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Family Literacy Certificate

Family Literacy Certifiate

The Goodling Institute's 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 at or by phone at (717) 432-3498.

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 Certificate

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. 

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.

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.

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.

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.

*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).