Family Storyteller

Family Storyteller is an early literacy program designed to increase the amount and quality of time parents and young children spend Family Storytellertogether in literacy activities. During six workshops, families:

  • receive a free book to take home and read together
  • discuss key parent/child reading techniques
  • watch a video showing parents how to read the book with children
  • practice reading the book
  • learn about activities that enhance the value of the reading
  • receive materials for additional activities to do at home

Parents are taught key skills such as: previewing a book, using expression as they read, pointing to pictures and labeling, reviewing and retelling, having children predict, and linking the book to life.

Children's books featured in each the program include:
  • Goodnight Moon
  • The Very Hungry Caterpillar
  • Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See?
  • Peter's Chair
  • The Wheels On The Bus
  • Have You Seen My Duckling
Parents and Children Learn Together

One of the secrets to the Family Storyteller's success is that parents and children participate in literacy activities together. When parents and children arrive home from the workshops, with a book and materials to do additional learning activities in hand, the children can hardly wait to get started. And parents have learned what to do to help their children. In this way, they will both succeed as they practice newly learned skills and interact as a family.

  • A child's literacy and language skills represent the single best indicator of future school success.
  • Children who have no experience with books struggle from the first day they set foot in school.
  • Children who have good literacy skills are less likely to experience grade retention or school failure, drop out, or exhibit delinquent behavior. When they become adults, they are less likely to be unemployed or underemployed.
  • A child between ages 1 and 6 who shares a book with an adult for 15 minutes a day will have experienced 455 hours of reading before entering school. Foundations of literacy are laid in early childhood.
What We've Learned

Our research has shown that as a result of the program:

  • Children increase their understanding of basic reading concepts.
  • Parents increase their use of key skills to help their children get the most out of reading.
  • Parents and children increase the time they spend reading together.
  • Parents and children are more likely to enjoy reading together.
  • Parents and children do more literacy enrichment activities at home.
  • Parents feel more confident about helping their children learn.

Parents who have limited English skills benefit greatly from this program. The Family Story Teller has also been used effectively with child care professionals, and library volunteers.

Workshops are conducted at libraries, elementary schools, family resource centers, adult literacy programs, Even Start and Head Start programs, Hispanic service programs, child care centers, domestic violence shelters, and migrant programs.

Facilitator Training

Extension and Outreach has trained staff and volunteers to facilitate the Family Storyteller program in 53 Iowa counties.

Family Storyteller Iowa Map

Contact Joy Rouse or Kim Brantner if you are interested in facilitator training.

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