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Empowering Parents

A Program That Increases Parents’
Knowledge and Confidence

This far-reaching program increases parents’ knowledge and confidence across these key areas:


  • Reading with children

  • Health literacy

  • Interacting with schools

  • Accessing community resources



The Empowering Parents Program provides a way for parents to receive literacy education via a program held at local elementary schools. Participating parents receive a children’s book every lesson to take home and share with their children.

For more information, please contact Fiona VanGheem,

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Golden Pattern
Empowering Parent Group visits Literacy

Program Outline

The program has four modules, each made up of six 1-hour lessons:

  1. Reading Together!
    Built around children’s books, the curriculum provides instruction for parents to read effectively with their children.

  2. HEAL
    Adapted from LFL’s HEAL Program, the lessons teach health literacy skills and include advice relating to children’s health.

  3. School Success
    The curriculum was created around the school activities that are most challenging for parents with limited English or literacy skills: completing forms, communicating with teachers, and understanding report cards.

  4. Community Help
    The lessons focus on communication and accessing community resources.




A mother’s education level is the greatest determinant of her children’s future academic success, outweighing other factors such as neighborhood and family income.

Children whose parents have low literacy levels have a 72% chance of being at the lowest reading levels (compared to 25% of children in the lowest reading level overall). 


Host a Class!

Make a difference by hosting an Empowering Parents Class. For information, contact Fiona Van Gheem,, (757) 221-3325

How Has This Program Changed Lives?

Before Sandy came to this class, she did not make reading to her child a priority. She said it is now part of their daily routine.

Yunhee was too shy to contribute to the class, but by the fourth lesson she was responding to the camaraderie that had developed and gained the confidence to write, read and speak in class. Enjoying children’s books together is a comfortable way for even the lowest level of English speaker to participate!

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After attending the second class at Literacy for Life, Monde took home the book Leo the Late Bloomer by Richard Kraus. Her daughter enjoyed the book so much that she took it to school the next day for “show and tell.”  According to Monde, her daughter proudly announced to her class, “My mom is going to school to learn how to read to me. This is the book we read last night and now I am going to read it to you.”

“This class is amazing! We get to learn the vocabulary and the intonation to use when we read to our children,” Christina said.

The classes have helped Maria to understand the medical language and understand the differences between the doctor's visit, urgent care, and the emergency room.


“I love these classes," said Elsa, "and I will continue to sign up for as many as I can. My children love receiving the new book every Tuesday.”

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