National Association of Counties
2003 Acts of Caring Award Winners: Libraries
Orange Co.,CA: Families for Literacy/Smart Start
READ/Orange County Public Library
The Families for Literacy/Smart Start Program is a component of READ/Orange County, the adult literacy services of the Orange County Public Library. READ/OC, begun in 1991, provides no-cost, direct one-to-one and small group tutoring in basic reading, writing, and English skills to non-reading residents in the county.
The Families for Literacy component was instituted in January 1997 to address the intergenerational cycle of illiteracy and provide services to adults who have at least one child under the age of five. One benefit of the program is that adults, by increasing their literacy skills, become more informed community members and more capable to assist their children to gain literacy skills. In June 2001, the family literacy program expanded to include Smart Start, a component that provides direct service to children ages 0 – 5 and the skills necessary to ensure success in school.
Twenty-seven volunteers are involved with the program, working with nearly 500 adults and 350 children. The dollar value of the volunteer time is nearly $75,000.
Literacy skills are so tightly woven into every facet of a person’s life—civic, professional and personal. The program’s emphasis on literacy as a family issue, providing both parent and child with an enhanced awareness of the value of reading, assures a long-term, positive impact on the community.
Contact: Marcia Tungate, Literacy Services Coordinator
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