Learning Unit 3 – Sample

Getting Started in Aboriginal Family & Community Literacy

Part 2: Learning into Practice

Planning, Designing, and Implementing Your Aboriginal Family Literacy Initiative

In Part 2 of this learning unit, five activities, as worksheets and readings, will help you apply some of the concepts from the PowerPoint presentations. The templates for the worksheets can be found in the Appendix section at the end of the unit. You may copy them.

Activity #1 Mapping Community Resources and Family Literacy Needs.

The purpose of the activity is to help you identify the needs/interests of Aboriginal family and community literacy initiatives, and at the same time identify community resources you have access to that may support family literacy initiatives.

Mapping Family Literacy Needs/Interests + Community ResourcesWhat are the literacy needs and goals identified by the planning team?





What are the literacy needs and interests of families in your community (e.g., family nights, cultural literacy events, language learning)?





What resources are available in your community to support a family literacy initiative (e.g., language speakers, Elders, Friendship centre, library, storytelling box)?





Activity #2

Read the four pages inserted in this section: Addressing Literacy Barriers and Exploring Literacy Needs in Your Program. This practical reading draws your attention to the kinds of challenges that may hinder participation in a literacy initiative. Examples of barriers to literacy include parents’/participants’ low literacy skills, low self-esteem due to learning difficulties, and hesitant or cautiousness about educational programs—for themselves or for other family members.

The key ideas from the reading provide strategies to address literacy barriers:

  • Be sensitive to literacy issues in all services and initiatives you provide.
  • Avoid using jargon when explaining/discussing ideas with community members.
  • Use clear, accessible language that is easy to read in printed materials (e.g., pamphlets, posters, registration forms).
  • Use video and audiotapes to record literacy initiatives so that participants have access to review, and practice, at their convenience.
  • Build relationships with participants, and community members.
  • Be open to developing collaborative efforts with literacy organizations in the community, as this effort may lead to resource sharing and reducing barriers.


Activity #3 Parent Handout: Family Literacy Interest Inventory

The next step is to think about how to connect with families and parents. One approach to gathering their feedback and finding out what they want in a family literacy initiative is to conduct an interest inventory.

You may use the example of an inventory below. It is also available in the Appendix at the end of the unit and can be used for copying purposes. Ask parents to complete the inventory and return it to you—the information collected from parents, community members, and others is extremely valuable to your planning.


Family Literacy Interest Inventory
For my children, I am interested in [check boxes of topics that interest you]:

☐ Learning about how I can help my children get ready to learn to read.

☐ How to share and talk about books with my children.

☐ How do I use our culture to help my children learn to read and write?

☐ How to support my children to learn their first language.

☐ How to help my children with reading and writing when they start school.

☐ What can I expect from my child’s teacher and school?


For myself, I am interested in: [check boxes of topics that interest you]

☐ Finishing high school or college courses

☐ Reading and writing with my children.

☐ Learning more about computers.

☐ Classes for writing about family stories, family history.

☐ Joining or starting a book club in my community.

☐ Learn storytelling with Elders and community members.

☐ Other. _______________________________________________________________


For my family, it might be difficult for myself or my child to participate because:

☐ Reading and writing is sometimes a challenge for me.

☐ Not sure how I can support my child in learning to read and write.

☐ My family does not have access to books and practice materials for my child.

☐ It is difficult for me and my family to attend programs at the Head Start site.


Activity #4 Your Family Literacy Initiative: Goals and Objectives

The purpose of this activity is to use the information you have gathered and begin to create a vision for a project for your Head Start site. The template below is also available in the Appendix section of the learning unit.

Aboriginal Family Literacy Initiative: Goal Statement & ObjectivesBegin by writing a goal statement. A goal statement:

  • Is usually written in one sentence.
  • Identifies your purpose.
  • States what you hope to achieve in the family literacy initiative.

Use the space below to work on a goal statement for your literacy initiative. An example of a goal statement is: “To enhance cultural language through a storytelling program for parents and young children.”

Goal Statement:



The next step is to write objectives to support your goal. Objectives serve to:

  • Describe how you will reach your goal.
  • What actions steps are needed to guide your work plan.
  • Visualize your plan into smaller parts.

Think about 2 or 3 objectives for your literacy initiative. An example of an objective that supports the previous example of a goal statement might be: “Invite Elders to a workshop on oral storytelling in traditional language.”





Activity #5 Evaluating your Aboriginal Head Start Family and Community Literacy Initiative.

PowerPoint 3 reviews several aspects of evaluating a family literacy initiative. As a reminder, evaluation is important to include as part of the planning phase of your literacy initiative.

Evaluation provides all kinds of information:

  • A process for tracking progress and results—how things are going and what we need to do next.
  • Gives community members, parents, and participants a way to talk about what they thought about the literacy initiative.
  • Provides a way for staff to share information about the family literacy initiative that influences future plans.
  • Gives feedback as to when changes need to be made and how to learn from experiences.


Before you begin to design evaluation strategies for your literacy initiative, consider questions that may guide your evaluation:

  • What kinds of information do you want to learn from your evaluation?
  • How will you gather and share the findings of your evaluation?
  • What kind of evaluation would help you determine if your goals and objectives are met (e.g., interview with parents, survey, questionnaire, and/or observation)?
  • Identify the indicators (which means the evidence of progress; e.g., increase in participation and attendance in your literacy initiative), and how you will share your findings.


The website for NWT Literacy Council offers a very good resource on evaluation: http://www.nwt.literacy.ca/resources/adultlit/eval_kit/evaluate.pdfThe handbook titled Evaluation or How Are We Doing So Far? provides excellent ideas for different formats you may use when designing your evaluation not covered in the PowerPoint. As a starting point, some examples of different formats of evaluation follow below. Notice the kinds of information they provide.


Examples of Evaluation Formats for an Aboriginal Family/Community Literacy Initiative – Parent and Child Storytelling

A. Example of evaluation format: for Staff and FacilitatorsFormative evaluation – takes place during the family literacy initiative/project

  • Are the activities running as we planned them?
  • Do the activities meet the needs of our participants?
  • If needed, how should the activities be changed or modified to meet the needs of the community?
  • What have we learned so far about implementing our family literacy initiative?


Summative evaluation – takes place at the end of the family literacy initiative/project

  • How did our participants demonstrate changes in skills, learning behaviors, and/or attitudes to knowledge of family literacy through the initiative/project?
  • What would have made our literacy initiative more effective?
  • What lessons have we learned for the next time?
  • What should we continue with? Develop further?


B. Example of evaluation format: Checklist for parent/participantThe three activities I found most useful to my child and me were (mark with an X):

  • Learning how to read stories aloud
  • Learning to tell stories from community elders
  • Hands on activities – art or craft
  • Learning Aboriginal songs
  • Talking with other parents
  • Taking part in dancing or drumming


C. Example of evaluation format: Conversation/interview with parent

  1. What did you think about the literacy project and the activities?
  2. What new skills have you learned that you didn’t know before?
  3. How will you use new skills and ideas at home with your child?
  4. How has your attitude about literacy learning changed over time?
  5. What changes would you make to the project?
  6. What suggestions do you have to improve the project? For facilitators?


D. Example of evaluation format: Report/conversation/interview with community

  1. What have you heard about the literacy initiative in the community?
  2. Do you know anyone in the community who participated in the program?
  3. How do you think the program benefited families in the community?
  4. How do you think the program benefited the larger community?