Celebrate National Family Literacy Day – All month long

A father talks to his teen about healthy food choices at the grocery store. A grandmother reads with her grandchild while they wait for an appointment. An older child teaches their younger sibling to play a board game. A mother participates in Parent And Child Together (PACT) Time® in her child’s classroom. What do these activities have in common? Families are learning together! In homes, at schools, and across communities, families connect by talking, playing, and engaging with one another. National Family Literacy Day® is a time to recognize families learning together!

A family of four reads together beside the words National Family Literacy Month and the hashtag FamilyLiteracyMonth

For 28 years, National Family Literacy Day has been observed on November 1. The National Center for Families Learning (NCFL) joins our partners in the field to celebrate and bring awareness to the important role families play in their children’s education. Learning does not begin on the first day of preschool or kindergarten—it begins at birth as children interact with people and things in their surroundings. In her book Parent Nation, Dr. Dana Suskind (2022) describes the critical role that families play in building their toddlers’ brains—particularly through serve-and-return interaction. When children begin formal education, families continue to guide them as they grow and develop.

Families, especially parenting adults, should be supported and honored. NCFL recognizes the entire month of November as National Family Literacy Month®! We invite you to join the celebration by planning activities and events that focus on families learning together. Here are four ideas for participating:

  • Engaging families in play is a key way to support learning and development. Share information with families about the value of play. NCFL’s Play Toolkit has resources for families, as well as practitioners, to support young children’s development. As children grow older, play might look different, but they can learn important math and science concepts. NCFL’s Family Engagement activities include great activities such as Hills and Ramps, Paper Airplane Race, and Shadow Play.
  • Encourage families to read together. At your next family engagement event or PACT Time lesson, include a read-aloud. Plan stopping points and ask open-ended questions that families can discuss together. Model that reading together can be interactive and fun! NCFL’s Cultivating Readers series has a booklet with tips for parenting adults as well as a printable bookmark.
  • Start a Dinner Table Project in your community. Begun in Kentucky, these projects focus on building relationships within families by encouraging them to eat dinner together once each week. Share a “Table Talks” newsletter—which includes conversation starters, recipes, and tips—with families. 
  • Plan an outdoor celebration collaboratively with families. Consider available spaces that are easily accessible. Ask parenting adults and community partners to help plan and facilitate activities that connect families with nature. The National Association for the Education of Young Children has these suggestions for exploring outdoors to inspire your planning team.

Families help their children learn and grow every day. Take time during National Family Literacy Month to celebrate with your families. Publicize the work that is being done to support families in your community. Share your events and photos on the social media platform of your choice with the hashtag #FamilyLiteracyMonth.