NCFL teams up with Southern California McDonald’s for family literacy library program

Children display their finger puppets and flashlights at the Bret Harte Library in Long Beach, Calif., in August 2011.

NCFL has once again partnered with the McDonald’s Operators’ Association of Southern California to offer family literacy programs to engage parents and children in learning experiences that have very practical applications in their lives and homes. The two organizations started working together in 2006 with the successful Family Mealtime Literacy Nights.

The partnership turned its focus toward libraries this year as the location for its new program — Family Learning at Your Library — to leverage the learning environment of libraries to help families extend learning gained at the workshop.

Using several elements from the Family Mealtime Literacy Nights, the Family Learning at Your Library workshops offer literacy-building strategies to families with early elementary school and preschool children.

The workshops held in Southern California libraries have proven very popular since they began a few months ago. More than 425 parents and children have attended 11 workshops, and more workshops are on the way. Participating families receive a lunch tote bag, learning activity cards and learning materials that coordinate with a children’s book.

Participants gather at the Family Learning at Your Library workshop at the Bret Harte Library in Long Beach, Calif., in August 2011.

Librarians’ reactions to the programs have also been very positive. They appreciate the sessions and materials, describing them as authentic, engaging and fun. Some libraries have expressed interest in hosting more than one workshop — another testament to the program’s popularity.

“I appreciate all of the effort that went into providing this session. The kids and the parents loved the gift bags,” one librarian said. “I noticed that the items in the bags related to Good Night, Gorilla, the book the kids received – I always like a reminder of stories read… What a nice partnership!”

“I was pleased to host this event. We had a nice turnout and a room full of parents and children!” said another librarian. “Thank you for selecting us and enhancing literacy in our community!”