The National Center for Family Literacy (NCFL) identifies parental literacy as one of the single most important indicators of a child’s success. The National Assessment of Education Progress (NAEP) has concluded that youngsters whose parents are functionally illiterate are twice as likely to be functionally illiterate themselves. The statistics are overwhelming:

  • By age four, children who live in poor families will have heard 32 million fewer words than children living in professional families.
  • One in five, or 20%, of America’s children five years old and under live in poverty.
  • Some 30 million adults in the United States have extremely limited literacy skills. If one teacher could teach 100 adults to read, we would need 300,000 adult education teachers to meet this need.
  • The Hispanic population is the largest minority in the United States and has the highest school dropout rate. More than two in five Hispanics living in America age 25 and older have not graduated from high school. (NCFL)

Though the above statistics are accurate, involving parents/families in literacy programs can change the odds for YOUR students. PTA( notes:

  • When parents are involved, students achieve more, regardless of socio-economic status, ethnic/racial background, or the parents’ education level.
  • When parents are involved, students exhibit more positive attitudes and behavior.
  • To have long-lasting gains for students, parent involvement activities must be well planned, inclusive, and comprehensive.
  • Children from diverse cultural backgrounds tend to do better when parents and professionals collaborate to bridge the gap between the culture at home and the learning situation. (  

“Parental involvement isn’t a luxury — it’s an integral component of student achievement and school reform.” (

Types of literacy programs to offer parents/families

Here are some pointers on how to achieve your goals this year and positively affect the lives of the young people that you serve in your programs.

1. Goals must be set – success just doesn’t happen by chance (not usually).  

2. Write them down – seeing them on paper and writing them down significantly increases your chance to achieve them.

3. Break them down into manageable steps so that it does not seem overwhelming. Put them into order of importance and give a deadline to accomplish them. 

4. Do something each day no matter how small to work toward your goals.

5. Make your goals specific and real to you.  You must believe your goals are obtainable to desire and achieve it them.

6. Nourish your goals daily by repeating affirmations and visualizing yourself accomplishing your goals.

7. Pay close attention to your progress by frequently monitoring whether your daily decisions bring you closer to your goals.

8. Share your goals with only those who will be supportive and caring, and nurturing of your goals. 

9. Celebrate your accomplishments. 

By following these simple guidelines, you come closer to achieving your goals. Remember to assert positive energy and emotion through positive conversation and interactions with other people especially our youth.

It is not who you attend school with but who controls the school you attend.

Nikki Giovanni