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The Professional Development goal serves:

To build the capacity of the field to provide high quality, research-based instruction and program development in family literacy.

The Goodling Institute creates resources to assist programs develop curriculum, activities, and engage in research.

Practitioner's Guide #8

What we learned yesterday will guide us today: How family literacy programs can address the COVID-19 slide
McLean & Clymer (2021)
This guide explores the critical role family literacy programs can play to help families combat the COVID-19 slide.

Practitioner's Guide #7

Building Employability Skills in Family Literacy Programs: Lessons from the Toyota Family Learning Program 
Toso & Krupar (2016)
This guide, drawing on concrete examples, examines how service learning projects can help to develop employability skills among family literacy participants.

Practitioner's Guide #6

Parent Engagement and Leadership Opportunities: The benefits for parents, children, and educators 
Toso & Grinder (2016)
This guide discusses incorporating leadership training and opportunities into parent involvement and family literacy programs. By doing this, parents can have a meaningful voice in social and educational issues, and educators can have a better understanding of the benefits of working with and supporting parent as equal partners in schools and communities.

Practitioner's Guide #5

Digital Storytelling in Family Literacy Programs 
Mooney & Prins (2015)
This guide discusses what digital storytelling (DST) is and reasons for using it in family literacy programs. Examples of family literacy programs using DST effectively are provided, along with concrete steps for implementation. The guide concludes with important considerations for educators and a list of resources.

Practitioner's Guide #4

Addressing the Health Literacy Needs of Adult Education Students
Mooney & Prins (2013)
The purpose of this guide is to inform practitioners about the current descriptions of health literacy and the relevance of this topic to adult education and family literacy practices. The adult education and family literacy educators play a key role in teaching and enhancing health literacy in the classroom.

Practitioner's Guide #3

Working with Preliterate and Beginning Literacy Level Parents in Family Literacy and Parent Involvement Programs 
Shaughnessy & Prins (2012)
This guide provides recommendations for educators working with preliterate and beginning literacy level parents. There is an increasing number of immigrant learners in programs and educators can better assist this population by tailoring instruction and programmatic offerings to these families.

Practitioner's Guide #2

Parent Interventions and Interactive Literacy Activities 
by Grinder & Toso (2012)
This guide informs family literacy practitioners and others who work with families the importance of providing targeted training to parents to help them learn how to work and interact with their children to achieve greater academic success.

Practitioner's Guide #1

Interactive Literacy Activities 
by Miller & Prins (2009)
This guide provides a broad overview of Interactive Literacy Activities (ILA) and suggests ways to implement ILA more effectively. Specifically, the guide summarizes the research basis for ILA, describes what ILA entails and the ways in which they are being used in family literacy, provides examples of ILA activities with a solid research base, and offers suggestions for designing culturally appropriate ILA.

Practitioner Action Research - Family Literacy

Practitioner Action Research (PAR) is a reflective process of progressive problem solving that helps you to answer the questions you have about issues in your program or practice.  Pennsylvania Family Literacy programs were engaged in this process through the SEQUAL professional development from 2007 until 2011.  Resources and information about the process and reporting are available below.

Pennsylvania Family Literacy PAR (SEQUAL) 2007-2008 Project Report

Pennsylvania Family Literacy PAR Project (SEQUAL): PAR 09-10 Handbook

Pennsylvania Family Literacy PAR Project (SEQUAL): PAR 08-09 Handbook and monographs

Pennsylvania Family Literacy PAR Project (SEQUAL): PAR 07-08 Handbook

Practitioner Action Research Conference Presentation by Dr. Prins


For additional information, please contact Dr. Beth McLean, [email protected]

Dealing with COVID-19 challenges in the virtual classroom - national webinar and resources of remote instruction for family literacy programs, (2020, April)

Family Literacy Indicators of Program Quality

The Goodling Institute adapted and revised indicators of program quality from the Pennsylvania Department of Education, Division of Adult Education within the Bureau of Postsecondary and Adult Education: Family Literacy Indicators of Program Quality (2002), the Indicators of Program Quality for Adult Basic and Family Literacy Education (2010), and the Indicators of Program Quality (2019). The updated Family Literacy Indicators of Program Quality retain a majority of the indicators from the 2010 and 2019 version, while also going back to the original (2002) language of the Family Literacy indicators. The current version strengthens the language around children and families, while updating and reflecting current best practices and requirements of family literacy programs (i.e., digital literacy).

Interactive Literacy Activities Toolkit

The Interactive Literacy Activities (ILA) Toolkit is intended to provide guidance and suggestions for implementing ILA in family literacy programs. Included are ideas for in-person, hybrid, take-home, and remote interactive literacy activities.

Family Literacy Work-Related Lesson Plans 

These lessons plans are a series of 18 lesson plans that relate to the Foundation Skills Framework of Basic Workplace Skills, Basic Employability Skills, and Basic Workplace Knowledge. Each of the 18 lessons includes readings and activities for the four components in family literacy: adult education, early childhood education, parent education, and Interactive Literacy Activities. The adult education activities relate to the GED skills, and the early childhood activities relate to the Pennsylvania Early Learning Standards. There are also lessons intended for distance learners. The Family Literacy Work-Related Lesson Plans were developed by family practitioners and technical assistants.

From scratch: Using AEFLA funds to develop a family literacy program

Use this toolkit to help practitioners develop a well-rounded, intergenerational, four-component family literacy program. Evidence-based strategies, resources, worksheets, and program examples are provided.

Study Circle Guide 

The Goodling Institute was funded to develop and pilot a Study Circle Guide, "Rethinking Instruction and Participation for Adult Basic Education" by the National Center for the Study of Adult Learning and Literacy(NCSALL).

Resources to support practitioner's work with families, including

Pennsylvania Center for the Book

The mission is to study, honor, celebrate, and promote books, reading, libraries, and literacy in Pennsylvania (PA)

Barbara Bush Foundation Resources

  • For families and family literacy programming:
    • Sharing Stories: To make story time more fun and engaging, the Barbara Bush Foundation (BFF) pulled together a list of books for parents and caregivers to explore with their children. Each title has a Parent Guide (available in English and Spanish) that provides ideas about how to use the book. All the books are in print and should be available at local libraries or bookstores. The letter from the developer provides a Which Book is Right for my Child Right Now chart
    • Mrs. Bush’s Story Time : Mrs. Bush’s Story Time is a podcast for families, featuring original recordings from the radio program of the same name. The podcast brings to life former First Lady Barbara Bush’s commitment to family literacy and lifelong learning for a whole new generation.
    • Books Guides: We have a few guides to support family literacy engagement. Our most recent one is through a collaboration with Penguin Random House and author Geri Halliwell-Horner
  • For adult educators, tutors, and volunteers supporting digital literacy skill building (and serves as PD tool):
    •  Digital Literacy Resources
      • In partnership with Digital Promise, the BBF created Promoting Digital Literacy for Adult Learners: A Resource Guide which is designed to support educators, tutors/mentors, and corporate volunteers who are working with adult learners on building digital literacy skills. 
      • To complement this guide, the BFF  developed training materials to support facilitators who are introducing the resource guide to educators, employers, mentors, and volunteers that work with adult learners. It provides recommendations for training others on how to use the guide, such as making the most of key features and facilitation tips. If you feel your program would benefit from using the guide, please let us know if you would like to schedule a “train the trainer.” All materials are free.
  • For adult educators, learners, and families:
    • ReadLife Bookshelf is a free digital resource for adult learners, children, families, and educators. The collection includes a variety of high interest digital texts for adult learners at different reading levels and a diverse selection of books for families to read together. Each month, a new collection of books is launched, and each book has guided activities to support reading engagement. 
    • Click here to view this month’s collection (located as the first “bookshelf”) and to explore this month’s theme Faraway Places. To support instructors, the Foundation has devoted a page to a Learning Resource Center with access to the current collection, instructor materials, and past collections. Click here to view these materials.

**Remote Instruction Resources for Family Literacy Programs**

Find online resources to support family literacy. Resources targeted to instructors, adults, and children, as well as lots of resources to engage in interactive literacy activities for parents and children to do together. Updated 6-25-23

Summer Programming Resources for Family Literacy Programs

Use this resource to discover new ideas for summer programming.

Be Excited About Reading - BEAR Book Parent-Child Interactive Literacy Activities

~  Parent and child learning together is a cornerstone of family literacy. BEAR Book Activities are family learning activities that help develop young (3 to 5 years of age) readers' language and literacy skills to help them become ready for school.

~  Each family learning activity is based on a child's book and contains Before Reading, Reading Together, and After Reading suggestions that a parent/family member can engage in with their child.

Rosalie's Neighborhood: Let's Smile! A Book about Dental Health 

This is a parent awareness health literacy unit that provides essential oral health care information for parents of young children. The curriculum includes a Facilitator's Guide and a Reader's Theater script.

Adult Child Interactive Reading Inventory (ACIRI) Picture Book List 

The annotated bibliography of picture books in children’s literature is a 2009 update by the Goodling Institute for Research in Family Literacy for use with the class and take-home activities in Andrea DeBruin-Parecki’s Let’s Read Together: Improving Outcomes with the Adult-Child Interactive Reading Inventory (ACIRI). This book list was developed to support the implementation of the ACIRI in Pennsylvania (PA) family literacy programs.

Distance Learning in Adult Basic Education: A review of the literature (2011)

The purpose of this literature review was to provide background information about distance learning (DL) in adult basic education (ABE), specifically to identify program design and policy implications to inform the use of DE for GED® students in rural Pennsylvania.