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Head Start

Family Literacy poster

Courtesy of Patsy Pierce

”I never knew that such simple ideas could pack such a powerful punch.”

”I have learned better techniques to help children learn by 
fun ‘playing’ instead of practicing repetition.”

”I think this program is very beneficial. I would never have thought of doing all of these things in this much detail with my child”

-Comments from parents in the ”Getting Ready for Schools Family Fun Nights”

Patsy Pierce

Patsy Pierce, PhD, Assistant Professor, Division of Speech & Hearing Sciences, and Associate Director for Early Childhood Research and Practice, Center for Literacy and Disability Studies

Photo: Robert Ladd

Head Start was founded on the principle that families play a key role in promoting their children’s growth and development. Indeed, Head Start programs are mandated to provide a wide array of services designed to give families the knowledge and skills to provide high-quality care and positive learning opportunities for their children. Further, the 2007 Head Start Act requires that programs provide family literacy services in the following areas:

  • Interactive literacy activities between parents and their children
  • Training for parents regarding how to be the primary teacher for their children and full partners in the education of their children
  • Parent literacy training that leads to economic selfsufficiency and financial literacy
  • Age-appropriate education to prepare children for success in school and life experiences

Patsy Pierce, a trainer for Head Start programs around the country, has been working to develop materials that will make a difference in the lives of children at risk for delays in literacy development. She has found that there is a beauty in the simplicity of the materials that makes parents very receptive to using them with their children. Pierce has also been instrumental in expanding the use of Getting Ready For School materials in several Eastern European countries, including Armenia, Bosnia, Kazakhstan, Moldova, Mongolia, Slovakia, and Tajikistan.

blue table

Courtesy of Patsy Pierce

The 1998 and re-enacted 2007 Head Start Act requires Head Start programs to provide supports for four components of family literacy as pictured in this poster. One father of several children in Head Start said:

”Family literacy is like a table. It must have four strong legs to support families as they gather together to help their children.”