Family Get-Togethers:
Literacy Through the Arts 

Family Get-Togethers: Literacy Through the Arts a family engagement program offered as a component of the Early Learning Opportunities Act (ELOA) Bringing Education and Support to Teachers, Parents, and Children (BEST) Project.


  • Implementation of the ELOA/BEST workshops took place between June 2006 and June 2007. 
  • Family Get-Togethers was a series of six, two-hour workshops hosted by neighborhood organizations including childcare centers, churches, elementary schools, and public libraries.
  • Families with three- and four-year-old children were provided with opportunities to engage in arts and literacy experiences.
  • Four literacy-oriented art series were offered: Dance and Movement, Drama and Storytelling, Music, and Visual Arts.


  • Increase involvement of low-income and ethnically diverse families in their children’s learning and readiness for school.
  • Improve the reading and school readiness of preschool-age children through arts and literacy experiences.
  • Engage families in conversations about parenting strategies that support learning and school success.
  • Provide resources to support family involvement in their children’s learning.  


Implementation Activities:

  • Adult workshops, conducted by family engagement specialists, included Family Conversations, Family Learning Time, Dinner and Discussion and Adult/Child Practice.
  • Family Literacy Bags, distributed at each workshop, contained two children’s books, learning materials to use with the books, and a set of activity cards designed in accordance with age appropriate State of Florida Literacy Standards.
  • Families were encouraged to use the books and materials at home with their children to increase their reading readiness and preparation for school.
  •  Children participated in Children’s Club, an educationally-oriented childcare program, under the direction of a certified teacher or arts instructor.
  • Age-appropriate curriculum used in Children’s Club was created by professional consultants and was aligned with performance standards for each art form.
  • A highlight of the ELOA/BEST Family Get-Togethers workshop series was the Children’s Club presentation at the end of each series.
  •  Weekly telephone calls were made following the workshops to answer questions and encourage families to use the arts and literacy materials provided at the workshops.

Indicators of Success:

  • Response to At-Home Surveys indicated that participants… 
    • Read the provided books an average of three to eight times each week.
    • Used provided activities between seven and eighteen times each week.
  • Response to a Family Involvement and Learning Survey indicated that participating in the ELOA/BEST Family Get-Togethers: Literacy Through the Arts workshop series… 
    • changed their attitudes about helping their child learn at home,
    • increased their belief in their ability to help their child succeed in school,
    • increased their knowledge of how to help their child learn.
  • Participants recommended increasing the number of workshop sessions from six to eight weeks