Leading researchers to speak at 2019 Families Learning Conference

The 2019 Families Learning Conference will continue its tradition of offering a strand of sessions featuring leading researchers in family literacy.

The featured research strand begins Monday, Nov. 4, with Dr. William Muth’s presentation, “’Presencing’ the Field of Family Reentry Research and Practice” (9:45-11:00 a.m.). Dr. Muth is a professor of teaching and learning at Virginia Commonwealth University and a member of the board of directors for Hope House, a non-profit organization connecting families separated due to incarceration through literacy projects. Dr. Muth will present on his latest book, Fathers, Prisons, and Family Reentry: Presencing as a Framework and Method. His work on families expands the discussion beyond incarcerated parents to explore how an entire family ultimately serves an individual’s prison sentence. The presentation will also examine the various criminal justice approaches and programs found across the U.S. and Europe.

Later Monday afternoon, Dr. Tarajean Yazzie-Mintz presents “Native Families and Places of Indigenous Learning and Restorative Practices” (Monday, 3:15 p.m.-4:30 p.m.). Dr. Yazzie-Mintz is Co-Director of the Office of Research and Sponsored Programs as well as Senior Program Officer for early childhood education initiatives at the American Indian College Fund, the largest non-profit dedicated to the higher education of Native Americans. She also serves on the Board of Directors for the National Board for Education Sciences. Dr. Yazzie-Mintz, a member of the Navajo Nation, presents on her work with nine tribal colleges in their development of learning systems for children and their families and the engagement of these families throughout program design and implementation.

Rounding out the research strand, Tabitha Stickel, Dr. Esther Prins, and Dr. Anna Kaiper present “Family Literacy behind Bars: The Read to Your Child Program in a Pennsylvania Prison” (Tuesday 9:45-11:00 a.m.). Ms. Stickel is a Ph.D. candidate in the Lifelong Learning and Adult Education (LLAED) Program and a graduate assistant with the Goodling Institute for Research in Family Literacy at Penn State University, where Dr. Prins and Dr. Kaiper serve as Co-Director and Associate Director, respectively. Their session examines the experiences of 11 incarcerated fathers participating in a family literacy program at a rural state prison. This is the first study of the statewide, video-recorded, book-reading program. The presentation will include discussion on the effects of incarceration on families, the benefits of this and other family literacy programs for incarcerated families in general, and implications for practice.  


This guest blog post was written by Tabitha Stickel, Dr. Esther Prins, and Dr. Anna Kaiper. Their 2019 Families Learning Conference session will outline the impacts of incarceration on families, the benefits of the Read to Your Child family literacy program, and implications for practice.