nutrition nourishes a baby’s brain. Both the quantity and quality of nourishing language are critical to healthy brain development. Providing children with abundant language nutrition, starting at birth, ensures a strong foundation for social-emotional and cognitive development and language and literacy ability and places babies on a pathway toward third grade reading proficiency, high school graduation, and lifelong success.

Family Activities and Engagement

Discover and Go

Discover and Go is a nationally recognized museum pass program developed by Contra Costa County Library that provides California library cardholders with free and discounted tickets to local museums and cultural institutions.

Ideabook: Libraries for Families

Ideabook: Libraries for Families offers a research-based framework to guide libraries’ work in family engagement, shares many innovative ways that libraries support and guide families in children’s learning and development, inspires libraries to create meaningful family engagement experiences, and creates dialogues within and among libraries to bring about well-planned family engagement programs.

National Center for Families Learning

The National Center for Families Learning works to eradicate poverty through education solutions for families. Partnering with educators, literacy advocates, and policymakers, the Center develops and provides programming, professional development, and resources that empower and raise families to achieve their potential.

Prime Time Family Reading

PRIME TIME offers a set of unique, humanities-focused, and outcomes-based programs designed to support children and families in inter-generational family reading and discussion. PRIME TIME programs are proven to generate long-term improvements in family engagement and student academic achievement. Programs partner with libraries, schools, museums, and other community service agencies to directly engage children, parents, teachers, educational administrators, and their communities in high-quality family-focused learning experiences.

United Through Education/Familas Unidas

United Through Education aims to build better communities through the education of the whole family. It offers family-based classes with a focus on reading, math, science, technology, health and arts to create a healthy community with a passion for lifelong learning and development.


Health and Food and Nutrition

Lunch at the Library

Lunch at the Library is a California State Library program that helps library staff develop successful public library summer meal programs. Lunch at the Library provide children and teens in low-income communities with free and healthy summer lunches and summer reading and enrichment programs, to help combat hunger and obesity and prevent summer learning loss.

Reach Out and Read

Reach Out and Read is a nonprofit organization that gives young children a foundation for success by incorporating books into pediatric care and encouraging families to read aloud together.

Seamless Summer Food Program

The Seamless Summer Option  is a program that encourages more public school districts and county offices of education to provide meals in low income areas during summer and certain other school vacation periods. The Seamless Summer Option combines features of the National School Lunch Program, School Breakfast Program, and Summer Food Service Program. The Seamless Summer Option reduces paperwork and administrative burdens and makes it easier for sponsors to feed children in low income areas during traditional summer vacation periods and during school vacation periods of longer than ten days for year-round schools.


The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program Education (SNAP-Ed) is a grant program that funds projects in all US States and Territories. SNAP-Ed projects encompass nutrition education, social marketing, and policy, systems, and environmental change (PSE). The goal of SNAP-Ed is to improve the likelihood that persons eligible for SNAP will make healthy food and lifestyle choices that prevent obesity.

Summer Food Service Program

The Summer Food Service Program, also known as the Summer Meals Program, provides free meals to children and teens in low-income areas when school is out. It was established to ensure that children continue to receive nutritious meals when school is not in session.



Mind in the Making

Mind in the Making is a program of the Bezos Family Foundation that works to share the science of children’s learning with the general public, families, and professionals who work with children and families.


For over 20 years, the Brazelton Touchpoints Center has collaborated with partners nationwide to establish scalable and sustainable, low-cost, low-tech interventions that propel children’s healthy development and build the internal capacity of–and strengthen the collaborative relationships among–families, parents, caregivers, providers, and communities. With its partners, the Brazelton Touchpoints Center engages in three principal areas of activity: professional and organizational development, knowledge development, and advocacy and awareness.


Schools and School Districts: Partnerships and Parent Engagement

ConnectED Library Challenge

The ConnectED Library Challenge is a way for communities throughout the country to create or strengthen partnerships so that every child enrolled in school can receive a library card and have access to the books and learning resources of America’s public libraries.

Dr. Joyce Epstein’s 6 Types of Parental Involvement

Dr. Joyce Epstein of Johns Hopkins University has developed a framework for defining six different types of parent involvement. This framework assists educators in developing school and family partnership programs.

Family Literacy in Oakland Unified School District

Oakland Unified School District provides family literacy and English-as-a-Second Language classes at elementary schools for parents and other family members, helping them engage in their students’ education.

Public Partners for Early Literacy: Library-School Partnerships Closing Opportunity Gaps

Public Partners for Early Literacy calls upon leaders of public library systems and school systems to strategically, proactively, and thoughtfully work together to expand access to library literacy resources that increase the chances of more low-income K-3rd graders becoming proficient readers. Based on knowledge gained from a field scan and a discussion of thought leaders, the report provides a framework for strengthening and leveraging library-school-community partnerships that help all children become proficient in reading, which will enable them to enjoy the promise of a bright and successful future.

Student Success Initiative Toolkit

The Student Success Initiative is a statewide LSTA grant-funded project led by the Pacific Library Partnership. The project seeks to provide support and mentorship to California public libraries in creating partnerships with schools that result in library cards for students.


A video produced by the Adult Learner Leadership Institute project designed to encourage learners to volunteer at school.


Research, Theory, and Some Practice

Goodling Institute for Research in Family Literacy

The Goodling Institute challenges family literacy researchers to look beyond the individual disciplines of early childhood education, elementary education, adult education, and parent education and engagement, and asserts that research must focus on how each discipline works together in family literacy settings.

National Center for Families Learning

The National Center for Families Learning works to eradicate poverty through education solutions for families.

National Coalition for Literacy

The Coalition is an alliance of the leading national and regional organizations dedicated to advancing adult education, family literacy, and English language acquisition in the United States.