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Literacy & Learning in Families and Communities

This manual introduces practitioners to basic concepts and strategies for action research in their communities to identify local themes and develop culturally relevant literacy programs. This Manual is designed for practitioners working in community-based organizations. The specific focus is literacy, but it is relevant for anyone involved in nonformal education, women and development, family and community health, early childhood education, community development, or other community and family-centered projects. It can also be adapted for programs that want to improve communication and understanding between families and organizations such as schools, health clinics or other service institutions. The purpose of the manual is to provide guidance to practitioners who want to develop a literacy program based on local information, interests and realities. The manual promotes a three-pronged Action-Learning Process for program development. The process includes researching the local situation (inquiry), developing reading and writing skills for daily life situations (learning), and organizing family and community groups to participate in the process (organizing). The manual also introduces seven family and community literacy activities and describes how they can be used as tools to implement this three-pronged approach. 1) As inquiry tools the activities help you observe, ask questions and collect information about family and community literacy in a systematic way. 2) As learning tools, the activities can be used to develop reading and writing skills and to raise awareness about literacy and local knowledge. 3) As organizing tools, the activities can help you organize and promote literacy and learning in family-based and community-based settings. The manual is divided into two parts. Section One: The Action Learning Process, explains the three-pronged approach and introduces the strategies for action-learning: inquiry, learning and organizing. It explains the basic components of doing small scale research, developing participatory learning plans and organizing home-based and community-based literacy activities. Section Two: The Action-Learning Activities, describes each of the seven action-learning activities and provides information about their purpose, procedure and applications.
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