One size does not fit all: Responsive practices in providing services to families
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Among a wide range of services to the community, libraries have been involved in promoting family literacy practices through a range of activities and initiatives. Family literacy is variously defined as the interrelated practices of parents, children and others in the home and as a particular type of educational program for parents, to enable them to promote the literacy understandings of their children in the context of home experiences (Nutbrown and Hannon, 2003). The intent is to change the subsequent school outcomes for the children. Often family literacy programs attract and engage those parents who already informed about, and skilled in supporting, the literacy development of their children. Other families may be intimidated by or alienated from such programs. Researchers (e.g. in Australia: Makin & Spedding, 2001; Cairney & Munsie, 1995) have highlighted the importance of designing family literacy initiatives that build positive partnerships with parents by being responsive to the characteristics of the families; and acknowledge and build on the positive practices that parents use. In 2003, Logan library implemented an outreach initiative to make links with and promote literacy practices in families who were not engaged with the library. These included families receiving social support, teenage parents and families who had connections within their own ethnic community, but not with the library. This presentation highlights some of the factors, identified in this project that should be considered in devising programs to provide services to diverse families.
Social Change in the 21st Century