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Family Literacy Certificate

Family Literacy is VITAL To a Child's Success in Life!

Family Literacy Certificate Scholarships Available!

Literacy is critical to obtaining success in life, and the path to literacy must start during a child's early learning and developmental years.  Through Family Literacy, families can be guided to enhance children's language and literacy development, become knowledgeable about how support and partner with schools to be their child's first teacher, and also to become successful adult learners.

The Family Literacy Certificate* is intended to provide students with an opportunity to enhance their knowledge, skills, and credentials in the discipline of family literacy, with a focus on effective program planning and implementation and research-based practice. The 12-credit Post-baccalaureate Certificate in Family Literacy integrates research findings and best practice identified through research efforts.

The certificate is offered via distance learning through the Penn State World Campus

The courses are intended for early childhood educators; elementary and middle school teachers; counselors; parents of home school children; family literacy teachers, staff and administrators; family service professionals; reading specialists; librarians; and adult educators. 


Credits earned through the Certificate Program are applicable toward a family-literacy-focused Penn State's Master's Degree in Adult Education.  Penn State is an Act 48-approved provider for Pennsylvania educators, so the courses for the Post-baccalaureate in family literacy may count toward professional development hours.

For additional information, please contact Beth Grinder McLean at or by phone at (717) 432-3498 or link to
To learn more about applying for the Certificate, contact World Campus admissions at 800-252-3592.

Admission Requirements

1. Graduate School Admission:

      • An applicant must have received, from an accredited institution, a baccalaureate degree substantially equivalent to one awarded by Penn State.
      • The Graduate School reviews the application for academic admissibility and the certificate program determines acceptance into its program.  An admission letter from the Graduate School does not guarantee admission into a certificate program.

2.  To enroll in 400-level courses you must have completed 60 credits of undergraduate work or the equivalent.

Courses Included in the Certificateyoung boy writes with a pencil while woman observes

ADTED 456: Introduction to Family Literacy (3 credits).  This course introduces family literacy concepts, models, and components supporting families, including adult, child, and parent education; interactive literacy activities, and case management. The course also attends to issues such as racial/ethnic, cultural, and linguistic diversity among families; program improvement; and professional development.  This course is offered during the fall semester.

ADTED 457: Adult Literacy (3 credits).  This course explores adult literacy research, theory, programming, and instructional practices in the context of family literacy. The course examines the role of adult education as it pertains to adult learners' needs and their roles as parents, workers, and community members. This course is offered each summer.

ADTED 458: Early Literacy Development (3 credits).  This course focuses on young children’s language and literacy development, including ways that parents and staff support this development; research related to children’s language and literacy learning; and ways in which family literacy supports early literacy development. This course is offered during the fall semester.

ADTED 459: Interactive Literacy and Parent Involvement: Supporting Academic Success (3 credits).  This course focuses on how parents and other caregivers actively engage in home- and school-based activities to support children's language and literacy development and academic success. The course addresses parental involvement in education, educator and parent perspectives of what parent engagement means, interactive parent-child literacy activities, and some of the socio-cultural issues that are implicated in family engagement in language and literacy development.This course is offered during the spring semester.

Student Testimonial: 

~This course has given me a new perspective on how, as an educator, I need to be more attentive to the needs of the family, not just my students.

~There were so many aspects of literacy and language development that I had no idea how to teach or foster prior to this course.

~ I highly enjoyed this course! It was very informative, thought-provoking and interesting all at the same time!

~I think the highlight of this course was having the opportunity to learn from our peers, through group discussions and group projects.

*The certificate was created through a partnership between the Goodling Institute for Research in Family Literacy at Penn State and the National Center for Families Learning (NCFL).