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Sep 26, 2018 |
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Clinton Hill library, located in New York, was one of three libraries across the country to be awarded a grant to be a Camp Wonderopolis site. Brian Muldoon, Children's Librarian, shared the following about their program. Being a Wonderopolis Campsite has allowed Clinton Hill Library to have a particularly robust summer of family programming. Over the past two months, we ran a series of camp programs that provided food for participating families, brought in a string of guest presenters to run workshops, and paired each guest with a music-themed Maker project. When choosing our guest presenters, we wanted to make sure to bring in dynamic people from a variety of backgrounds who could engage a wide range of ages and would offer families a unique experience. We were especially keen on finding local artists and educators who would have something new to offer parents, whether that meant a new approach to creative expression or ideas on how to discuss complicated topics with kids. It was important to us to make sure our families were learning together. clinton hill post 2 photos Our first guest was author/illustrator and out-of-this-world artist Charles George Esperanza. After reading from his picture book Red, Yellow, Blue (and a Dash of White, Too!), Charles shared a bit about how he approaches making his art and led the kids in a color mixing and drumming activity. We finished out with the families creating illustrations of their own and our Maker project, Water-Bottle Membranophone, a crazy saxophone-like instrument made from recycled materials. A few of the kids hung around afterward and had an impromptu jam session with their projects and Charles’ drum. The next session brought in the outstanding finical literacy organization Pockets Change, who present lessons on personal finance with a hip-hop twist. They got the group grooving and thinking hard about the way they approach money and how to make their dreams a reality. This went over especially well with the parents and garnered a lot of thoughtful questions from the kids. After the presentation, we made guitars out of bottles and strings that can have their pitch adjusted by twisting the cap. It proved to be an excellent lesson on how the level of tension on a string affects the sound it makes. For the final session, we got our families up and moving with a workshop from Cumbe, a local center for African and diaspora dance. The instructor had everyone from infants up to adults getting down to West African rhythms. He carefully went through each step of a dance from Mali, explaining its cultural significance along the way, and then had two teams compete to see who could perform with the most enthusiasm. Our families were wiped but happy by the end. The group then transitioned to making little thumb pianos out of Altoids tins, bobby pins, and other common materials. This project proved a little challenging for some of our younger campers but that seemed to be an excellent opportunity for parents to engage their child in some joint problem-solving. We finish out our Wonderopolis experience, by raffling off a hand-carved drum that came all the way from Senegal. The family that won was thrilled as were the other families that took part! This whole series of programs has been a great opportunity for the library and our families. The response was overwhelmingly positive and the programs were very successful at bringing in families that are both new to the neighborhood and longtime residents. It was really great to witness new friendships being made and bonds being forged as everyone ate, experimented, and had fun together.  

Interested in bringing Camp Wonderopolis to your program? Camp Wonderopolis online learning content is free year-round for individuals, families, classrooms, and programs. Visit to explore five unique editions of Camp Wonderopolis, each loaded with 42 lessons, six Maker activities, book lists, and more. To enhance your program, NCFL offers Campsite Kits available for purchase. Receive support and guidance to integrate Camp Wonderopolis into your programming when you purchase the Program Kit at


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NCFL Partners

Toyota Family Learning Program

Toyota, one of the nation's most successful corporations, began a partnership with NCFL in 1991. In addition to a commitment of more than $35 million, Toyota has also contributed a wealth of in-kind support — including advertising, planning and management expertise — to form one of the most progressive corporate/nonprofit partnerships in the nation.

Three major programs have been developed through the Toyota partnership based on the family literacy model of parents and children learning together. These models have influenced federal and state legislation, leveraged local dollars to support family literacy and led to successful programs being replicated across the country.

Read More about Toyota and NCFL

Dollar General Literacy Foundation

The Dollar General Literacy Foundation began partnering with NCFL in 2006. A signature effort of this partnership is the National Literacy Directory, a resource that launched in 2010 and strives to reach the 35.7 million adults ages 18-64 who do not have a high school diploma by guiding them to better-paying, more stable jobs.

The National Literacy Directory contains over 10,000 educational agencies located across the United States and has a dedicated toll-free number to help support those wanting to pursue educational opportunities in their communities.

Dollar General also provides support for development of NCFL’s innovative family learning resources centered on financial literacy and Parent and Child Together (PACT) Time®.

Go to Dollar General Literacy Foundation's website

PNC Grow Up Great

PNC Grow Up Great believes deeply in the power of high-quality early childhood education and provides innovative opportunities that assist families, educators and community organizations to enhance children's learning and development.

PNC Grow Up Great has partnered with NCFL since 1994 to advance early literacy and learning resources for vulnerable families. Current efforts supported by PNC include a collaborative initiative in two at-risk Detroit communities that engages families to support vocabulary development for children under age 5.

NCFL's work is also featured on the PNC Grow Up Great Lesson Center website. The Lesson Center includes over 100 free, high-quality preschool lesson plans and research-based instructional techniques and strategies. All lesson plans contain Home/School Connections printouts, in English and Spanish, to help families extend and reinforce the learning at home.

PNC Grow Up Great

W.K. Kellogg Foundation

NCFL has partnered with the W.K. Kellogg Foundation since January 2016. The Foundation is currently supporting a dynamic two-generation family engagement initiative that expands NCFL's Family Learning model into select Head Start programs nationwide. NCFL's model presents an innovative way to support Head Start programs in meeting outcomes aligned with the Parent, Family, and Community Engagement Framework.

Visit the Foundation website

Better World Books

Better World Books selected NCFL as its domestic literacy partner in 2005 and has raised more than $1 million to support NCFL’s work and donated more than $15 million to support literacy and education efforts worldwide. Better World Books is a triple-bottom-line online bookstore, working equally for people, planet and profit. Each book purchased powers literacy across the world.

Better World Books’ support of NCFL has provided books and workshops to families after Hurricane Katrina, donated large book donations to literacy programs and families nationwide and fueled innovative family literacy and learning programs and resources in libraries, schools and community-based organizations. In addition to their work for literacy and education, Better World Books diverts books from landfills and offers carbon-balanced shipping.

Better World Books

Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation

In 2013, NCFL began a partnership with the Gates Foundation to ensure that our network of students, teachers, and families thrive among recent shifts in standards-based education. NCFL will leverage the unique strengths of our award-winning Wonderopolis® platform to build upon the growing teacher network that uses the resource for core daily instruction and as a basis for professional growth.

Foundation Website

Goodling Institute

NCFL has partnered with the Goodling Institute for Research and Family Literacy at Penn State University since 2001, working collaboratively to further research, professional development, and policy efforts for family literacy and intergenerational learning.

The work of this partnership includes, but is not limited to, a strong research strand at NCFL's national annual convening, the Families Learning Summit; advocacy for family literacy and learning to further support for and inclusion of family-focused education in new and ongoing legislation; and dissemination of the latest research, resources, information, and professional development opportunities for literacy and learning practitioners and advocates, including the Certificate in Family Literacy provided by the Goodling Institute.

Goodling Institute for Research and Family Literacy at Penn State University