Resources for Families and Caregivers -- Helping Your Child Become a Reader

Federal Offices or Federally Funded Clearinghouses That Provide Information on Literacy and Learning

U.S. Department of Education (ED)


Toll Free: 1-800-LET-ERIC
Provides referrals to all ERIC clearinghouses. ERIC—the Educational Resources Information Center—is a national education information system supported by ED. ACCESS ERIC is the source for ERIC Parent Brochures series, including "How Can I Encourage My Young Child To Read?" Two ERIC Clearinghouses that deal specially with early childhood and literacy and language development are:

  • ERIC Clearinghouse on Elementary and Early Childhood Education and the National Parent Information Network (NPIN) at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (; and

  • ERIC Clearinghouse on Reading, English, and Communication at Indiana University at Bloomington (

Center for the Improvement of Early Reading Achievement (CIERA)

University of Michigan School of Education
610 East University Avenue, Room 1600 SEB
Ann Arbor, Michigan 48109-1259
Phone: 734-647-6940
CIERA is the national research and development center on early childhood reading. It is funded by ED. CIERA's mission is to improve the reading achievement of America's children by developing and offering solutions to persistent problems in the learning and teaching of beginning reading.

Even Start Family Literacy Program

U.S. Department of Education
Office of Elementary and Secondary Education
400 Independence Avenue SW
Washington, DC 20202
Toll Free: 1-800-USA-LEARN
Even Start provides support for family-centered education projects to help parents learn the literacy and parenting skills they need to help their young children reach their full potential as learners. It makes grants to local education agencies, community-based organizations, and other nonprofit organizations. To find out about programs in your state, contact your state department of education or your local school district office.

National Institute for Literacy (NIFL)

800 Connecticut Avenue NW, Suite 200
Washington, DC 20006
Toll Free: 1-800-228-8813
Jointly administered by the Secretaries of Education, Labor, and Health and Human Services, NIFL is an independent federal institute. The NIFL Hotline is available 24 hours a day to provide free referrals for potential students and volunteers to outstanding programs in their area. Also provides free copies of current publications on literacy.

National Institute on Early Childhood Development and Education

U.S. Department of Education
Office of Educational Research and Improvement
555 New Jersey Avenue NW
Washington, DC 20208
Phone: 202-219-1935
Sponsors research that focuses on early childhood development and education, especially school readiness, child/adult relationships, and children's resilience.

No Child Left Behind Parents Tool Box

U.S. Department of Education
400 Maryland Avenue SW
Washington, DC 20202
Toll Free: 1-888-814-NCLB
Provides information of particular interest to parents about the No Child Left Behind legislation.

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS)

Early Head Start/Head Start Program

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
Administration for Children, Youth, and Families
Washington, DC 20202-0001
Phone: 202-205-8572 (or check directory for your regional HHS office)
Head Start programs nationwide provide comprehensive services for 3- to 5-year-old children of low-income families. Grants are made to public school systems and nonprofit organizations to fund services covering education, health care, family involvement, and social services. Early Head Start programs—modeled after Head Start—provide services to low-income pregnant women and families with infants and toddlers. To find out about programs in your state, contact your state department of education or your local school district.

National Institute of Child Health and Human Development Clearinghouse

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
P.O. Box 3006
Rockville, MD 20847
Toll Free: 1-800-370-2943
Provides information about government-sponsored research on human development over the entire life span. Includes topics such as prenatal care, learning disabilities, AIDS, and mental retardation.

Private Organizations That Deal with Literacy and Reading

For information about adult and family literacy programs in your community, be sure to check at your local library. Other resources on literacy and reading include:

American Library Association (ALA)
Association for Library Service to Children (ALSC)

50 East Huron Street
Chicago, IL 60611
Toll Free: 1-800-545-2433, ext. 2163
ALA/ALSC sponsors "Born To Read," a program that builds partnerships between librarians and health care professionals to reach out to new and expectant "at-risk" parents to help them raise children who are "born to read." Publications and online resources include materials for parents, caregivers, and children.

International Reading Association (IRA)

800 Barksdale Road
P.O. Box 8139
Newark, DE 19714-8139
Phone: 302-731-1600
IRA is an organization of teachers, librarians, researchers, parents, and others dedicated to promoting high levels of literacy for all. Its Online Bookstore offers books, videos, and software for parents and caregivers.

Literacy Volunteers of America (LVA)

635 James Street
Syracuse, NY 13202-2214
Phone: 315-472-0001
LVA sponsors more than 350 community programs nationwide that offer free literacy help to adults and their families.

National Center for Family Literacy

Waterfront Plaza, Suite 200
325 West Main Street
Louisville, KY 40202-4251
Toll Free (Parade Family Literacy InfoLine): 1-877-326-5481
Parade Family Literacy InfoLine provides referrals for family literacy programs at the local level. Accessible 24 hours a day; operators are available 9 a.m.-4 p.m. Eastern Time, Monday-Friday.

Reading Is Fundamental, Inc. (RIF)

P.O. Box 23444
Washington, DC 20026
Toll Free: 1-877-RIF-READ
Develops and delivers children and family literacy programs that help prepare young children for reading and motivate school-age children to read. Trains literacy providers, parents, and others to prepare all children to become lifelong readers.

Resources If Your Child Has a Reading Problem or Learning Disability

Federal or Federally Funded Clearinghouses

ERIC Clearinghouse on Disabilities and Gifted Education

1920 Association Drive
Reston, VA 22091
Toll Free: 1-800-328-0272
This clearinghouse provides research-based information on a variety of topics, including learning disabilities, attention deficit disorder (ADD), and behavior disorders.

National Institute of Child Health and Human Development Clearinghouse

Toll Free: 1-800-370-2943
See a complete description under "Federal Offices or Federally Funded Clearinghouses That Provide Information on Literacy and Learning."

National Information Center for Children and Youth with Disabilities

P.O. Box 1492
Washington, DC 20013-1492
Toll Free: 1-800-695-0285 (voice & TTY) This clearinghouse provides referrals and information on disabilities and related issues for families, educators, and others, with a focus on children and youth (birth to age 22). Funded by the Office of Special Education Programs, Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services, U.S. Department of Education—the federal office that administers the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA).

Other Awareness and Advocacy Organizations

Learning Disabilities Association of America

4156 Library Road
Pittsburgh, PA 15234
Toll Free: 1-888-300-6710
This is a nonprofit volunteer organization advocating for individuals with learning disabilities. The association has more than 60,000 members and 600 state and local affiliates nationwide.

National Center for Learning Disabilities

381 Park Avenue South, Suite 1401
New York, NY 10016
Toll Free: 1-888-575-7373
This is a national nonprofit organization that is committed to improving the lives of those affected by learning disabilities. Provides materials designed to increase public awareness and understanding.

Coordinated Campaign for Learning Disabilities

c/o Communications Consortium Media Center
1200 New York Avenue, NW, Suite 300
Washington, DC 20005-1754
Phone: 202-326-8700
This is a collaboration of leading national learning disability organizations dedicated to improving awareness and understanding about the nature of learning disabilities.

Federal Source of Materials for the Blind and Physically Handicapped

National Library Service for the Blind and Physically Handicapped

Library of Congress
Washington, DC 20542
Phone: 202-707-5100
This is a free national library program of Braille and recorded materials for blind and physically handicapped children and adults.

Books for Parents

The following books are just a few of the many excellent books on reading with children. Check with your librarian for titles of more books and for children's book lists.

Beaty, Janice J. Building Bridges with Multicultural Picture Books: For Children 3-5. Prentice-Hall, 1996. Contains a listing of selected multicultural picture books for young children. Includes activities to do with children that are based on the books listed.

Butler, Dorothy. Babies Need Books: Sharing the Joy of Books with Children from Birth to Six. Heinemann, 1998. Discusses the importance of reading to young children and gives summaries of books by age level.

Hall, Susan L., and Moats, Louisa C. Straight Talk about Reading: How Parents Can Make a Difference During the Early Years. NTC Publishing Group. 1998. Provides practical advice, games and activities, and lists of children's books and resources that parents can use to help their children read.

Muse, Daphne (Ed.). The New Press Guide to Multicultural Resources for Young Readers. The New Press, 1997. Includes reviews of hundreds of children's books from a wide variety of backgrounds.

Trelease, Jim. The Read-Aloud Handbook. Penguin, 2001. Discusses the importance of reading aloud to children. Includes a "Treasury of Read-Alouds"—hundreds of recommended books annotated by age and grade level.

Some Other Informative Web Sites for Parents and Caregivers

Children's Software Revue:

Family Education Network:


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Last Modified: 01/22/2008