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The Centre for Family Literacy began as Prospects Literacy Association, in February 1980, when it was established as the first volunteer tutor program in Alberta. It had the primary goal of matching tutors with adults who needed help to develop reading, writing and math skills. In addition to one-on-one tutoring, adults were also able to participate in small group reading and writing workshops. These adult-oriented programs were the main focus of Prospects’ work for the first dozen years. In addition, Prospects supported the development of training for literacy practitioners and helped to set up a provincial professional development organization, the Literacy Coordinators of Alberta, in 1987.

Prospects piloted its first family literacy program in Edmonton in 1993. Within five years it had begun to deliver a wide range of family literacy programs that helped parents support their children's literacy development, while also assisting parents with their own literacy skills. The organization served more than 2,500 families through hundreds of programs during these seminal years. It also developed strong partnerships for program delivery with local organizations such as health centres, family resource centres, libraries and schools.

This growth, along with significant community interest, led to the idea of developing a centre that would focus on literacy development in the family context.

In 1998, in partnership with Success by 6®, University of Alberta, United Way of the Alberta Capital Region and Alberta Learning, Prospects was funded by the National Literacy Secretariat (NLS),Human Resources Development Canada, to develop a provincial Centre for Family Literacy. Following a cross-sectoral needs assessment and extensive consultation with the literacy community, it was determined that Prospects would dissolve as an organization, and the new Centre for Family Literacy would assume all of the programs and work of Prospects. As well, on the recommendation of the NLS, the Centre would take on a new provincial mandate for provision of family literacy training, information, promotion, resources and research.

Effective January 1, 2001, Prospects Literacy Association transferred all of its assets, liabilities, staff and programs to the Centre for Family Literacy Society of Alberta now operating as the Centre for Family Literacy.

The Centre for Family Literacy Today

The Centre for Family Literacy believes that literacy skills develop in families first. Our focus is to assist families in their attempts to improve their literacy skills by:

  • Developing and delivering family and adult literacy programs in the Capital region;
  • Providing training to family literacy professionals in Alberta and across the country;
  • Serving as an information and program resource to family literacy professionals in Alberta;
  • Raising awareness about the importance of literacy and its impact on individuals, families and communities;
  • Acting as a catalyst for inter-agency support for families;
  • Serving as the location for intensive and long term research on the effectiveness of family literacy programs as an educational approach;
  • Being a centre for innovation in which new ideas about learning and education can be piloted and implemented.

In continuing partnerships with many other organizations, the Centre provides programs for thousands of adults and children each year. We also provide professional development and training for hundreds of literacy practitioners through an annual Training Institute in May, and, in collaboration with the Community Learning Network and Literacy Alberta, a Literacy and Learning Symposium in October. Also, through the Family Literacy Regional Network we offer training to family literacy workers close to where they live and work.

In addition the Centre has developed Foundations in Family Literacy in collaboration with practitioners, academics and other organizations from across the country. This seminal literacy training now provides the content for a family literacy certificate program at the post-secondary institution level.

Many dedicated and talented staff members, volunteers and contributors are responsible for the growth and excellence of the Centre’s activities and reputation over the years. Of special note, Maureen Sanders, Executive Director from 1991 to 2008, led the organization to embrace family literacy and move the field forward both in Alberta and across the country. As well, Dr Ruth Hayden, Professor Emeritus, University of Alberta, was a key collaborator, working to develop and deliver many of the Centre’s trainings and programs, and evaluate them. Others too numerous to mention have been part of the Centre’s successes to date.

11642 142 St NW  Edmonton AB  T5M 1V4
780.421.7323 | Fax 780.421.7324