My task was to develop systematic ways of looking at reading and writing as activities that have consequences in and are affected by family life.
Taylor, Family Literacy, Preface.
It is simple enough to say that "family literacy" refers to the literacy used in or by families. But what do we mean by "literacy"? What do we mean by "family"? And why should a private matter like family literacy be the focus of programs or interventions?
A population health approach to communities tells us that richer literacy skills go hand-in-hand with things like greater economic stability or improved physical well being. Home life, especially in the early years, plays a significant part in how successful people are at navigating social institutions. Children and adults lose out when there is a mismatch between a family's literacies and the literacies valued in the school or workplace; a gap between a family's literacy and the literacies of the dominant culture.
Effective family literacy programs and supports help families bridge this gap in ways that respect the family's values and intentions.
Denny Taylor (1983, 1998) Family Literacy: Young Children Learning to Read and Write. Portsmouth, NH : Heinemann