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Get Set Learn

Publications and Resources


GSLA Get Set Learn Afterschool Guide, February 2012 is a our highly successful family literacy program curriculum. It brings together families to learn and grow. It has three curriculums with articulated outcomes – adult, school age and preschool. This program provides opportunities for each age group to learn independently and to learn intergenerationally. Please download samples from this amazing Guide:
Section 1 – Introduction to the Program and How to Run GSLA;
Section 4 – Essential Skills in the Home, a profile of typical daily tasks and the Essential Skills each requires; and

Full copies of the Get Set Learn Afterschool (GSLA) Guide are available at $95 per copy + shipping and handling; no training provided.
$60 with full day training (additional charge for 6 hour training workshop) – receive GSLA certificate
$80 with online training (additional charge for 2 hour online training workshop) – receive participation certificate

>> Click here to download Section 1
>> Click here to download Section 4
>> Click here to download Section 6B (Topic 10)
>> Click here to download Section 6D (Topic 9)
>> Click here to download Section 6E (Topic 1)
Let's Play Literacy Let's Play Literacy!
Tips for fostering pre and early literacy skills in children, 1997.
1 – 99 copies - $1 per copy plus shipping and handling.
100+ copies - $0.75 per copy plus shipping and handling.
literacy is a family affair Literacy is a Family Affair
A manual for delivering family literacy workshops in the community including coordination and facilitation information, 2003.
Free plus $20 for shipping and handling

case study

Get Set Learn! A Case Study of a Family Literacy Program in Waterloo Region.
This case study details a successful family literacy program; its theoretical basis, the impacts on participants and the learning approaches within its curriculum. The program model is compared to family literacy research and case studies in Canada, the United States and abroad, 2006.
Free plus $10 for shipping and handling
get set learn

Get Set Learn: Everything You Need to Run a Family Literacy Program.
Get Set Learn is a family literacy program that focuses on both parents and their children. GSL is designed to provide a safe, nurturing, learning environment so that families from different backgrounds, with their varying levels of literacy and math skills, are respected and can contribute to the class (prior knowledge). Parents are encouraged to play in literacy and math-rich ways in order to increase their children’s understanding of math and language concepts. This 10-week program recognizes that parents are their child’s first teacher. It has both parent and child together time (PACT) and separate parent and child time. This provides opportunities for parents to learn the strategies and tools to enhance their children’s learning and they are given “guided practice” with their children in order to experience these strategies. There are two files to download – 1) Get Set Learn curriculum package and 2) Parent Book and Child’s Number Book. Both are needed for the program.
Free plus $20 for shipping and handling

Articles and Websites

I like the ABCs of Improved Reading. A is for Access to books, B is for Books that match readers’ ability level and interests, and C is for Comprehension as monitored and guided by an adult, teacher or parent.

This research supports what we do in GSL and GSLA. The research directly links literacy and poverty and how one impacts the other. It also provides a solution by encouraging programs that increase literacy levels of parents that will then increase the potential success of children's literacy level and future educational attainment. >> Read the article

Website from the Ministry of Education and is in many languages. Has great tips and strategies for improving your child’s literacy and math skills.

I-Adult Literacy

Theory Behind Content Based Instruction - Sticht

• This website provides a plethora of family literacy information. This link is to adult literacy statistics. ABC Life Literacy is the organization that spearheads Family Literacy Day in Canada.www.abclifeliteracy.ca/en/adult-literacy-facts

Social returns on investment - Dr. Thomas Sticht explaining the social benefits of adult learning

Exemplary Literacy Materials Online (ELMO) hosted by Literacy BC (www.elmoreviews.ca)
This no cost online database of adult and family literacy resources was launched in 2008 by Literacy British Columbia.  It contains reviews of recent resources, mini reviews of resources that can be contributed by anyone, and reviews completed by literacy practitioners.  A search engine is also available.  This website provides family literacy providers with the most up-to-date and research based information available.

• The National Adult Literacy Database has a huge collection of information in PDF format, newsletters put out by various literacy organizations across the country, links and websites of many different organizations and literacy programs (http://www.nald.ca). This is a non-profit literacy organization that has information on national, provincial and local programs. Opportunities for collaborating and partnering with other programs are made possible by having the information accessible online. There is a search engine available on the website to narrow the wealth of information to your specific needs, family literacy for example. I would definitely recommend this site as a great starting point when researching the topic of family literacy, if it isn’t on this website it will guide you to websites or resources that you are seeking.

New Zealand Literacy Portal is an amazing, comprehensive source rich in information and resources, as well as being extremely easy to navigate (http://www.nzliteracyportal.org.nz/).  You are able to browse by country or by family literacy groups.  There are resources for parents, teachers and information on policies, case studies and research, some which include video and audio clips.  This website was very useful because it was so easy to find a lot of information and the way it was organized appealed to me.

National Literacy Trust is a UK based literacy foundation which provides information for parents and professionals (http://www.literacytrust.org.uk/).  Practical information on international, national and local initiatives is provided so it is easy to see what family literacy programs are available at all levels.  They welcome email queries to users of the website as well.  This website does seem a bit more useful to those in the UK but there are a lot of National Literacy Trust reports and articles on research finding available.

Frontier College is a Canadian national literacy organization (http://www.frontiercollege.ca.english/learn/literacy_organization.html).  This is a very useful website it allows you to find programs located near you, help set up community programs and they offer subscriptions to an E-newsletter.  There is information on volunteering, supporting and advocacy for literacy.  Nationwide literacy events are posted such as the Scrabble Friends and Family Challenge.  This seems like a relatively easy way to begin work on a family literacy program.

• The Australian Government Department of Education and Workplace Relations has a resource called “Literacy Net” (http://www.deewr.gov.au/skills/programs/litandnum/literacy.net/links/pages/international links.aspx).  This is a great page for its links to international literacy programs.  I found the links on this page very useful for expanding my search in various countries.

• The Big6™ is a process model of how people of all ages solve an information problem. From practice and study, we found that successful information problem-solving encompasses six stages with two sub-stages under each:

People go through these Big6 stages—consciously or not—when they seek or apply information to solve a problem or make a decision. It’s not necessary to complete these stages in a linear order, and a given stage doesn’t have to take a lot of time. We have found that in almost all successful problem-solving situations, all stages are addressed. Download Big6 Problem Solving Skills.
Or visit the website at http://big6.com/


II-Assessment and Evaluation

• Thomas, A. & Fisher, B. (1996). Assessment and Evaluation Strategies in Family Literacy Program Development.  Ottawa, ON: Bonanza Press. This book provides family literacy practitioners with concrete suggestions regarding integrating assessment and evaluation activities within their family literacy programs. Embedding evaluation within your family literacy program is an important way to gain and maintain program funding, as well as maintain program quality and needs to be an ongoing consideration of all practitioners.

• Evaluation Tools for Learning in a Group Setting. This is an evaluation tool for adult literacy learners
(http://www.nald.ca/library/learning/groundup/mtlgs/final.pdf) It would be useful if your family literacy program involved evaluating the parents literacy learning through the program. It is a self - assessment tool but can be used in groups. It is very hands on and accessible for lower literate individuals.

III-Digital Literacy

• Income Affects How Kids Use Technology and Access Knowledge:

Essential Conditions for Technology in Learning

IV – Early Literacy and Language Development

Website from the Ministry of Education and is in many languages. Has great tips and strategies for improving your child’s literacy and math skills.

This article explores the statement that although literacy scores in Ontario for children in grades 3 and 6 are rising (EQAO tests), the percentage of children reading for pleasure is dropping. An expert states that “…we have to really recognize that the joy of reading is something we should be trying to foster, we should be measuring.” We should focus on reading for enjoyment as an essential skill.

• The linked article below is about tablet usage helping to increase literacy skills in “at-risk” youth in high school. While the focus of the article is youth, it talks about how tablets (iPad, Galaxy Tab, Xoom, etc) and iPods can impact literacy development and learning, which can be helpful in supporting adults who need to upskill for the new knowledge & technology economy. “Finally, the apps available for the iPad allowed for differentiation of instruction. Students had access to vocabulary-intensive apps, such as WordFlick and Words with Friends, access to tools for visualizing literature, such as Puppet Pals and ToonTastic, tools for story retelling, such as Storyrobe and Strip Design, and tools for authoring content such as Keynote and Pages.” Read the article - Unlocking Literacy with iPad.

• The Early Years Study 3 was released in Toronto and Montreal on November 22. This study, supported by a collaborative of funders including the Lyle S. Hallman Foundation, builds on the earlier work of Fraser Mustard, Margaret McCain and Kerry McQuaig. It recommends a nation-wide public investment in early childhood education, and demonstrates the social and economic value of doing so. The entire study and all of its supporting documentation can be found at http://earlyyearsstudy.ca.

• A website from a school district in British Columbia. It will be of interest to family literacy practitioners who want resources regarding developmental milestones etc. http://kindergarten.sd42.ca/

• The summary report of our National Survey of Early Literacy Programs is now available on the Read to Me! website at http://readtome.ca/research.htm. An annotated bibliography of our key resources and a list of (most) programs that participated in our survey are also posted there. We hope that you'll have the opportunity to take a look, and that these resources will be useful to you. Project READ contributed to the survey A great diversity of approaches to early literacy needs across Canada, and the passion of those conducting the work can be seen in the report. Many programs share common challenges, however, and we hope that the survey findings can serve as a small step towards both understanding and addressing these challenges. - Dalhousie's School of Information Management

• Provides ways to facilitate vocabulary development among young at-risk children

• Cooking with families – Provides recipes and ways for parents to make cooking a literacy rich activity with their children - Family Cooking.pdf

• Kitchener Public Library-Tumble Books and PebbleGo
These two databases (http://www.kpl.org/ebranch/databases/databases_subject.html#children) are
great resources for lower literate,  ELL families or families who have few books at home.  They can be accessed from the KPL website (no card necessary). Tumblebooks is a database of high quality books and an e-reader. It can read the books automatically or parents can read themselves and turn the pages manually. PebbleGo is an interactive non-fiction website with lots of videos, pictures and information for the non-fiction lovers-weather, animals, planets.

• Mem Fox – Mem Fox is an Australian children’s author who writes and teaches about the value of reading aloud to children. Her website, (http://www.memfox.com/welcome.html) has some great information on how to support parents to read aloud to their children such as “Mem’s 10 Read Aloud Commandments”. Her book, Reading Magic: Why Reading Aloud to Our Children Will Change Their Lives Forever is a must read for family literacy practitioners. 

• Nursery Rhymes, Songs and Finger Plays (http://www.alastore.ala.org/detail.aspx?ID=1291) an inexpensive and wonderful collection of nursery rhymes put out by the American Public Library Association. Nursery rhymes help teach phonological awareness or learning about distinct sounds in words. It is one of the early stages of learning to read. Some parents who come to family literacy may not know many rhymes and so it is a good resource.

• Project Gutenberg is an online archive of eBooks that are free to the public. This link takes you to a book called, The Real Mother Goose (http://www.gutenberg.org/files/10607/10607-h/10607-h.htm) and lists many of the original nursery rhymes. This is a good resource for families who are not familiar with nursery rhymes or who do not access a library frequently or own many books.  Nursery rhymes are crucial for phonological awareness and families need to take the time to learn some rhymes if they don’t know any.

• Reading Rockets (http://www.readingrockets.org) is a website dedicated to providing resources to parents, teachers, librarians and other professionals who are assisting a struggling reader. There is a wonderful set of videos and podcasts on a huge array of topics related to literacy. There is also a section on research that is very good. This site is out of the US but is still extremely relevant to the Canadian context. 

• The Hanon Centre (http://www.hanen.org/) which is an international non-profit organization dedicated to supporting children’s language and literacy development. It has some great resources particularly for children who have some speech delays and for regularly developing children as well. There are resources targeted to parents as well as professionals.

• Early Learning for Every Child Today: A Framework for Ontario Early Childhood Settings describes how young children learn and develop, and provides a guide for curriculum in Ontario’s early childhood settings, including child care centres, regulated home child care, nursery schools, kindergarten, Ontario Early Years Centres, family resource programs, parenting centres, readiness centres, family literacy, child development programs in Community Action Program for Children, Healthy Babies Healthy Children and early intervention services. http://www.children.gov.on.ca/htdocs/English/documents/topics/earlychildhood/early_learning_for_every_child_today.pdf

V – Family Literacy

• In Edmonton, Alberta the Centre for Family Literacy provides a range of programs for adults and families (http://www.famlit.ca/).  There is a lot of useful background information into family literacy, many resources for professional to access.  Centre for Family Literacy seems to be instrumental in further the training of professionals and in raising literacy and family literacy awareness. There are separate lists of current family literacy project and programs.  The website is up to date and would be easy to find program or events all over Alberta.  The Centre reaches out to rural areas as well as more urbanized centres.  This website is a wonderful Canadian resource on family literacy.

• Literacy BC has a good section on Family Literacy on their website including best practices for family literacy programs and PDF materials with valuable information on starting a family literacy program (http://www2.literacy.bc.ca/family.htm).  There were also descriptions of programs run by Literacy BC such as the Family Stories project.  At the Word on the Street festival journals were handed out to encourage families to write stories together and the stories could be shared at a later date.  Another program Books for BC babies hands out books to the parents of newborns at the hospital or upon the child’s first visit to the library.

• Maggio, S. (2004).  Early Bird Family Literacy Program Manual:  Phase II – Focusing on the Parent.  Hamilton, ON: Hamilton Literacy Council. For practitioners, this booklet is meant to complement The Early Bird Family Literacy Manual.  The booklet can be downloaded at no cost from www.hamiltonreads.ca (under the “publications” heading). It was recognized during the implementation of this family literacy program that adult literacy levels have a strong impact on family literacy.  Information in this booklet can help family literacy practitioners identify what adult literacy skills are needed and help parents increase their comfort level when participating in literacy activities with their children.  It also encourages practitioners to explore what resources are available in their community regarding adult literacy.

• Simpson, S. (2003).  Early Bird Family Literacy Program Manual. Hamilton, ON:  Hamilton Literacy Council. This program manual can be downloaded at no cost from www.hamiltonreads.ca  (under the “publications” heading). This manual has been designed as a resource for early childhood based programs that wish to include a family literacy component.  It provides an overview of basic family literacy principles, as well as specific strategies and a starting curriculum of family literacy activities over 10 weeks focusing on children birth to 3 years of age.  The focus is on creating positive early learning experiences for parents and their children to promote ongoing literacy development. There is also a research study regarding the effectiveness of this program completed by the author available on the same website.

• Northwest Territories Literacy Council winter family literacy activities resource kit (www.nwt.literacy.ca/resources/famlit/howtokit/winter-activities.pdf. This 29 page resource developed by the Northwest Territories Literacy Council to celebrate 20 years of family literacy in the Northwest Territories.  This resource celebrates the outdoors and provides concrete activity ideas for family literacy practitioners for the outdoors during the winter months.  Having the option of outdoor activities in the winter months may put families at ease and demonstrate that literacy is everywhere.

• NWT Literacy Council has a great website that provides materials in many Aboriginal languages (http://www.NWT.literacy.ca). There are “How to Kits” and literacy activities available to download for parents and teachers, including lots of ideas on running family literacy evenings.  This website also had many great links to other family literacy websites and resources.  I would look to this website for inspiration when planning literacy activities or if I needed to use or direct someone to Aboriginal materials.

• Sanders, M. & Shively, J. (2007). Promising Practices in Family Literacy Programs.  Retrieved May 30, 2011, from www.nald.ca/library/research/ppflp/cover.htm. This 5 page article provides a general summary of quality practices and guidelines for family literacy programs across Canada.  Five key principles, followed by implementation examples are described.  This article gives a brief synopsis of the variety and depth of family literacy work occurring within Canada.

• The Saskatchewan Literacy Network Family Literacy Tool Kit
(www.sk.literacy.ca/pages/famLitToolKit.htm) The Family Literacy Tool Kit on this website is based on the work of Tam Miller and Sheryl Harrow and provides family literacy practitioners with an overview of family literacy principles and program development.  For new family literacy practitioners, the handouts titled, “Starting a Family Literacy Program” and “Checklist for Starting a Family Literacy Program” provided lists of very concrete considerations and strategies to consider when initiating a family literacy program, as well as potentially rating the effectiveness of an existing program.

• Esso Family Math ( http://www.edu.uwo.ca/essofamilymath/index.asp) is a website created by
researchers at the University of Western Ontario’s Faculty of Education. Family Math is a program that brings children and parents together to work on fun math activities. The manual is available to download and there are many other downloadable resources and videos.  It is great to add numeracy to family literacy programs with an aim to break down parental fears of doing math with children, in preparation for school entry. Parents gain confidence and feel they are better able to help their children enjoy and understand math in a positive, fun way. It is also good as it connects the math activities to the Ontario Math Curriculum and helps parents understand the five strands of math. 

• Family Literacy Expertise (http://www.familyliteracyexpertise.org/) is a website that gives a great overview of Family Literacy: definitions, resources, research, tools for evaluation and other links and would be a great resource if you were at the early stages of creating a family literacy program. I like it because it is Ontario-based and there are many useful links to other family literacy and literacy resources

• The United States website for the National Center for Family Literacy was unique in its focus on corporate sponsorship for promoting and funding family literacy (http://www.famlit.org). There are many descriptions of successful family literacy programs being run all over the States. Professional development opportunities focused on family literacy are available through the website as well.  Detailed documents for creating family literacy programs are also available to users.  This website would be a great place to gather information if you were thinking of beginning a family literacy program.

• A fun website for parents and teachers alike is Wonderoplolis which is affiliated with the National Center for Family Literacy (http://www.wonderopolis.org).  Each day there is a picture that is the wonder of the day.  People can put up posts of their thoughts about the wonder.   I really liked this website because of the open ended nature.  If you were running a family literacy group these vivid pictures could be used for endless possibilities, expansion of vocabulary and storytelling to name a couple.  These pictures would be great for families to access at home to carry out discussions, research and stories of their own.  I would recommend this website to everyone!

• The Even Start Family Literacy Program has a website which provides information to parents and different types of professional working with children (http://www.evenstartnetwork.net/). Amazing reproducible resources for early childhood and parent education that could be incorporated into a family literacy program.  There was also a lot of information to help guide the administration of setting up a family literacy program.  


http://www.becomingparents.com – This website has articles about becoming a parent as well as details about upcoming training on parenting



In the Bridges Out of Poverty materials they reference Dr. Reuven Feuerstein. He has an interesting theory on intelligence. He is a “cognitive psychologist, renowned for his theory of intelligence which states “it is not ‘fixed’, but rather modifiable”. This idea in general is that intelligence can be modified through mediated interventions.” He believes everyone can learn any time during life. He contradicts many theories of intelligence as something fixed that can be strictly measured. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Reuven_Feuerstein

VIII-Youth Literacy

• Caring Minds: Youth, Mental Health and Community is a joint York University/University of Victoria knowledge mobilization project intended to promote social innovation informed by the latest scholarly research. It provides middle and secondary school teachers in Ontario and British Columbia with innovative, interdisciplinary teaching units that can be integrated into the classroom. Community-informed curriculum materials, for students in Grades 7 to 12, challenge learners to consider mental health issues from multiple perspectives and to explore themes of difference, diversity and discrimination.

There are four teaching units : Understanding, Experiencing and Equity; Self-Determination and Activism; Housing, Homelessness and Poverty; and Well-being, Health Care and Treatment. There are lessons and resources for each unit. Here is the link - please share this with your LBS agencies - thanks!


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