the Oakland Family Literacy Program, California

The Oakland Family Literacy program provides academic and literacy instruction to parents of students within the Oakland Unified School District, which is comprised of 37,040 students (49% of whom speak a language other than English at home). The goal of the Family Literacy program is to develop and increase the literacy skills of parents in such a way that allows parents to better engage with and support their children’s academic career

More specifically, there are 39 parents enrolled in the ESL Family Literacy class at Fruitvale Elementary School. Some parents have little or no formal education in their home countries and some parents are not literate in the Roman alphabet. Their native languages include Arabic, Spanish, Vietnamese and Bhutanese.

The Fruitvale Elementary Family Literacy program began using myON in November 2013. Reading on myON helps these parents by developing their English fluency in both reading and writing, which empowers them to take a more active role in their child’s education. 

Not only are these parents learning how to read, but they are learning to read in such a way that relates to what is actually happening in their child’s education. The content that Cindi Augsjoost, Adult ESL Teacher at Fruitvale Elementary School, typically uses in class is organized around the family and school. 

With the recent transition to the Common Core State Standards, myON has been a hands-on way for parents to become involved with leveled reading and digital reading with their children that helps increase student engagement. Sue Pon, Adult Education Coordinator for OUSD, notes that the use of myON in the district’s Family Literacy program is certainly helping to bridge the digital divide in Oakland. 

 "The use of myON in the district’s Family Literacy program is certainly helping to bridge the digital divide in Oakland."

Sue Pon, Adult Education Coordinator

“The myON library helps our adult ESL students develop a love of reading and improve their English skills, both in the classroom and at home, both when they come to class regularly and when they are out for a couple of weeks," explained Ms. Augsjoost. "myON will also be an invaluable opportunity for our adult learners to keep reading in English this summer when ESL classes are not in session."    

The successful use of myON in the Oakland Family Literacy program is innovative and exciting. To focus on the pragmatic literacy needs of immigrant parents is a true start to building a community of readers in the Oakland Unified School District.