Family literacy programs in North America and the United Kingdom have enjoyed widespread public and political support. Thousands of initiatives following a variety of models currently operate under the spectrum of family literacy programs. In this paper, the influence of learning theories, the research on children's early literacy development, and the sociopolitical context with gave rise to the intervention movement, will be reviewed with respect to their impact on current models of family literacy programs. The research on program evaluation is also considered, and is related to current practice and future directions in family literacy programming.
The goal of this paper was to examine promising effects of a bilingual family literacy program: to track the changes of families’ literacy activities through a bilingual family literacy intervention, and to examine the children literacy gains in both Chinese and English across socioeconomic sub-groups. The intervention was an eight-week, two hours per week, literacy program in three Chinese communities in Toronto. Parents, with their children, participated in the program. The extremely high attendance rate provided evidence that families enjoyed the family literacy intervention and felt that the sessions were worthwhile. For their families’ literacy activities, the three sites followed the same trend: reaching the peak of activity at week four, slightly dropping down at weeks five and six, and then increasing to a second peak at week seven or week eight. Results also showed that across the three groups, children of mothers with lower education levels made fewer gains in their English expressive vocabularies and their Chinese expressive vocabularies, than children whose mothers had a higher level of education.