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National Family Literacy Month

Family Literacy Month Features Innovative Online Partnership to Learn ‘OurStory’
Nov 23, 2009 November is National Family Literacy Month, a period when people and organizations throughout the U.S. spend special time focusing on the development, or the expansion, of reading skills among children and adults alike. Thanks to an innovative new online venture, any family with access to a computer can now join in the ongoing nationwide effort to create a more literate America.

The famed Smithsonian Institution and the National Center for Family Literacy (NCFL) have joined forces to bring interactive online access to the museum’s popular “OurStory” program directly into the homes, schools, libraries and community centers. Children and their family members can rally around the goal of reading, both for fun and learning.

“This innovative partnership with an iconic national institution will bring the Smithsonian’s treasures right into the homes of families across the country,” observed the NCFL’s vice president, Emily Kirkpatrick. “We are providing families with free, fun learning experiences that build literacy skills around the backdrop of history.”

Ms. Kirkpatrick refers to a focus on The Star-Spangled Banner and The American Civil Rights Movement, subjects of the first two online sets of OurStory materials. The museum’s program activities are designed to engage a wide range of learning styles. Recommended activities involve reading a book, learning about objects in the Smithsonian’s collections, doing hands-on projects, using technology in the learning process, and reviewing reading lists. Teachers, parents and other family members are provided with helpful tips about how to use the online experience with local field trips to museums, historic places and other related sites.

Judy Gradwohl is the Smithsonian’s associate director. “We are pleased to have forged this new partnership with NCFL, as it allows us to better fulfill our mission and share our resources with extended audiences across the nation,” she said.

“Reading is the foundation of learning for children and adults of any age,” noted Michelle Frappier, Director of the Virginia Parent Information Resource Center. “PEATC and the Virginia PIRC encourage our parents, readers and supporters to promote the availability of this valuable resource.”

The OurStory resources can be found online at www.famlit.org/online-activities ,where additional information about other events and programs commemorating National Family Literacy Month also can be found. The National Center for Family Literacy may be contacted at 325 West Main Street, Suite 300, Lousiville, KY 40202; telephone (502) 584-1133.

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