Included below are links to four one-hour webinars plus an annotated list of the resources featured in each webinar.

Getting Started: Laying the Groundwork for new Family Literacy Programming

Webinar Link. Presented by Amy Prevedel with Natalie Cole (California State Library) and Kelly Tyler (Los Angeles Public Library) | March 29, 2019

Resources featured in the webinar:

Two women teach children at literacy event

    • The slides include more information that was presented in the webinar.
    • Common Knowledge conducted a qualitative and quantitative analysis of family literacy activities to understand current and past services, and program capacities and needs in California libraries. It’s helpful to see what kinds of family literacy programming libraries throughout California have provided.
    • Check out the Equipped For the Future framework from the Center for Literacy, Education, and Employment,  January 2000, to explore more views of family literacy and useful language for understanding and talking about what adult learners want to be able to do in their roles as family members.
    • To learn more about adult literacy teaching and learning, see:
    • The American Library Association’s Literacy for All: Adult Literacy @ Your Library (2012; updated in 2019) has practical tips to help you lay the groundwork for new programming. It’s written in relation to adult literacy programming, but it can be useful for adult-focused family literacy programming, too. The document provides tips for working with your library to identify successful programs on which you can build, learning more about your community through informal, asset-based community assessments, and reaching and serving adult learners and their families.
    • The Los Angeles Public Library is using Scholastic’s Read and Rise to provide family literacy workshop kits and training for library staff in many diverse communities in Los Angeles. The materials are good for families with children aged 0 months to third grade.
    • Overviews and samples of six traditional types of community assessment tools. They’re not family literacy-specific, but they can serve as models for creating your own tools to get to know and serve your community better. Topics include: community meetings, surveys, interviews, focus groups, asset inventory, and community mapping. Go to and search for their community assessment tools.
    • The Roles and Goals mind map can help you find out what learners want to know more about or be able to do better. Their responses can help guide the programming you create. You can use this goal-setting tool to interview learners one-on-one, in small groups or during community meetings.
    • This Community Asset Inventory can help you compile a list of potential adult education partners in your community. Maybe a detail-oriented volunteer in your program can use it to create a comprehensive resource list.
    • Some free and not-so-free digital tools for gathering community assessment information:

children at family literacy event

  • Learn about the difference between needs-based community assessment and asset-based community assessment in Asset-Based Community Development by Jody Kretzmann (Public Library Association). More than this, find out why the world-view behind asset-based community assessment dovetails so nicely with our work in library literacy services.
  • An example of a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) that shows you how an MOU lists key responsibilities for each organization involved in a common project. Please note that this MOU is talking about a joint community assessment project, as opposed to working together on family literacy programming.¹
  • Learn how to identify and work with community connectors to connect your program with groups who will strengthen your family literacy services. You’ll find community connectors in both formal and informal community groups that your program would love to partner with to attract adult learners and to get the word out about your program. Chances are, you’ve already got quite a few community connectors enrolled in your adult literacy program. See Chapter 8 of The Engaged Library (Urban Libraries Council, 2005).
  • The excellent training and tools developed by the Harwood Institute for Public Innovation are a natural resource for adult literacy service providers. The Harwood approach taps into community knowledge and experience, and helps you “turn outward,” so you can provide relevant, uplifting family literacy services in the communities you serve. Libraries across California (and the country) are using the Harwood approach to help “strengthen their role as community leaders and bring about positive change in their communities. Turning outward … entails taking steps to better understand communities; changing processes and thinking to make conversations more community-focused; being proactive to community issues; and putting community aspirations first.”
  • A sample survey script that adult learners can use to collect information from their neighborhoods and social hubs. Adult learners who you believe are “community connectors” can use a script like this to gather valuable information to use for program planning.²
  • My Community and other excellent participatory curricula and staff development texts by Hanna Arlene Fingeret are available at Peppercorn Books and Press.
  • Stephen Brookfield’s work in critical pedagogy builds upon Paolo Freire’s legacy. Brookfield is intent on training adult education teachers who can not only engage adult learners with interesting in-class social configurations and rich materials, but who can also model and instill critical thinking that brings about a more just society. Brookfield’s webpage is full of free material—workshops, presentations, books, videos, podcasts, and other materials—that illuminate many aspects of critical pedagogy. He writes dense academic articles as well as easy-to-use materials. Here’s an example of a training he does on The Skillful Teacher. This same training is also available in a PowerPoint format on his website. In it, Brookfield offers facilitation strategies you can use in group learning settings, from community meetings to tutor training workshops to other group situations.
  • Budd Hall’s interest in participatory research methods and tapping into the knowledge that ordinary people hold also harkens back to Paulo Freire. Some community engagement ideas for this webinar came from Hall’s work: Hall, B. (1984) Participatory Research Project:  Working Paper No. 1, Creating Knowledge: Breaking the Monopoly: Research Methods, Participation and Development. Working Papers, Toronto. See Budd Hall talking about his main areas of community—or participatory–research.


Family Literacy Programming Goes to School: How our Programs Can Help Adult Learners Make a Difference in the School Lives of their Children, From Teacher Conferences to Homework Help

Webinar link. Presented by Amy Prevedel with Sherry Drobner (ret. Richmond Public Library) and Abigail Sims-Evelyn (Richmond Public Library) | April 10, 2019

Some adult learners come into library literacy programs because they want to be able to participate in their child’s formal education and advocate effectively for them at school. Learners want to be able to support their children as homework and other school communication comes knocking at the door and into their family life. In this webinar we considered ways to:

  • Step back and think about the most effective, appropriate role your library literacy program can play in supporting families in the realm of schooling.
  • Help literacy providers inform family literacy services by honoring the parents’ role as the first teacher of their children and the most experienced in terms of providing support to their children.
  • Work with adult learners to tap into and strengthen their authentic voices in contexts that might fall beyond their present comfort level so they can advocate from within and influence the social institutions their families interact with—in this case, with schools.
  • Learn more about a rich array of academic research that can guide you in making decisions and implementing activities based on solid footing and a clear purpose.

Resources featured in the webinar:


Family Literacy 101: From Flyers to Food

Webinar link. Presented by Amy Prevedel with Deborah Bernal (Fresno County Public Library) and Pat Jarvis (South San Francisco Public Library) | May 2, 2019

This webinar looked at three successful family literacy events: Literacy, Food & Fitness; Learning Together–Lotería and Piñata; and Science Club. The webinar considered not only how to plan and offer these three specific programs, but also the larger issues of:

  • how to create a family literacy program—structures, materials and helpful research to draw upon;
  • program marketing that communicates effectively and entices families to come; and
  • time and distance and the challenges they present in serving families

Resources featured in the webinar:

  • Project Read’s Literacy, Food & Fitness is a nutrition and literacy program for young children and their parents and caregivers. The program uses a traditional library story time format to introduce nutrition and exercise concepts, and offers hands-on nutrition and physical activities that reinforce healthy choices.
  • Learning Together–Loteria and Pinatas: Reach for the Stars goal sheet.
  • Science Club for family members of all ages: materials, books, and crafts.
  • Family Literacy flyers with professionally-taken photos that you can tailor to suit your own program: flyer one; flyer two.
  • ABC Life Literacy Canada offers a list of fun activities for families to do for language development in everyday situations. The resources are bilingual adaptable. Here’s the Take 20 list of ideas to get families started on learning together every day.
  • BabyBug, LadyBug and other magazines with short poems and stories for families to read together are great resources. They include beautiful illustrations to talk about and sturdy pages that can stand up to being handled enthusiastically and chewed on, etc. The site includes high-quality magazines for older kids on other topics, too.
  • Resource Area for Teaching offers high-quality STEAM kits (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Math) with materials and lesson plans for hands-on learning activities
  • The Abriendo Puertas/Opening Doors curriculum and materials are available in English and Spanish. The curriculum is “grounded in research, reflects parent input, and uses a ‘popular education’ approach to engage parents.” (Sometimes known as a Freirian approach or critical pedagogy.)
  • Catchafire connects nonprofits or socially-geared organizations with professionals who want to donate their skills and talents to a good cause. They can consult with you over the phone for an hour or might have someone who wants to help you see a project through. Catchafire worked with South San Francisco’s Project Read to develop high-quality promotional materials through a partnership with the Peninsula Foundation.
  • The Read Aloud Share a Book With Me DVD from Raising a Reader shows how a parent who is uncomfortable reading can share a book with a child. The DVD can be viewed in 11 languages.
  • The United States Department of Agriculture’s My Plate illustrates the five food groups that are the building blocks for a healthy diet.


Family Literacy on the Wild, Wild e-Frontier: Strategies for Raising Digitally Savvy Families

Webinar 4. Presented by Amy Prevedel with Brian Castagne (San Francisco Public Library) and Kim Noriega (San Diego Public Library) | June 4, 2019

This webinar explored research, tools, and strategies you can use to support learners as they navigate the digital world with their families. Specifically:

  • What the research says about the impact that media use—and media overuse—has on family members of different ages, and how this relates to designing family literacy programming.
  • Learning resources for navigating digital life designed specifically for families and for educators like ourselves who support their learning.
  • High-quality digital materials and resources that families can use to learn and have fun together.

Resources featured in the webinar:

  • Use the Roles and Goals mind map form to find out what adult learners want to learn more about or be able to do more easily at home and with their families.
  • Use this media time assessment form to gain awareness, without judgement, of your present media use and time.
  • Sidewalk Flowers: In this wordless picture book, a little girl collects wildflowers while her distracted father pays her little attention. Each flower becomes a gift, and whether the gift is noticed or ignored, both giver and recipient are transformed by their encounter.
  • Handouts, surveys, and articles from READ/San Diego’s family literacy boot camp on digital media:
  • Learning Upgrade: Reading and math software available by subscription.
  • Digital Resource List from Project Read at the San Francisco Public Library. The list was created and curated for adult learners and includes the following content and topics: Adult Literacy Workshop Handouts, Bolder Adults TechTime Handouts, Computer and Technology Resources, Family literacy, Jobs and Career, and Other Resources.
  • Scholastic Bookflix: This online resource is not free, but your library may pay for it already. BookFlix offers fun, safe, and interactive online learning experiences for children and caregivers.
  • Learning how to read digital media is critical to families everywhere, for the health of our personal thinking and our collective knowledge. Spaghetti Harvest in Ticino is a video clip that demonstrates the importance of digital literacy skills. Wikipedia entry on the Spaghetti Harvest.
  • Bookshelf: books relating to digital media use:
    • Unplugged Play: No Batteries. No Plugs. Pure Fun. By Bobbi Conner.
    • Parenting in the Age of Attention Snatchers. By Lucy Jo Palladino, Ph.D.
    • Not a Box. By Antoinette Portis.
    • Blackout. By John Rocco.
    • Reader, Come Home: The Reading Brain in a Digital World. By Maryanne Wolf.
  • Screen-Free Parenting: A blog designed with research-based information to support caregivers, whether they are screen free, screen-limiters or screen-embracers, in making tech-wise choices for their families.
  • Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood: The campaign educates the public about the impact commercialism has kids’ wellbeing and advocates for the end of child-targeted marketing.
  • American Academy of Pediatrics: Links (one and two) to the Academy’s recommendations regarding media use for children ages 0-18.
  • Hoopla: An online resource available through many libraries for borrowing “e” items (including eBooks, audio books, music, and video). Offers family-friendly TV shows and movies. You can download most items to tablets and phones.
  • Kanopy and Kanopy Kids: Many libraries pay for a subscription to this e-resource for streaming an extensive selection of American and international films, TV shows, and documentaries.
  • Flipster and RB Digital: Many libraries offer these digital resources. Both offer a wide range of digital magazines for all ages, including popular youth titles like Highlights, Ranger Rick, and Cricket.
  • Common Sense Education: This organization conducts and publishes research about technology and its impact on children and families. It supports teachers and engages families and communities with research-backed tips, tools, curriculum and expert advice—all for free. The language is often framed in terms of K-12, but lots of it transfers well to our library-based settings.
  • Common Sense Media (ratings and reviews): Families can see ratings and reviews for movies, games, TV shows, books, music, and apps to decide how appropriate they are for children.
  • Common Sense Media (smartphones): A set of checklists with questions for parents to consider when thinking about letting their child have a smartphone.
  • Common Sense Media (blog sample)
  • Common Sense Media (sample lesson plan and handout)
  • Everyone On: Low-cost computers and Internet service, as well as free digital literacy courses.
  • GFCLearnFree is a program of Goodwill Community Foundation and Goodwill Industries of Eastern North Carolina. This free site offers practical and easy to use lessons for adults who want to improve their digital skills as well as their basic reading, writing and math skills.
  • Reep’s Technology Curriculum outlines discrete digital skills that add up to mastery of computer and word processing skills, Internet, and email navigation.
  • Videos of READ/San Diego Parents talking about digital media experiences in their families:
  • READ/San Diego 2018 Keynote Presentation by Dr. Maryanne Wolf.

¹ This document was originally developed for the CCF Communities Empowering Youth Program by the National Resource Center, updated in 2010 for the Department of Health and Human Services by the National Resource Center. Created by the Compassion Capital Fund National Resource Center, operated by Dare Mighty Things, Inc., in the performance of Health and Human Services Contract Number HHSP23320082912YC.

² Adapted from: My Community: Sample Lessons Reflecting a Learner Centered Approach to Literacy Instruction, by Jearlean Osborne, Director of Instruction Literacy Volunteers of Biloxi, Biloxi, MS, with assistance by Jereann King, Jonathan Estes, and Hanna Fingeret, Literacy South, Durham, NC. Peppercorn Books. 1991

The webinars were created as part of the Literacy Initiatives program which is supported in, in whole or in part, by the Institute of Museum and Library Services under the provisions of the Library Services and Technology Act, administered in California by the State Librarian.