1.5 Various definitions of family literacy

Certain organizations working in the literacy field, including the FCAF,the Coalition francophone and the Centre for Family Literacy, have proposed their own definitions of family literacy. It is important to take these definitions into account because the programs and research of these organizations have influenced the development of family literacy programs in French Canada. These definitions are all rooted in the perspective of multiple literacies.

1.5.1 The Fédération canadienne pour l'alphabétisation en français

In 2003, the FCAF and its Réseau d'experts en alphabétisation familiale worked together to determine a common definition of family literacy:

The term family literacy refers to an approach that is directed toward an adult who plays an important role in the life of a child. The approach sets out to develop three forms of literacy: cultural literacy, academic literacy and community literacy. The development of these forms of literacy will help the adult gain a better understanding of his life as a francophone in a minority setting. The adult will also be made more conscious of the importance of small actions that will improve his life and that of his children. Thanks to family literacy, the adult will be better prepared to take on his role as the first teacher of his child. The child is the direct beneficiary of the family literacy approach, since the adult will be in a position both to think critically about his environment and to act on his environment. The adult will improve not only his ability to express himself in French but also his reading, writing and arithmetic skills. In addition, he will be in a position to actively contribute to the development of his community (FCAF, 2004a, p. 34). [Free translation]

1.5.2 The Coalition francophone pour l'alphabétisation et la formation de base en Ontario

The Coalition francophone fully adheres to the definition used by the FCAF. It has however decided to pare it down to a few essential elements for the sake of concision:

... family literacy is an approach that supports the parent or the adult who plays a significant role in the life of the child in his role as primary teacher of the child by contributing to the development of his cultural, academic and community literacies (Letouze,2005,p. 2). [Free translation]

1.5.3 TheCentre for Family Literacy

According to the Alberta-based Centre for Family Literacy, family literacy is not limited to learning to read and write. Rather, it facilitates the reinforcement of the bonds between parents and children and the involvement of parents in the education of their child. It results both in families that are strong and fulfilled on all levels and in healthy communities.