Mothers Cooperate on Read-aloud Week

Mothers Cooperate on Read-aloud Week

Read with Me believes in the pivotal role of families in developing social and emotional skills in children. Therefore, on Read-aloud Week, Read with Me centers involved families, especially mothers, in read-aloud activities.

The read-aloud experiences of “Kousha House for Children” and “Avay-e-Mandegar Empowerment Center” show once again that Read with Me has achieved great heights in terms of strengthening parent-child bonds.

Center: Kousha House for Children
Date: 26 January 2020 – Read-aloud Week
Book: Red: A Crayon’s Story
Participants: A group of preschool children and their mothers

In the beginning I briefly talked about read-aloud week and the importance of reading to children. Next, I read-aloud “Red: A Crayon’s Story”. As per usual, children were engaged during the session. They asked, answered and gave their opinions. At first their mothers were quiet. But gradually, they were also drawn to the story and participated.

After reading, I asked for the mothers’ opinions. “We have to know ourselves and what we are capable of.”, one said. “We should have reasonable expectations from our children and avoid judging them.”, another said.

We discussed the concept of fear of judgement further.

I asked everybody to draw or make a collage of anything they like without the slightest fear of what others might think. Mothers seemed to be enjoying this more than their children.

When saying goodbye, one of the mothers approached me. She said she was illiterate, but she would like to borrow the book and ask her eldest daughter to read it for her again.

Center: Kousha House for Children
Date: 25 January 2020 – Read-aloud Week
Book: Shrill Mother
Participants: 9 mothers of preschool children

I asked the mothers to introduce themselves. Unfortunately, only two of them knew how to read and write. I explained that Read-aloud Week is a symbolic event to remind people of the importance of reading. I suggested that they bring this week to their families and start reading to their children. Even those who are illiterate could read —-

I gave mother coloring tools and asked them some questions:

“Do you ever get angry?”
“Yes!”, everybody replied.

“Does your husband yell at you?”
Everybody’s answer was positive, excluding one.

“As a child, do you remember being yelled at by your parents?”
All of them did.

Then, I asked them to describe their feelings in those moments. How do you feel? What do you do?

Answers varied: I cry, I go to my room, I remain quiet, I laugh…

I told them to draw themselves in that situation. This was not easy for them. Because as it turns out, even us adults are not yet completely aware of our feelings. And if we are, we seldom think about them. It is as if screaming and being screamed at has become a normal thing.
Eventually, they succeeded to somewhat depict their feelings through their drawings. Interestingly, most of them had chosen dark colors and red.

Then, I read-aloud “Shrill Mother”. In the dialogue we had afterwards, I sensed that they had understood the message of the book. They understood the unpleasant feeling of their children when being yelled at.

For the next step, mothers took each other by the hand and closed their eyes. They listened to the music being played and took deep breaths. At the same time, I read a few sentences from the book “Peace”. Then, I asked them to open their eyes and draw their feelings once again, on the same piece of paper. This time around, they mostly used blue and green.

I explained how they could arrange similar activities for their own children.

Center: Avay-e-Mandegar Empowerment Center
Date: 25 January 2020 – Read-aloud Week
Book: Kisses for Daddy
Participants: 26 mothers and their preschool children

Our class was quite different today! On Read-aloud Week, mothers also participated in the classes alongside their children. The atmosphere was full of joy. Everybody was laughing.

At first we gave some instructions on how to read-aloud. Some mothers told us they couldn’t read, so we suggested they use the illustrations to make their own narrative, discuss the characters of the book (for example, in “Kisses for Daddy” they could talk about bears, they natural habitat, food, etc.), or even ask literate family members to read books to everyone.

Then, we read-aloud “Kisses for Daddy”. “I don’t kiss my father. I don’t like him.” Said one of the boys as he snuck in his mother’s arms. His mother agreed. “I don’t like my father either. Because he doesn’t buy things for me.”, said another child.
When Baby Bear finally kissed his daddy goodnight, Balal said: “We could kiss our dads on Mondays and Tuesdays!” This made everybody laugh. “Do we love our daddies because they buy things for us?” I asked children. “No, he loves us and we love our dads.”, most of them said after a moment of thought.

“My father used to buy me things, but now we’re saving up to buy a car. That’s why my father doesn’t buy me anything anymore. But I love him anyway.” Said Zeynab.

“Mom, I’ll read the book to you myself”, said one of the children whose mother was illiterate.

In the end, we asked children to send their dads big bear kisses, draw their kisses on paper and then take their drawings home to their fathers.

Center: Avay-e-Mandegar Empowerment Center
Date: 26 January 2020 – Read-aloud Week
Book: When I’m Feeling Happy
Participants: 17 children and 15 mothers

Today, we asked mothers to take photos and videos from their read-aloud sessions at home and send to us. Then we began reading aloud “When I’m Feeling Happy”.

“What makes you happy?”, we asked. Many mothers said they were happiest when their children were happy and healthy.

“Have you ever laughed so much your stomach hurt?”, we asked mothers. Children laughed at this question!

“No, I’ve never laughed from the bottom of my heart. Because there’s been nothing to make me laugh that hard.”, one of the mothers shared.

“Last New Year’s, I took some cash and went to the bazaar to shop. I saw a woman holding her child, asking for money while she cried. This truly upset me, so I gave her the money I’d saved for New Year’s shopping so she could take her child to the hospital. I felt really happy afterwards. I was really satisfied with myself.”

“I’m very happy when my husband is in a good mood!”

Some mothers said that jewelry made them happy, and everybody laughed at that notion.

One of the children also shared his opinion: “I’m so happy when I’m at the park!”

As a follow-up activity, we asked children to draw things that makes them happy.

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