Coalition for Hispanic Family Services Arts and Literacy Program

Favorite Family Literacy Workshops

Memorizing a Poem with Music. Parents are given ten minutes to memorize a poem in Spanish or English. Then the music teacher sets the poem to music and asks parents to memorize the words with the music. She asks parents whether it’s easier to memorize the poem with or without music. Their answer helps them make the connection between the arts and literacy.

Family Illustrated History. Parents and children work together to make illustrated books about their family’s history. Making the book requires them to think about sequence and characters.

Family Journals. Staff takes photographs of each family, and then each family member makes an acrostic of his or her name. We use the acrostics to frame the photos, and this image becomes the cover of the journal families use to record important events of the school year.

Playdough Activities. The art teacher shows parents how to make playdough in four colors, illustrating how cooking and measuring are hands-on methods to reinforce math skills. Then parents use the playdough to make letters and spell out words. They also form playdough characters and enact stories with a beginning, middle, and end.

Drama Games. Staff present skits of several situations in which a parent and child are in conflict. Parents shout "Freeze" to stop the action and take one of the actor’s parts if they have a better idea of how to resolve the conflict.

Immigrant Rights Role Play. Staff give parents a list of immigrants rights. Then they act out skits in which an immigrant parent is being deprived of one of those rights. As in the Drama Game, parents can freeze the action and take the part of one of the actors to correct the situation.

Martial Arts and Domestic Violence. The martial arts teacher teaches the parents self-defense and anger management techniques. He describes how these techniques can be used at home and shares resources on domestic violence.

Discipline and Art Therapy. The art therapist has parents draw a picture of how they were disciplined as children. Then they draw how they discipline their own children and compare the two drawings. The comparison generates a lively discussion.

Media Literacy. The media literacy teacher presents parents with statistics about sex and violence on television as well as about how television watching affects children’s grades and behavior. Then she gives parents charts their children made, which document the number of hours they watched television, including the genres of the shows and the number of advertisements. She asks parents to share how many televisions they own and how they are used, and the parents discuss what they are learning.

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Anne Lawrence
Laura Paris
Laurie Z. Ragsdale
Maria Santana


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