What is “Reading in Families” Program?
The “Reading in Families” program is one of the newest projects performed by the “Institute for Research on the History of Children’s Literature” under the observation of the “Read with Me” team. The main purpose of this program is to transform houses into high literacy environments and to make book reading and literacy learning a part of families’ daily routine. This program is performed in deprived areas and its main focus is on families who can not afford to buy or do not have enough access to quality books, families with illiterate parents or those who are unaware of their role in their child’s education.
Why is it important to read in families?
Since families play a very important role in the development of their child’s reading and literacy skills, and also since it has been proven that the development of literacy skills can change a child’s life, after “Reading with Babies and Toddlers” project and it’s success, “Read with Me” has decided to start a new program called “Reading in Families” and promote reading amongst all members of the family. Here in “Read with Me” we focus on the development of literacy skills as well as reading skills, because children in deprived areas do not have access to good education and it is important to motivate parents to help during the development of these skills.
۱۰ years ago, “Read with Me” started it’s “Reading with Babies and Toddlers” project for deprived families in the rural areas near Tehran and Isfahan. Most of the families who live in these areas are immigrants who have moved to Iran from Afghanistan to find jobs and earn a living and also Iranian families who have low incomes and have to move to the rural areas. Through this projects, mothers were involved in reading books for their babies and toddlers. “Reading in Families” helps to promote reading amongst all members of the family.
How “Reading in Families” is performed
Based on the experiences and outcomes from previous projects, families who are parts of the “Reading with Families” project, get to receive education, knowledge and packages of books based on their literacy level and the group age of their children. Also, through this project, parents get to learn what emergent literacy is and how the development of literacy skills start from when their children are infants or toddlers until they get to enter elementary schools. Also it is very important to learn how to help children improve their literacy skills with the help of the books you have on hand. “Reading with Families” not only promotes reading amongst all members of the family, such as mother, father, older siblings and even grandparents, but also helps to build better relationships between family members.
The targeted centers for “Reading in Families” consist of libraries, kindergartens and preschools, empowerment centers for women and mothers, adult literacy classes, children’s supportive centers and also schools. The “Institute for Research on the History of Children’s Literature” has asked local trainers, “Read with Me” librarians, preschool tutors, teachers and local promoters who work along side the “Read with Me” team to notify parents of the importance of reading in families and the role they play in the development of their child’s literacy skills through reading and books.
Promoters of the “Read with Me” program hold educational sessions for families in which various subject are taught through a simple method. These subjects include reading aloud, how to use the literacy packages and different activities families can do before and after reading a book. Due to the coronavirus pandemic, these meetings may be held virtually. “Read with Me” trainers and local trainers keep in touch with families and guide them through out the way. This way, the outcomes will be submitted more efficiently and can be used for further research and expanding the project.
Regions in which “Reading in Families” is performed
The coronavirus pandemic led to kids being more at home than before and the role parents had in their children’s education became more essential. Therefore, “Read with Me” used this opportunity to start the “Reading in Families” program.
As we know, during the past school year, teachers and tutors have been in touch with their students through online classes, but it is important to know that online classes aren’t enough and do not fulfil the purpose of in-person classes. Hence, the roles families play in educating their children, specially from before elementary school till sixth grade, is very crucial.
As of June 2021, “Reading in Families” is performed by local trainers in Qeshm Island, Sistan & Balouchestan province, Kermanshah province, Lorestan province and Tehran.
This post is also available in: Persian