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HS Family Literacy Initiatives

The primary goal of Head Start is to promote the development of social competence in the young children it serves. To effectively meet this goal, Head Start has long recognized the importance of supporting parents' efforts to attain family self- sufficiency and to be their child's first and most important teacher. Today, adult illiteracy limits the economic self-sufficiency of many Head Start families; furthermore, an inter generational cycle of illiteracy, low expectations, and frustration threatens the development of Head Start children. Head Start must respond by incorporating a family-centered approach to promoting the literacy development of the families it serves.

Family literacy programs support parents in improving their adult literacy and help foster within each family a love of reading and learning which nurtures the literacy development of children.

Head Start should play a significant role in helping its families break the cycle of intergenerational illiteracy because:

• Literacy development, which begins in early childhood, is a critical aspect of social competence.

• The adult literacy skills of Head Start parents significantly affect the self-sufficiency of their families.

• Local, State, and national attempts to promote family literacy need partners like Head Start to effectively reach low-income families with young children.

The goals of Head Start's Family Literacy Initiative are:

• To enable Head Start parents to develop and use literacy skills which enable them to become more active and effective participants in the community, in the workplace, in their child's education and development, and in their efforts to obtain economic and social self-sufficiency.

• To enhance children's literacy development by helping parents become more effective as their child's "first teachers".

For more information on Head Start Literacy Initiatives in the State of Florida, go to: http://iml.jou.ufl.edu/projects/Spring05/Layton/initiativesfl.html