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Rural Alberta Development Fund Forms

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									  Family literacy
   practice and
research in Canada
       Yvon Laberge
           Éduk
      Alberta, Canada
    ylaberge@shaw.ca
                   Overview
   Setting the table: The Canadian geo-political
    context
   Family literacy practice - examples from Alberta
   Research in Family Literacy
   Two cases studies explored
Huge landbase
                 Population
   Most of the population concentrated along the
    49th parallel
   Officially bilingual - French and English
   Canada is a land of immigrants
   Aboriginal populations are the fastest growing
   Largest cities are Toronto, Montreal, Vancouver
    - all cosmopolitan
   Rural areas tend to be more ethnically
    homogeneous
        Political organization:
          Two tier system
   National government (federal government)
   Provincial and territorial governments (10
    provinces and 3 territories)
   Roles and responsibilities defined in the
    national constitution
   Division of responsibilities
Federal government            Provincial/territorial
 No direct involvement in      governments
  education                    Education - raise
 Redirect funds to             taxes, define
  provincial/territorial        curriculum, etc.
  governments for adult        Manage adult
  education                     education systems
 No program delivery
                               Responsible for direct
  mandate - only peripheral
  support
                                delivery of
                                adult/family literacy
               Consequences
   No national literacy strategy (one of the few
    industrial countries lacking such a strategy)
   13 different approaches to literacy delivery
   Little or no transferability between programs
    from one province/territory to another
   Generally poorly funded adult/family literacy
    programs
Literacy levels (IALSS results)
   Examined three forms of literacy: prose,
    document, quantitative
   Five levels
   Level 3 is the level the OECD and
    Statistics Canada consider to be the
    minimum required to be able to function
    effectively in a modern society and
    economy.
Literacy levels (IALSS results)
   42% of the working aged adult population
    was at levels one and two on the IALS
    prose scale
   Represents approximately 9 million
    Canadians
    Literacy levels (Aboriginal
           population)
   Prose literacy performance of the
    Aboriginal populations surveyed is lower
    than that of the total Canadian population.

   Younger Aboriginal people have higher
    scores than older ones but all age groups
    score lower than non-Aboriginal people.
Literacy levels (Francophone
         population)

   The proportion of Francophones with low literacy
    is higher than the proportion of Anglophones
    with low literacy - 52% across the country

   56% in Québec

   66% in New Brunswick
     Literacy levels (Immigrant
            population)
   Overall, immigrants of work age performed
    significantly below the Canadian born
    population.

   Immigrants whose mother tongue was neither
    English nor French have lower average scores
    in all four domains compared to immigrants
    whose mother tongue is one of the two official
    languages.
        Unexpected results

   Little improvement in the overall literacy
    proficiency of adult Canadians between
    1994 and 2003
    Improvements had been
      expected because:

   Retirement of older, less educated
    workers;
   New immigrants tend to be more highly
    educated;
   Growth in the proportion of the
    Canadian-born population with
    postsecondary education
    Impact of these results on
         family literacy

   Family literacy policies tend to focus on
    children who are in “at risk
    environments”
   Target immigrant populations
   Target aboriginal populations
   Federal government has targeted
    francophones in a minority context
    In the province of Alberta

   Parent-child literacy strategy

   Family literacy initiative fund
Parent-child literacy strategy

Focuses on intergenerational educational
 approaches that integrate adult literacy
 development and early oral language
 development for children aged 0 to 6 for
 economically and socially
 disadvantaged families.
Parent-child literacy strategy:
         Objectives

   Enhance the oral language, early literacy and
    social interaction skills of children aged 0 to 6
   Strengthen and build the basic literacy skills
    of parents.
   Support and foster the involvement of parents
    in their children’s learning
   Develop and enhance community-based
    partnerships
Parent-child literacy strategy:
       5 strategic axis

   Awareness Raising
   Assessing Need
   Program Delivery
   Training
   Evaluation
Parent-child literacy strategy:
    Key activities to date

   English Express Special Issues
   Parent-Child Literacy and Home
    Visitation Partnerships
   Intensive Family Literacy Pilot and
    Evaluation (Learning Together Study)
   Training
   Family Literacy Initiative Fund
Parent-child literacy strategy:
Home visitation pilot project

   Support home-visitors in providing
    family literacy programmes in the home.
     Training
     Materials and programmes
     Evaluation
Parent-child literacy strategy:
    Innovative projects

   A number of innovative projects are
    supported including the Classroom on
    Wheels (C.O.W.)
Alberta Prairie C.0.W.

  Video interlude!!!
 Sample Family Literacy
Programmes supported by
       the FLIF*
             *The following slides on
             programmes have been
             reproduced with the
             permission of the Centre for
             Family Literacy
         Books for Babies
Provides resources to families
Encourages parents to read to their children
Builds strong foundations in literacy
Building Blocks


Literacy builders work with families in their homes
Builders work with parents and children,
with parents gradually taking over
Builders provide follow-up support by telephone
  Help Your Child to Read
         and Write
For parents of school-
age children
Provides strategies
for parents to use
in helping their
children with
reading and writing
Literacy and Parenting Skills


Provides literacy and parenting skills workshops
Groups choose from 14 parenting topics
Parents learn to model good literacy practices
with their children
Two programmes in French


Grandir avec les livres
   Parents and caregivers of children birth to 4 years old
   Workshops increase awareness of early learning and
   foster interest in reading
Contes sur roues
   Follow-up to Grandir avec les livres
   Parents and caregivers of children
   up to 4 years old
   Home or daycare visitor models
   reading activities, leaves
   resources for family or daycare
   to use
Parent-Child Mother Goose / Rhymes That Bind


For parents and very
young children
Develops oral language
through rhymes and songs
Promotes positive parenting
Storysacks


‘Sacks’ contain a story book, toys, and props
Language games and ideas for use are
also included
They can be used in families, daycares, libraries,
and other settings
PCLS - Supports a Training
        Strategy

   Foundational training
   Models training
   Training sessions designed to meet the
    specific needs of key stakeholders
         Foundational training
   Offered in person or on-line
   Covers 10 topics considered essential to
    organize and offer a family literacy programme
   Each topic is presented in a three hour session
   Participants are given a manual that covers all
    the information presented and more
   Currently being adapted as a credit course
    through a community college
        10 chapters - 10 topics
1.   Understanding           4.   Understanding
     Family Literacy              Children and their
2.   The Practice of              Development
     Family Literacy in an   5.   Understanding
     Unjust World                 Emergent Literacy
3.   The Dynamics of         6.   Working with
     Working with                 Families in a Family
     Parents                      Literacy Setting
       10 chapters - 10 topics
7.   Working with      9.    Evaluating Family
     Communities             Literacy Projects
8.   Administering a   10.   Best Practices in
     Family Literacy         Family Literacy
     Project
             Models training
   Training is provided on specific
    programme models
   Offered during a two or three day institute
    in a central location - or in the community
           Targeted training
   Training is provided to targeted groups
    requiring a specific emphasis. Examples
    of such groups include:
     Community health workers
     Day-care workers
     Home-visitors

   Introductory session on Family Literacy (2-
    3 hours)
                 Research
Overview

   General state of research in Family
    Literacy in Canada
   Two case studies
     General State of Research
   Traditionally, priority placed on applied research.
   NLS is moving away from applied research
   Rapidly developing area of research by the
    academic community
   Research tends to be in specialized areas
   A clearinghouse for research is CLLRNet
CLLRNet (Canadian Language
and Literacy Research
Network)
   Multidisciplinary research program
    integrates contributions from the many
    sectors involved in children's language
    and literacy development, including basic
    and applied scientists, educators,
    clinicians, students, parents and
    caregivers, and industrial and government
    partners.
CLLRNet (Canadian Language
and Literacy Research
Network)
   Currently more than 50 projects
   For more information on CLLRNet and the
    research programmes:
     www.cllrnet.ca
     www.cllrnet.ca/index.php?fa=Research.show
 ONTARIO STUDY - FRENCH
“For my Child: A Study of the Impact of
  French-Language Family Literacy
  Programs on Francophone Families in
  Linguistic Minority Settings in Ontario

“Pour mon enfant d’abord: Étude de
  l’impact de l’alphabétisation familiale sur
  les familles vivant en milieu minoritaire en
  Ontario”
     For my Child: Purpose

To assess the changes observed in literacy
 habits and in use of French among
 parents and children who have been
 involved in one of the French-language
 literacy programs offered by seven French
 language literacy centres in Ontario.
    For my Child: Methodology

   Semi-directed interviews with the
    participating parents, their literacy trainers,
    and the directors of these centres.
   Questionnaire used to guide the interview
    For my Child: Methodology

   Interviews with participants conducted at
    the start of the programme and at the end
    - using the same questionnaire.
   Interviews with facilitators and
    coordinators conducted at the end of the
    programme
    For my Child: Methodology

   Cohort 1 - a total of 52 families involved
       52 women and 10 men interviewed


   Cohort 2+3 - a total of 177 families
       161 women and 31 men interviewed
     For my Child: Typology of
      programmes - cohort 1

   Six programmes had direct parent and
    children involvement
   Three programmes had direct parent
    involvement and indirect impact on the
    child
     For my Child: Typology of
    programmes - cohorts 2 + 3

   Six programmes had direct parent and
    children involvement
   One programme had direct parent
    involvement and indirect impact on the
    child
       For my Child: Findings
   Few adults with low literacy skills
    participated in these family literacy
    programs.

   More parents and children spontaneously
    used French in daily literacy and non-
    literacy related activities
       For my Child: Findings
   Children increased French vocabulary
   Children were more likely to comply with a
    routine and follow instructions.
   Children developed a feeling of belonging
    with the French language and associated
    it with pleasant activities.

(as observed by parents)
        For my Child: Findings
Family literacy programmes had a major positive
  impact on parents in two respects:

   on the parents’ parenting skills,
   on their learning and their use of French.
More specifically, the parents who
participated in these programs now:

   apply the parenting strategies that they have learned,
    especially as regards disciplining their children and
    encouraging their interest in reading and writing;
   say that they are better equipped to play their role as
    parents;
   have become aware that any activity can be a learning
    activity;
   have a better grasp the importance of using French in
    the home;
   engage in more activities with their children, especially in
    French.
      For my Child: Findings
Family literacy programs play an important
 role in the growth and development of the
 Francophone community.
   Increased enrolment of participants’ children
    in French schools
   Increased participation in community activities
Learning Together

The Learning Together program offers sessions for parents,
an early childhood development program for the children, and
then joint sessions in which parents and children interacted
around literacy events.

The Learning Together program was developed as part of a
longitudinal study conducted by the University of Alberta.
The results were published in a book: Family Literacy
Matters: A Longitudinal Parent-Child Literacy Intervention
Study Linda M. Phillips, Ruth Hayden, and Stephen P. Norris
Data presented in the following slides is drawn from this
study.
Learning Together


   Eight key units for each:

   • Adult component
   • Early years component
   • Joint sessions component

   * Programme developed by the Centre for
   Family Literacy borrowed heavily from
   BSA (Basic Skills Agency) programme
   model, taken from the book - Family
   Literacy Works (Brooks et al. 1996)
    Learning Together: Themes
           for each unit
   Creative play
   Developing language and literacy
   Games
   Beginning with Books
   Early reading
   Writing and drawing
   Environmental print
   Advice and guidance
    Learning Together: Themes
           for each unit
   Facilitators advised and encouraged to “respect
    and build on parents’ existing skills and abilities
    within each of the units…”
   Facilitators required expertise and skills in their
    respective areas - working with adults and
    working in early childhood development.
          Learning Together:
              Timeframe
   Three mornings or afternoons per week
   Over three month period
   Total of 90 hours
           Learning Together:
               Timeframe
   Separate adult session
   Separate early-years session
   Each has its own facilitator
   Last 30 minutes each day, parents are paired
    with their child. Facilitators remained in the
    room to oversee.
           Learning Together:
             Methodology
   13 week pilot study helped refine programme
    model and research tools
   Treatment groups of children and parents
    compared with control/comparison groups
   158 children participated in five sites - 3 urban
    and 2 rural
        Learning Together:
    Assessment tools - Children
   Peabody Picture Vocabulary Test
   Test of Early Reading Ability(TERA - 2 Forms A
    & B)
   Test of Early Reading Ability(TERA - 3 Forms A
    & B)
       Learning Together:
    Assessment tools - Adults
   Canadian Adult Reading Assessment (CARA)
   Graded Word List
   Graded Passages
         Learning Together:
    Interviews and Observations
   Pre and post programme interviews conducted with all
    participants
   Yearly follow-up interviews conducted around the
    anniversary of the completion of the programme
   Each programme observed by one of the researchers for
    a minimum of 2 hours
Learning Together: Findings
   The program had a positive influence on all
    children except those who were already in the
    top 20 – 30% at the pretest stage.
   Participant parents acquired and implemented
    more frequent and varied literacy activities at
    home than the control group parents.
   Participant parents also reported being more
    confident and secure in their own ability to help
    their children.
Learning Together: Findings
   The program was most effective for
    children with the greatest need.
   No specific increase in the parents’ literacy
    levels because of the short length of the
    program
   There were qualitative improvements in
    the parent’s ability to advance the literacy
    levels of their children.
    Learning Together: Lessons
              learned
   Recruitment of participants, especially for the control
    group was very difficult and required a significant amount
    of resources (staff time and money)
   Particularly difficult to identify and recruit control group
    participants that mirrored the treatment group.
   Require a longer and more intensive adult literacy
    component to make a difference.
   Need to examine impact of less intensive programmes
Learning Together: Lessons
          learned
   Need to better understand cultural and
    social differences and how they effect
    literacy development
   Need to use the research to develop policy
    and practice that best utilizes limited
    resources and ensures the use of the most
    appropriate strategies for a given group

								
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