Authors: Essential Skills Ontario
This report presents the findings of a project undertaken to identify gaps and opportunities for a more coordinated and integrated policy mandate for family literacy in Ontario, and to identify promising approaches to an integrated family literacy system. The project was carried out by Essential Skills Ontario, formerly known as Ontario Literacy Coalition.
The project included an environmental scan of existing family literacy programs; consultations with providers of programs for the early years; and a review of the scholarly research literature on the effectiveness of early and family literacy programs.
The researchers found that in general, family literacy programs in Ontario target both parent and child for instruction, but the main target is the child. Parents are engaged so that they can encourage the literacy development of their children.
Most family literacy programs in Ontario appear to take an informal, somewhat structured approach to learning, where children and parents learn by doing, with some direct instruction from program administrators.
The authors note the presence of gaps in family literacy program provision in some regions of the province. These gaps relate to coordination and integration with other early learning programs, and in addressing the literacy and essential skills needs of parents/caregivers.
They also point to the need for more research into the connections between adults and their children’s literacy.