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Intergenerational Literacy Programs for Incarcerated Parents and Their Families: A Review of the Literature (page 8)
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Children of incarcerated parents are perhaps the largest unidentified at-risk population of school age children in the United States. This review of literature suggests that family literacy programs may have benefit for a large number of incarcerated parents and their families. But there is much we do not know about the unique literacy and parenting needs of this population or the complexities of providing programs for them. For this reason, model prison-based programs are needed. Based on strong findings from community-based programs, practitioners should not wait until all research questions are answered. However, practitioners should be careful to do no harm and to approach these programs in respectful and inclusive ways.

Although most prison-based literacy programs employ traditional academic curricula, this paper argues for balanced literacy program models that integrate our most rigorously tested theories of adult literacy instruction with the most promising models of prison-based family literacy programs. This will require a shift from the traditional academic and vocational training paradigms currently in practice. But, as the Hudson River Center (2001) noted, "In preparing for transition back into the community, the focus for many incarcerated individuals is often employment. A comprehensive family literacy program suggests that transition back into a family setting is equally important" (p. 15).


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