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County Offices

Southern Clark County 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.


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.

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.


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.

All 4 Kids

University of Nevada Cooperative Extension’s All 4 Kids: Healthy, Happy, Active, Fit program is an interdisciplinary approach to addressing child obesity. Developed by Cooperative Extension faculty from maternal/child nutrition, exercise physiology and child development, the All 4 Kids program helps children meet the Nevada Pre-Kindergarten (Pre-K) Standards while encouraging preschool children and families to practice healthy eating habits and be active every day.

Career Edge: Teens Taking Charge of Their Future! A Workforce Readiness Program

The Career Edge: Teens Taking Charge of Their Future! A workforce readiness program for high school students focused on skill development for workplace and job success. Career Edge helps high school students prepare to get their first "paying" job while working toward their dream job or career. Career Edge provides information and training on interview skills, résumé development, filling out applications, finding job leads and selecting appropriate clothing for the workplace. In addition, many "soft skills" needed in the workplace such as decision-making, teamwork, problem-solving and leadership are integrated throughout the program.

Desert Green, Commercial Water Conservation Training

Desert Green is in its eleventh year and is designed to educate commercial clientele in the Green Industry as well as others who have an interest in water conservation issues. A committee representing the industry implements the training. Desert Green is chaired by one industry representative and one UNCE representative. The program is presented once a year, with 36 classes taught in a two-day period. A committee of industry representative reviews evaluations from the previous year to decide future educational direction and topics. During the evaluation process, the program is reviewed, modified and revised according to the needs of the clientele. As part of the marketing of this program, two articles citing the importance of Desert Green appear in regional trade publications.

Expanded Food and Nutrition Education Program (EFNEP)

The mission of Nevada’s Expanded Food and Nutrition Education Program (EFNEP) is to assist families with limited financial resources. Through educational support and experiential learning, the families acquire knowledge, skills, attitudes and changed behavior to improve their nutritional and health status in order to prevent chronic disease and enhance family well-being. Practical application allows learners to see the relevance of information to their daily lives.

Exploring Your True Colors: Building an Effective Team & Team Development Course

Team Development Course

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.

Food for Thoughts, School Garden

University of Nevada Cooperative Extension’s Food for Thoughts Program offers children an alternative site for learning, promotes awareness of the desert environment, demonstrates the geographic sources of their food, and encourages healthy eating and activities.

Fun To Play

University of Nevada Cooperative Extension’s Fun To Play program targets families where, due to the young age, inexperience or limited resources of the parents, young children are placed at-risk for developmental delays and later school difficulties. Fun To Play is a series of weekly infant/child sessions aimed at improving the parenting skills of young parents by increasing the amount of learning activities and interaction they provide their children.

Healing gardens in Las Vegas

University of Nevada Cooperative Extension healing gardens essentially become outdoor sanctuaries for people who are hospitalized as well as their families and the staff that works with them.

Healthy Eating Active Living: Mapping Attributes using Participatory Photographic Surveys (HEAL MAPPS)

Healthy Eating Active Living: Mapping Attributes using Participatory Photographic Surveys (HEAL MAPPS) is a compilation of evidence-based engagement and assessment tools that is used to audit and map community environmental features that support and/or hinder healthful eating and physical activity among community members. The MAPPS method integrates photography, participatory community mapping using global positioning system (GPS) technology, and residents’ voiced perceptions of their community. HEAL MAPPS engages people in community-based participatory research to document attributes of the rural community environment that are perceived by residents as obesity preventing or promoting and assess the local resources and readiness to implement community-level obesity prevention strategies to prevent unhealthy weight gain/overweight and obesity among children and their families.

Healthy Eating on a Budget


Healthy Steps to Freedom

Alcohol and drug addiction are serious, chronic and relapsing health problems for both women and men of all ages and backgrounds. Leading to physical and mental health problems, substance abuse often precipitates violence, sexually transmitted diseases, unwanted pregnancy, motor vehicle crashes, homelessness, rising health care costs and obesity.

Little Books and Little Cooks

University of Nevada Cooperative Extension’s Little Books & Little Cooks program is a national ward winning program (from the National Extension Association of Family and Consumer Sciences) to address parenting and nutrition information. The program teaches both parents and their young children (ages 3-5) important milestones of early learning and literacy, school readiness and good nutrition through a seven-week program. Topics for seven weeks include: proper hand washing procedure, food safety and kitchen safety rules, USDA MyPlate (five food groups), benefits of cooking with children, multicultural foods, parents’ feeding style and hunger and fullness cues, picky eating behaviors, and importance of eating fruits and vegetables. Reading children’s books about nutrition and healthy eating as well as cooking and eating together allow both children and parents to learn about healthy eating and nutrition and gain positive parent-child interaction skills. This program offers children a way to learn important pre-kindergarten skills, including math, science, physical development, health and nutrition, literacy development, social development and creative arts, as well as to try new, nutritious foods.

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 Naturalist

University of Nevada Cooperative Extension (UNCE) in collaboration with partnering agencies including Bureau of Land Management, National Park Service, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, University of Nevada Las Vegas, Henderson Bird Viewing Preserve, Nevada Department of Wildlife, Springs Preserve, Wetlands Park, Nevada State Museum, and others, has developed a comprehensive environmental education curricula targeting adult learners interested in environmental issues affecting southern Nevada.

Pick a better snack™ (formerly Chefs for Kids)

This evidence-based campaign focuses on building fruit and vegetable consumption in children through healthy snacking. Pick a better snack™ is a monthly, in-school nutrition education program for primary grade children in at-risk elementary schools in Clark and Washoe counties in Nevada. In addition to direct instruction, staff works with school wellness coordinators to build meaningful and sustainable programming to create a well environment in every school.

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

Programs Program Information
Beef Quality Assurance
Cattlemen’s Update
Food Safety Project
Grow Your Own, Nevada
Herds and Harvest
Invasive Species (Weeds)
Nevada Radon Education Program
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