The Belmar Family Literacy Center was started in 2000 and serves over 100 families per year.
The goal of Family Literacy is to build the literacy skills of multiple generations while promoting long term family support for education, thereby breaking the cycle of low literacy and under-education.
Family Literacy is a comprehensive program consisting of 4 components that are implemented in a highly coordinated program. The philosophy of the program is that “Parents are the child’s first and most important teachers”. When parents learn English, life skills and parenting skills they are more likely to have a positive effect on the educational success of their children.
The four components of our family literacy program are:
1) English as a Second Language classes for adults: Adults spend 2 1/4 hours 4 days a week in intensive high quality English classes where they learn to speak, listen, read and write English as they participate in a life skills curriculum. The life skills curriculum includes basic useful everyday skills such as nutrition, health, money topics, community involvement and jobs. Volunteers comprise an integral component of the classroom, giving students the opportunity to participate and practice in small group settings. Students also gain a strong sense of community within the program and offer each other excellent peer support.
2) Parent Time: Family themes run throughout instruction at the center, and at least one hour weekly is dedicated to relevant topics on parenting, such as reading with children, preparing for parent-teacher conferences, and how to use the library. This year we have become involved in the “Motheread/Fatheread” program sponsored by Colorado Humanities. Motheread is a nationally recognized program where children’s books are used by adults both to learn the importance of reading aloud to their children and to learn specific strategies to build their own literacy skills and those of their children.
3) Children’s Program: While parents are in their classes children participate in a quality ECE classroom with experienced teachers. The teachers work closely with the children to build their literacy and social skills. The children learn communication and cooperation, to explore letters and numbers and their relationship to literacy, and to become familiar with active reading. They develop the competencies they will need to succeed in kindergarten.
4) PACT (Parent and Children Together): Three times a week parents join their children for a half hour in the children’s room. During the first fifteen minutes they participate in a child directed activity, focusing completely on what their child is doing, talking and asking questions. During the second fifteen minutes one of the teachers reads a book modeling active reading and then families participate in circle time learning active songs and fingerplays they can use at home.
For more information see the National Center for Family Literacy website: