On the fly: Adapting quickly to emergency remote instruction in a family literacy programme

Anna Kaiper-Marquez, Emily Wolfe, Carol Clymer, Jungeun Lee, Elisabeth Grinder McLean, Esther Prins, Tabitha Stickel

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Scopus citations


The COVID-19 pandemic has led to extraordinary changes in family literacy instruction, forcing face-to-face programmes to shift rapidly (or “on the fly”) to online, remote instruction. This study is one of the few on online teaching and learning in family literacy and, to the knowledge of the authors, the first on emergency remote instruction in a family literacy programme during the COVID-19 pandemic. This article examines how the Goodling Institute for Research in Family Literacy at The Pennsylvania State University in the United States has responded to the pandemic by converting its face-to-face family literacy classes into emergency remote instruction using online platforms. Serving eight immigrant families in 2019–2020 who live in the State College area in central Pennsylvania, the Family Pathways programme includes adult education, parent education and interactive parent–child literacy activities. The article discusses how teachers created online learning opportunities for parents and children to learn together, the strategies and resources instructors used to teach remotely, how challenges such as discomfort with technology were addressed, and what has been learned from the experience. Although COVID-19 presents unprecedented challenges for educators and learners in family literacy programmes more broadly, it has also compelled instructors in this particular programme to use remote instruction creatively and has revealed the critical importance of family literacy programmes as an educational support system for low-income and immigrant families.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)691-713
Number of pages23
JournalInternational Review of Education
Issue number5-6
StatePublished - Dec 2020

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Education


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