After a five-year project funded by the U.S. Department of Education (DOE) and in collaboration with the University of North Texas (UNT), The Latino Family Literacy Project learned from university-led evaluations and research that the program had a substantial, very effective, and lasting impact on the 150 English-learner families who were part of the initiative.
“Project Success” was a DOE Title III National Professional Development Program launched and implemented in collaboration with UNT’s College of Education. It began in 2018 and concluded in 2023 with remarkable results. In-depth evaluations show that parents became more engaged with teachers, learned strategies to read with their children, and connected with the Project’s bilingual books because the stories are culturally relevant for their families.
“We are pleased with the impressive results our project had on this inspiring program,” said Katherine Del Monte, the director of The Latino Family Literacy Project. “Our collaboration with UNT’s College of Education on this Department of Education-funded program was quite positive. Thirteen elementary schools in the Carrollton Farmers Branch School District with bilingual programs had over 150 Spanish-speaking families participate. Sixty-seven PK-2 teachers received professional development to implement our family literacy project. Over 90 percent of the families reported that the activities were “very effective” in engaging with teachers and their children in biliteracy activities.”
Post-program evaluations found The Latino Family Literacy Project’s sessions cultivated confidence among the families and provided the necessary tools to develop reading habits with their children at home. The program also helped create a collaborative relationship between parents, teachers, and pre-service teachers at UNT and increased an appreciation for culturally relevant biliteracy books and activities.
For the first time ever in The Latino Family Literacy Project’s 23-year history, a home visit study with parents who participated in the program was undertaken. The results demonstrated the effectiveness of its parent engagement training and workshop sessions with parents. Here is what was learned from the home visits with parents: Latino parents do want to be part of school life; Latino families can effectively be engaged using English and Spanish materials; having culturally responsive activities has a major positive and practical effect on ELL families; and the value of selecting materials that align with the cultural heritage of the families is critical.
Here is a summary of Project SUCCESS and The Latino Family Literacy Project at Carrollton-Farmers Branch ISD:
- 13 elementary schools in the Carrollton Farmers Branch School District with bilingual programs participated in The Latino Family Literacy Project activities in 5 years.
- 67 PK-2 teachers received professional development and engaged with Latino families on biliteracy development activities.
- Over 150 families over 5 years participated in the sessions with teachers.
- Over 90% of parents reported in the post-program survey that the activities were “Very Effective” in engaging with teachers and their children in biliteracy activities.
- The consensus from parents was that they were more involved in the community and school and that they learned strategies to read with their children, how to read, and become better readers.
- The families connected with the stories in the books because they represented aspects of their culture.
- The sessions cultivated confidence among the families and provided the necessary tools to develop reading habits with their children at home.
- The program helped create a collaborative relationship between parents, teachers, and pre-service teachers.
- The program helped increase an understanding about how to implement culturally relevant biliteracy development at home.