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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 VI, Issue 4
Issue Topic: Around the Clock: The Power of Anytime Learning

Family Involvement News


Informing Family Engagement Policy
Check out our updated family engagement webpage on policy briefs and research-based frameworks! Our newest brief, Racing to the Top: Maryland’s Promising Practices in Family Engagement, explores Maryland’s efforts to integrate its new definition of family engagement into statewide policy and infrastructure.


Kindergartners’ Skills at School Entry: An Analysis of the ECLS-K
Kindergarten is an important time for young children to develop the cognitive, social, and emotional tools needed for early academic success. Although many programs work hard to end the gaps in school readiness of potential kindergartners, 44 percent of students begin school with risk factors stemming from their home environment, according to this report. Using data from the Early Childhood Longitudinal Study, Kindergarten Class of 2010-11, researchers from Mathematica Policy Research found that a child affected by all four common household risk factors were almost a year behind peers with no math or reading risk factors. These risk factors include single-parent households, mothers with less than a high school education, households with incomes below the federal poverty line, and non-English-speaking households. The national study, which follows 18,000 kindergartners from their first year in school to fifth grade, showed that increased risk factors contributed to lower scores on reading, math, working memory, and cognitive flexibility. Mathematica suggests giving more support to children before they begin kindergarten, which could lessen the gaps that create increasing difficulties throughout their education.


Helping Parents, Helping Children: Two-Generation Mechanisms
Research conducted by the Future of Children indicates that “two-generation” programs should be implemented to help parents influence children’s development through six interconnected mechanisms or pathways: stress, education, health, income, employment, and assets. Understanding how these work will ultimately aid educators, practitioners, and others as they help families develop assets, find employment opportunities and income supplements, manage stress, and improve their health and education level. Researchers also noticed that the most promising programs create strong ties between student and adult programs, and ensure that parents and students receive equally engaging instruction that incorporates education and workforce advancements.


Take Five for Family Engagement: Tips From Every Child Ready to Read (ECRR)
According to this article, six skills are vital to a child’s literacy development. Families and caregivers can practice these skills with young learners in five particular ways, through talking, singing, reading, writing, and playing. This resource provides information about each of these methods and ways that they contribute to early literacy development. Take advantage of the links to curated lists of apps that can be used by families to promote skills in each area.

Family Involvement Research Brief
Bridging the divide between a child’s school and home life can be especially difficult when family members have anxieties based on their own experiences in school or when they lack a thorough understanding of the role that they play in the school system. Twenty-first Century Community Learning Centers (21st CCLC) programs play an instrumental role in encouraging family engagement for these caregivers, which leads to improved student performance, lower dropout rates, increased student sense of personal competence, and beliefs in the importance of education. This research brief, funded by the U.S. Department of Education, provides 21st CCLC programs with essential tools to engage families of all backgrounds through establishing a culturally sensitive and welcoming atmosphere.


Five Things to Know About Tots and Technology
This article presents five ways that parents and teachers can help children gain from the benefits of technology and refrain from the health problems that overuse might initiate. Technology can be an educational resource when used effectively, and with more than 75,000 education apps just for the iPad, the possibilities are endless.

Introducing ‘Seeding Reading’
More than 2/3 of fourth graders (80 percent among disadvantaged students) read below their grade level, according to this report, and researchers are growing increasingly concerned. Indeed, reports show that young people’s reading proficiency and reading preparedness are lagging due to their waning desire to read during the teenage years and the extent to which they are constantly surrounded by digital content. Seeding Reading: Investing in Children’s Literacy in a Digital Age is a new series of articles and analysis presented by New America’s Education Policy Program and the Joan Ganz Cooney Center at Sesame Workshop that will focus on the early years of child’s literacy development and explore whether technology might be utilized to improve reading opportunities. The project will explore the effectiveness of new reading technology used by early education and parenting initiatives.


This resource is part of the September 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