Women and girls have always had great influence on the Read with Me program. A large group of children covered by the program throughout the years has been girls who for numerous reasons have been deprived of education and other opportunities. A large number of teachers and tutors trained by the program have been women from all over the country. Read with Me is being implemented by these women. It has had positive influence over the lives of these women and girls. Creating a rich learning environment for all children, especially those suffering from deprivations, has been made possible through the unfaltering motivation and hard work of these women.
Reading for Babies and Toddlers Program
Read with Me emphasizes on reading to children from the moment they are born. Accordingly, the “Reading for Babies and Toddlers” program has been implemented by Read with Me experts in several centers. This program has transformed the lives of the mothers as well as the babies. Upon learning about the importance of reading and having dialogue with their children, a lot of the mothers who were illiterate, decided to enroll in literacy programs offered by Read with Me in the same centers. They have now learned to read and write through children’s books and Basic Literacy Creative Education packages.
These mothers believe the program has helped them improve in speaking and expressing themselves as well as their needs. Through the skills they have learned, they have been able to make small and significant changes in the lives of themselves and those around them. They talk of how they can communicate better with their husbands and children and not only be better mother, but also care for themselves and their own interests.
By establishing “Read with Me” libraries and forming a local network of promoters, a lot of women have been able to attend Read with Me workshops which not only introduced them to quality books and children’s literature, but also enabled to have a significant roll in their society through promoting books and the importance of reading to children. To a lot of them, the program has become a motivation for being active outside their households and experiencing the joy of influencing their community.
Teachers and Promoters of Read with Me
Up until now, about 5000 elementary school teachers and preschool tutors have participated in Read with Me workshops. A great number of them have been women a lot of which tell of how books have transformed their students and expanded their horizon. They, themselves have been moved by the living values and humane concepts hidden behind the pages and have found the courage to transform their own lives.
Basic Literacy, Dialogue and Team Work
Read with Me has empowered many children with reading, writing and language reception and production through basic literacy education. Book-related activities, having dialogues and role-playing gives children the self-confidence of being part of a group and expressing their opinions. Creating the opportunity of speaking and acquiring this self-confidence for girls, especially in regions where they do not have the chance to learn how to appear in communities and express themselves, is of utmost importance.
By establishing small rural “Read with Me” libraries, a group of young village girls have taken the responsibility of librarianship. Most of these girls cannot continue their education since their villages do not offer high school education for girls. Becoming librarians gives them the opportunity to keep contact with books and has motivated them to continue their studies through non-attending schools. The skills they gain as librarians will also help them realize dreams different from their predetermined futures.
Read with Me Staff
More than 50 women as admirers of children and children’s literature cooperate to run the Read with Me program. This small group of women, hopeful for a better tomorrow, drives the program forward, from program design and support in the Tehran office, to program implementation and supervision in various centers and regions.