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Carson City Programs

Family Storyteller Literacy Program

National award-winning Family Storyteller is a literacy program aimed at encouraging and training parents to play a vital role in the literacy development of their children. Developed by University of Nevada Cooperative Extension (UNCE), KNPB-TV, the Washoe County libraries and Washoe County School District, the statewide program creates an opportunity for parents and young children to interact around literacy and language activities. Family Storyteller is designed especially for families that may have limited language skills and few children’s books at home.

Issue:

The foundation for literacy is built during the preschool years through reading. Time spent reading fosters children’s interest in reading and builds confidence, while helping to eliminate some of the severe consequences of poor literacy skills, including lack of grade retention, school failure, school dropout, delinquency, unemployment and underemployment.

The Nevada Literacy Coalition estimates that nearly 25 percent of youth and adults in the state have inadequate literacy skills, placing Nevada’s children at extremely high risk for developing illiteracy-related problems in the future. Studies show 51 percent of third-grade and 47 percent of fourth-grade students are below basic reading level. The percentage of Spanish-speaking immigrants is expected to increase in Nevada over the next 25 years, so it is likely that ever-larger numbers of children who are English-language learners and at risk for low achievement will be entering Nevada schools. Parents with limited language skills cannot always teach their preschoolers. Breaking the cycle is important to ensure that preschoolers have the reading skills needed to succeed.

What Has Been Done:

Family Storyteller is a six-week series of workshops targeting families at risk for low literacy and related problems. Each workshop includes viewing a 10-minute video, learning book-reading techniques, practicing reading to children and other literacy activities. A book and packet of materials go home with the parents and children so they can continue their reading and activities together.

The program has expanded statewide. In Las Vegas, it is taught in both English and Spanish — in homes as well as in group settings such as libraries, childcare centers, Classroom on Wheels and elementary schools.

There are four versions of Family Storyteller:

  • The original program for lower-literacy English-speaking families;
  • A second curriculum for English-language learners;
  • A third curriculum being developed for Spanish-speaking families who do not yet speak English; and
  • A fourth curriculum being pilot-tested for Native American families.
Impact:

Children’s literacy and language skills have improved as a result of Family Storyteller. Results of a comprehensive three-year evaluation show both parents and children gained in English vocabulary and book knowledge. Program evaluations statewide show that, after participating, parents and children read together more often; their literacy and language activities increased; and parents used the skills taught in the program more often.

After participating in the program:

  • Parents and children read together more often;
  • Parents used skills taught in the program, such as encouraging their children to guess what happens next and to learn new vocabulary words;
  • Parent-child literacy and language activities increased; and
  • Children increased their understanding of book basics and their enjoyment of reading.

Spanish-speaking families improved as follows:

  • Children and parents increased their English vocabulary;
  • Parents increased their ability to use English;
  • Parents increased their knowledge of book basics; and
  • Parents increased their shared reading skills and enjoyment of reading with their children.

Family Storyteller has been directly taught to more than 11,550 Nevada families, of which more than 80 percent are Hispanic, by UNCE educators and by more than 325 trained volunteers. The curriculum was selected as a national Cooperative Extension program to be distributed across the country. More than 235 curricula have been purchased for use in 29 other states.

In 2007, this program received the Western Extension Directors’ Award of Excellence.

Partners:

Nevada’s College of Education and Agricultural Experiment Station, the Northern Nevada Literacy Council, State Library System, Children’s Cabinet, Head Start, Even Start, Preschools and Private Donors.

See also: For additional information, visit the Family Storyteller Web site.

Contacts: Sally Martin, State Family Life Specialist, 775-784-7009,
Dan Weigel, Human Development Specialist, 775-784-4848
Southern Nevada: YaeBin Kim, Parenting Education and Child Development Specialist, 702-257-5521

Programs Program Information

4-H Youth Development

4-H is a community of young people across America learning leadership, citizenship and life skills.

Carson City Community Garden

The Community Garden began in 2001 and allows community members who don’t have room for a vegetable garden to rent a 4-by-16-foot garden bed for $20 a season at a 25-bed garden complex on Beverly Drive east of the cemetery. The price includes water, soil preparation, some seeds and fertilizer.

Family Storyteller Literacy Program

National award-winning Family Storyteller is a literacy program aimed at encouraging and training parents to play a vital role in the literacy development of their children. Developed by University of Nevada Cooperative Extension (UNCE), KNPB-TV, the Washoe County libraries and Washoe County School District, the statewide program creates an opportunity for parents and young children to interact around literacy and language activities. Family Storyteller is designed especially for families that may have limited language skills and few children’s books at home.

Grow Your Own, Nevada

Grow Your Own, Nevada is a statewide University of Nevada Cooperative Extension program designed to help people discover the secrets to gardening in our high-desert climate. The program includes eight two-hour weekly sessions. Classes are held live in Reno in the spring, summer and fall, and are provided by video conference to Cooperative Extension offices across the state.

Living With Fire

Living with Fire is a comprehensive, multi-agency program aimed at teaching homeowners how to live more safely in high wildfire-hazard environments. The program, encompassing research and education, was developed in 1997 as a result of a collaboration between University of Nevada Cooperative Extension (UNCE), Nevada’s Agricultural Experiment Station and the Sierra Front Wildfire Cooperators, a group of 12 Nevada and California firefighting agencies.

Master Gardeners in Nevada

Master Gardeners provide free, research-based horticulture information to Nevadans. They are volunteers who learn advanced plant science skills from at least 50 hours of classroom instruction by University of Nevada Cooperative Extension (UNCE) professionals. After training, Master Gardeners volunteer a minimum of at least 50 hours a year to pass along their newly acquired knowledge through the media, talks and workshops. They answer phone calls, send out informational materials and develop community gardens.

Nevada Radon Education Program

The Nevada Radon Education Program is a partnership with the Nevada State Health Division to educate Nevadans about the possible health risk posed by elevated levels of radon in the home. University of Nevada Cooperative Extension (UNCE) offers literature, educational programs and radon test kits in many county Extension offices.

The Greenhouse Project

The Carson City Greenhouse Project was conceptualized in November 2008 in partnership between UNCE; the Carson City Cultural Commission; The Greenhouse Project Committee, a grassroots, community organization; the Carson City School District; Nevada State Parks; and numerous volunteers. The Greenhouse Project serves as a teaching facility for hands on programs at the Carson City High School. Students help to cultivate and distribute vegetables and herbs for culinary classes and community food banks. Additional flower baskets are grown to beautify downtown Carson City.

Statewide Programs *Statewide programs may not be available in all counties

Programs Program Information
Beef Quality Assurance
Cattlemen’s Update
Food Safety Project
Herds and Harvest
Invasive Species (Weeds)
Nevada State GEAR UP
Nevada Youth Range Camp
People of the Land
Pesticide Safety Education Program
Riparian and Watershed Assessment and Management
Risk Management
Stronger Economies Together
Unmanned Aerial Systems
Weed Prevention and Management