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Family Literacy – Why a 2 generational approach to increasing literacy levels is critical for success.

 The Manatee Literacy Council works tirelessly to empower adult residents to independence through literacy. One of their impactful initiatives, their Family Literacy Program, has been made possible through the generous support of the Kislak Family Foundation. This program is not just about individual learning; it embraces a two-generational approach, recognizing the critical role families play in the journey towards increased literacy levels.

The Family Literacy Program owes much of its success to a generous grant through the Kislak Family Foundation. The foundation’s commitment to community development and education has made a significant impact on the lives of countless individuals in Manatee County. Their financial support has enabled the Manatee Literacy Council to design and implement a comprehensive program that addresses the unique needs of families striving for literacy.

Family literacy is not merely about teaching individuals to read and write; it is about recognizing and addressing the interconnected challenges faced by families. The two-generational approach embraced by the Manatee Literacy Council acknowledges that the literacy journey is often a shared one within families. By providing resources and support for both adults and their children, the program aims to break the cycle of low literacy levels.

This program, which has been implemented in three local Title 1 elementary schools in Bradenton, helps parents better understand the importance of reading with their children.  It also has provided an opportunity for parents to better understand how to navigate their schools website, allowing them to access important information about their child’s education. Manatee Libraries have also attended class to ensure that each family has a library card and understands how to enjoy time at the library.

This Fall, 2023, Manatee Literacy Council hosted Parenting Matters, another local non-profit that provides a variety of programs to help in parents and guardians better understand their child’s development and behaviors.  At Daughtrey Elementary, Manatee Literacy provided an hour-long class teaching important literacy surrounding information related to child-rearing.  Topics included working with the schools, going to the doctor, and reading with your children.  After the literacy class, parents and their children between 0-5 years old attended a Musical Motion class, encouraging bonding while developing early learning and literacy skills in children.  This PACT time (Parent and Child Together) recognizing the importance of parental involvement in a child’s education, the program facilitates joint learning activities for parents and their children. This not only strengthens family bonds but also creates a supportive learning environment.

 Family literacy is a catalyst for transformative change. As adults improve their literacy skills, they not only open doors to better employment opportunities but also become more engaged in their children’s education. This ripple effect positively influences future generations, creating a cycle of empowerment. A mother’s literacy level is the single greatest deterinant in her child’s academic success. 

The Manatee Literacy Council’s Family Literacy Program, made possible by the Kislak Family Foundation, exemplifies the power of collaboration and community-driven initiatives. By embracing a two-generational approach, the program is not just teaching individuals to read and write; it is building a foundation for stronger families and a more literate community in Manatee County. Together, we are breaking barriers and empowering generations to reach new heights through literacy.