Toyota Launches Literacy Program for Hispanic and Other Immigrant Families in Oakland

April 24, 2008

April 24, 2008 - Oakland, CA - Toyota today announced that four Oakland elementary schools will be among the newest sites for its successful Toyota Family Literacy Program (TFLP). TFLP - the first nationwide program of its kind to focus on the needs of Hispanic and other immigrant families - is coordinated by the National Center for Family Literacy (NCFL), the country's leading advocate for family literacy.

Toyota has contributed $600,000 to fund the program at International Community School, Garfield Elementary, Manzanita SEED and Manzanita Community. All four schools are located in the Oakland Unified School District, and average between 46 percent and 78 percent Hispanic enrollment.

TFLP - which got its start in 2003 and is now functioning in 20 cities across the U.S. - aims to increase basic language and literacy skills among Hispanic and other immigrant families, and provide parents with the skills they need to help their children succeed in school. The program specifically serves children in kindergarten to third grade and their parents. TFLP is unique in that it incorporates NCFL's multicultural family literacy model, which combines key components including: ESL courses, children's education, parenting education, Parent and Child Together (PACT) activities, and computer-literacy instruction. Since its inception, Toyota's commitment to the program exceeds $35 million.

In addition to launching the program at these four schools, the funding will allow NCFL to provide comprehensive support for training, educational materials and assistance at each site. Oakland Unified School District is working hand-in-hand with NCFL to implement the family literacy program.

Along with Oakland, four other cities are part of the latest expansion of the Toyota Family Literacy Program: Salt Lake City, Utah; Burien/Seattle, Wash.; Mesa, Ariz.; and Miami, Fla. A total of 230 school districts submitted applications for the five spots.

"Early literacy is the cornerstone of our effort to ensure that all Oakland Unified students graduate prepared for success in college and the workplace," said Vincent Matthews, State Administrator for the Oakland Unified School District. "We are committed to ensuring that every student, regardless of socioeconomic circumstance, ethnic background or language barrier, receives the academic foundation they need to succeed. By bringing parents into the classroom to learn alongside their children, the Toyota Family Literacy Program moves us closer to the day when this goal becomes reality."

Results from the TFLP programs already implemented include:

• Significant literacy gains by adults, the majority of which improved their literacy scores by one or more levels
• Ratings for children in the program that exceeded peers in areas including academic performance, motivation to learn, attendance, classroom behavior, involvement in classroom activities, and other areas
• 92% of parents stating they're better able to help their child with homework
• 91% of parents stating their child's grades have improved
• Waiting lists at the majority of program sites due to high demand

"By partnering with Toyota, NCFL has nurtured a proven formula of research and delivery of family literacy services that not only works for the participants, but for the betterment of the communities," said Sharon Darling, president and founder of NCFL. "And, we're proud to say, our path to success here in Oakland has been set by the impressive gains made by thousands of TFLP participants in family literacy programs nationwide."

"Due to the incredible commitment of NCFL, the Toyota Family Literacy Program has helped improve the literacy skills of thousands of families in diverse communities across the U.S.," said Patricia Pineda, group vice president, philanthropy, at Toyota Motor North America. "We're excited to bring the program to Oakland, and look forward to making even more positive and lasting contributions to students and families."

The National Center for Family Literacy was established by Sharon Darling in 1989 with a grant from the William R. Kenan, Jr. Charitable Trust. For the past 18 years, NCFL has pioneered educational initiatives that open pathways to continuous life improvement for the nation's most at-risk children and families. The organization has supported more than 150,000 teachers and thousands of volunteers, leading to positive gains for more than 1 million families. To learn more, call 1-877-FAMLIT-1 or visit

Since 1991, Toyota and NCFL have forged successful programs to promote family literacy in the United States. Today, the Toyota/NCFL partnership accounts for nearly 226 family literacy sites in 43 cities and 27 states. As part of this partnership, the Toyota Family Literacy Teacher of the Year award has been presented annually since 1997 and recognizes individual teachers' contributions to improving literacy among youth and adults. Additional information on Toyota's commitment to improving education nationwide is available at

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