Changing the Course of Family Literacy

Report Author: 
Carol Clymer, Blaire Willson Toso, Elisabeth Grinder & Ruth Parrish Sauder
Original Date of Publication: 
2017 Jan

Despite the demise of targeted federal funding for family literacy programs in 2011 (known as the Even Start program), states continue to support family literacy programs as a useful strategy for combatting intergenerational poverty. According to this report, there are 11 states and the District of Columbia that provide funding for such programs, either using other federal funding streams that allow family literacy as an optional activity, or state funding sources.  The report provides details about many of these programs and stresses the value of the "four-component model" of family literacy. The authors also point out the flaws in the evaluation study that led to the defunding of Even Start. Finally, the report makes a number of recommendations, including establishing a federal discretionary grant program to fund research related to effective practice in this area and identifying performance measures and outcomes to adequately document the results and benefits of family literacy.


Clymer, C. , Blaire Willson Toso, Elisabeth Grinder & Ruth Parrish Sauder (2017). Changing the Course of Family Literacy. University Park: Goodling Institute for Research in Family Literacy, Penn State University. Available here:

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