Monday, January 17, 2011

Spreading the Word: Family Literacy Continues to Grow

Karen Watts, TC ‘93

FLI’s elementary workshops continue to be in high demand and we are quickly filling up our winter/spring calendar. We will be presenting several Parent/Family Workshop combinations in Berkeley and Ann Arbor in January and February. We are excited when schools bring us in for both parent and family workshops because they reinforce each other nicely and have a true impact on literacy in students’ homes.

FLI has experienced considerable growth in the last couple of years due to important connections with Bright Futures and EMU’s Writing Center. Bright Futures is an after-school and summer enrichment program run through a partnership between EMU, the Willow Run Public Schools and Wayne-Westland Community Schools, supported by a grant from the Michigan DOE. So far, we have scheduled our four-part Family Writing Workshop in three Bright Futures schools this winter/spring, and requests continue to come in.

We are also continuing our partnership with the University Writing Center at EMU in offering three separate workshops: one for students, one for parents, and one for high school faculty on the transition from high school to college writing. All three versions focus on the similarities and differences in high school and college writing. In addition, the parent version offers some suggestions on how parents can support their students in the transition; the student version offers tips for what teens can do right now to get ready for college writing; and the faculty version helps high school teachers understand approaches to writing instruction that are valued at the college level. Recent workshops have been conducted at Dexter and Ann Arbor Huron High Schools; upcoming ones are scheduled for Ypsilanti High.

Our call for more presenters last fall was answered by several enthusiastic TCs, who will be presenting workshops for us this winter and spring. But with so many requests and inquiries from schools, we find that we are only limited by the availability of presenters. If you are interested in joining us, please contact Karen Watts ( or Kim Pavlock (

Last, but not at all least, we want to congratulate Cathy Fleischer on the publication of her new book, Reading & Writing & Teens: A Parent’s Guide to Adolescent Literacy. This book grew, in part, out of the work Cathy and Kim did in developing the Family Literacy Initiative for EMWP and will make the expertise and insight offered in their workshops available to all parents. It is a rich resource for parents concerned about their teen’s literacy in the age of technology and testing.

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