A child's first educator is the parent or adult who plays a significant role in his life. Family literacy
programs are designed to meet the needs of parents who want to take on this educative role in the best
possible manner. Participation in a family literacy program opens the door to learning and exchanges of
knowledge and experience with practitioners and other parents and helps parents feel prepared and
confident in making literacy practices a priority in their lives and in the lives of their child right from their
birth. With good habits solidly established, parents can continue to support their child all through his
school years. Their child will thus be better prepared to take his place in an ever more complex and
demanding world.

Thanks to information that has become available through communication technologies and international
exchanges, an increasing number of countries are becoming interested in family literacy. More programs
are springing up, and they are designed or adapted to take into account the realities of the local
environment. Canada is no exception, with programs in each of its provinces and territories. In
francophone Ontario, member organizations of the Coalition francophone pour l'alphabetisation et la
formation de base en Ontario have been offering family literacy programs for the last 15years or so.

The Coalition francophone, a non-profit organization incorporated in 1999, offers support services to
providers of adult training services in French who work in the community sector and in the school and
post-secondary education systems in Ontario. The Coalition francophone designs and carries out research,
analysis and training projects to support its 40 member organizations. It also supports member
organizations in the implementation of family literacy programs. Eleven members offer family literacy
programs, whose implementation is supported by the Coalition francophone.

The Coalition francophone has always been interested in family literacy. It considers literacy to be

a means of preventing illiteracy among children and a dynamic way of involving parents
with low reading skills in an educational process. Moreover, the Coalition francophone
recognizes that family literacy programs are an excellent way of preserving and
promoting the French language and francophone culture in a minority setting. Family
literacy can therefore be understood as a social project that generates momentum and
draws the community together (Brunet, 2003)1. [Free translation]

In 2003, the Coalition francophone commissioned a research to evaluate the impact of family literacy
programs. The research was conducted by Sophie LeTouze, coordinator of the Centre for Interdisciplinary
Research on Citizenship and Minorities (CIRCEM)of the University of Ottawa. Three reports have been

The current report is an analysis of this research in the broader context of research on family literacy. It
also sets out recommendations about best practices and future research that can improve family literacy
programs so that they can better meet the specific needs of families living in a francophone minority

1 In 2003. the French term commonly used to denote literacy was alphabetisation. The connotations and use of this term are discussed in greater detail below.

2 The reports are available online: