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The Harvard Family Research Project separated from the Harvard Graduate School of Education to become the Global Family Research Project as of January 1, 2017. It is no longer affiliated with Harvard University.

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FINE Newsletter, Volume VIII, Issue 3
Issue Topic: Family Engagement in Children’s Learning Through Libraries


Public Libraries: A Vital Space for Family Engagement
In this Call to Action, Harvard Family Research Project and the Public Library Association explore what family engagement is, the research behind why families matter for children’s learning, and why libraries matter for family engagement. This Call to Action is based on conversations with librarians and directors across the country, the results of a national survey, and a review of the current research. Taken together, this document shows that there is no better time than the present for libraries to join together with schools, community organizations, and service providers to establish a system of family engagement that extends throughout a child’s life, supports children and families, and optimally prepares children for success in school and life.

How to Grow a Framework: Lessons From California
The California Department of Education, in collaboration with WestEd, created the Family Engagement Framework: A Tool for California School Districts (the Framework) to facilitate school and district efforts implementing systemic family engagement across various federal and state programs and funding streams. How the tool was developed and how it is being used is reported in this policy profile. The Framework provides a research base, a common language, and a set of standards for all districts in implementing family engagement activities, across federal and state programs.

Three Lessons in Developing a Systemic Approach to Family Engagement
How might we ensure that each and every family is empowered to support their student’s learning? In this blog, Allison Rowland describes how the second-largest school district in California worked collaboratively to develop a systemic family engagement framework while putting family voice front and center.

The Road Less Traveled: Engaging Families in Early Math
As program officers at the Heising-Simons Foundation, Holly Kreider and Kimberly Brenneman often take the road less traveled, seeking to support areas of early education that receive little attention and few resources―despite their potential to support children’s school readiness and school success. In this blog, the two describe how the Heising-Simons Foundation is working to build the knowledge base on how families influence children’s early math development over time and raise awareness about the importance of math in the early years.


BUILDing Supportive Communities With Libraries, Museums, and Early Childhood Systems
This toolkit from the BUILD Initiative and the Institute of Museum and Library Services offers resources that can be used to enhance existing partnerships or develop new partnerships among leaders from museums, libraries and early childhood systems. An entire section focuses on how systems can work together to promote parent-child relationships to support children’s learning.

Growing Young Minds: How Museums and Libraries Create Lifelong Learners
From the Institute of Museum and Library Sciences, this report shares influential research to describe how the new learning landscape is transforming the role of libraries in supporting children’s learning. The report offers 10 strategies for museums and libraries to engage families. It also outlines roles all stakeholders—state and federal policymakers, communities, districts, schools, families, funders, and museums and libraries—can adopt to advance museums and libraries as crucial community learning centers.

Action Guide for Re-Envisioning Your Public Library
As a companion to the Rising to the Challenge: Re-Envisioning Public Libraries report, this action guide from the Aspen Institute is composed of a collection of related resources and worksheets to support the interaction of communities and libraries with the principles of the Rising to the Challenge report. Through examining libraries as people, place, and platform, and exploring various stakeholders’ responsibilities in the advancement of the role of libraries in the 21st century, this guide proposes questions for reflection, recommendations, and concrete next-action steps for public libraries across the nation. 

Leadership Brief: Libraries Expanding Summer Opportunities
Summer opportunity gaps are a significant concern for many urban communities. As libraries’ roles in their communities evolve, so do their opportunities to play a part in closing the summer opportunity gap. By transforming summer reading programs into summer learning programs, libraries are able to support students through many academic, social, emotional, and developmental needs. Be sure to read this leadership brief to better understand the emergent role of libraries as leaders in summer learning.

Associations Between Public Library Use and Reading Aloud Among Families With Young Children
Is there an association between use of local public libraries and families’ tendency to read aloud with children? This article in the Journal of Pediatrics shows that in a sample of families with young children there is a positive association between public library use and families’ reading aloud. 


ALA Submits Comments on Family Engagement and Early Learning
In early January 2016, the American Library Association submitted comments to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and the Department of Education in response to their call for remarks on their joint draft policy statement on family engagement and early learning. (Note: The final statement was posted in May 2016.) ALA’s comments call for the inclusion of relevant library research and resources related to early learning in the statement’s principles as well as the explicit inclusion of libraries as a resource for professional development and inservice training opportunities related to family engagement. 

Parenting Matters: Supporting Parents of Children Ages 0‒8
This consensus study from the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine reviews research on parenting practices and identifies effective parenting interventions and strategies. The report also recommends ways agencies and others can support interventions that help more parents learn about effective parenting practices. The study is intended to serve as a road map for the future of parenting and family support policies, practices, and research in the United States.


Bringing Transformative Family Engagement to Scale: Implementation Lessons From Federal i3 Grants
In 2012 the U.S. Department of Education made “parent and family engagement” an absolute priority for its Investing in Innovation (i3) competition. This issue of Voices in Urban Education highlights reflections from the i3 family engagement grantees.  Together the articles show the critical elements of successful, sustainable, and scalable family engagement programs.

Teacher Home Visits: School-Family Partnerships Foster Student Success
In this article from Education Next, hear the story of one young student with behavioral challenges and how a home visit from his second-grade teaching team redirected his academic progress significantly! The article explores the role of family engagement in the 21st century and how a home-visiting initiative can transform parent-teacher dynamics for the benefit of children. 

Amid Changing Mandates, Colorado Schools Work to Get Parents Involved
Quality family engagement is more than attending parent-teacher conferences. This article from Social Justice Solutions describes how in Loveland, Colorado, parents are empowered to engage with the school through personal relationships with teachers and staff and leadership opportunities. Two successful initiatives—the Café Con Leche Spanish-speaking parent café and Padres en Acción parent group—are highly efficient and powerful ways to change the narrative about low-income and non-English-speaking parents’ ability to be highly engaged.

The Fred Rogers Company and the Bezos Family Foundation’s Vroom Help Parents Turn Everyday Moments Into Brain-Building Moments With Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood
How can seemingly normal everyday moments be transformed into incredible learning opportunities? In July 2016, the Bezos Family Foundation’s Vroom and the Fred Rogers Company announced an innovative partnership that will provide parents and caregivers with strategies to build “brain-building moments” into normal interactions with young children. The partnership will enable the Fred Rogers Company and the Bezos Family Foundation to disseminate the messages via videos on PBS’ Daniel Tiger show. The quick clips that will close out the Daniel Tiger show broadcast will feature tips on developing early childhood skills such as communication and creativity. Be sure to check out this summer’s PBS listings to catch the informative videos!

Integrating Technology in Early Literacy: A Snapshot of Community Innovation in Family Engagement
This brief analyzes the impact of early learning and family engagement programs around the country. In conjunction with the release of this brief, the Integrating Technology in Early Literacy (InTEL)  map, available through New America’s Atlas tool,  has been updated to show where innovative programs are located, how the programs are designed, and what “evidence of impact” they are able to share. 


Families Learning Summit 2016
The National Center for Families Learning will host its annual Families Learning Summit this October 17–19, 2016, in Detroit. The event will highlight two-generation literacy and learning solutions, and will include a variety of speakers, live learning experiments, and networking opportunities. Sessions will also focus on anywhere, anytime learning and the power of libraries, schools and communities to promote family learning. To learn more and register, visit:

NCFL Families Learning Smmit

This resource is part of the August 2016 FINE Newsletter. The FINE Newsletter shares the newest and best family engagement research and resources from Harvard Family Research Project and other field leaders. To access the archives of past issues, please visit


© 2016 Presidents and Fellows of Harvard College
Published by Harvard Family Research Project