Bruce Coffey, Read to Them Director of Programs, was recently interviewed by Larry Jacobs on Education Talk Radio about how Read to Them programs promote and create family literacy.
So, why get the community involved?
“We don’t just want family literacy to develop slowly in each home. We want conversations to spread beyond school and families into churches, supermarkets, soccer fields.”
Even restaurants get involved.
One One District, One Book participant contacted a local diner, who not only wanted to help, but wanted to really get involved.
“They’d do daily trivia where waiters would ask tables questions about a book and if anyone got it right, the winner would receive a free sundae.”
So, what grades are we talking about?
“The bread and butter is K-5. And it’s a daring thing to do, to not read a distinct book for each grade, but one that all grades read together – there’s a smaller group of books that a first grader can listen to and fifth graders can also be interested in.”
Middle School, too?
“The program works so well that middle schoolers come home and say ‘we don’t want the reading to stop, can we do it in Middle School?’ So we’ve expanded and developed a program for Middle Schools with new titles.”
Or get parents to participate?
“When kids become teenagers, they become a little more distant. They come home from school and they don’t want to talk about their day. But, when they’re excited about the book they’re reading, that changes and it gets parents excited to be involved.”
Or ESL students and families?
“A lot of times, another family member or someone close to them will volunteer to read to them. In other cases, we will supply a recording or someone else will volunteer to record themselves reading the book aloud. That way, everyone gets to participate.”
To Read to Them, family literacy is everything. It’s the backbone of the program and one of its major goals. If you want a community of readers – of interconnectedness – of good, inclusive, excitement to be doing something worthwhile together, there’s no better way to start than with a One School, One Book or One District, One Book program.