Discover More About Reading to Children and Fun Family Programs at the Library
Every month, Hennepin County Library staff and community volunteers visit the Adult Corrections Facility to share with facility residents how the simple act of reading aloud to their children can better prepare their children for school and strengthen the parental bond. During the three-week Read to Me program, residents learn family literacy basics, read-aloud techniques and about the great family programs available at the library. On the last week, the residents select age-appropriate books and then record themselves reading. The books and a CD of the recording are sent to the children.
In addition to increasing academic success and developing stronger parent-child relationships, reading to your child also builds their basic speech and communication skills, teaches them the basics of reading, enhances their concentration and promotes that reading is fun!
It’s also a great way for parents to be more involved in their children’s lives. Studies have demonstrated that children with involved fathers have enhanced social skills, higher self-esteem, more self-control, increased curiosity and higher intelligence quotients based on the father’s level of nurturing. Mothers also benefit and mother-child relationships are more positive, whether the parents live together or not, if the father-child relationships are positive. Involved fathers also experience less incarceration, substance abuse and accidental or premature deaths.
There are five simple ways to prepare your children to become readers: talk together, sing together, read together, write together and play together. Mem Fox, author of Reading Magic
, recommends that parents spend at least 10 minutes every day reading aloud to their children.
In addition to book, movies and music for children, Hennepin County Library offers free storytimes for babies, toddlers, preschoolers, and families. While reading to children is important, so are the choices parents make when selecting books. Library staff can help you find age-appropriate books and early literacy resources. They also show parents how to help their children get ready for school or find resources for homework. Many libraries have play areas for families to play and learn together, as well as computers located near the children’s section for adults who are accompanied by children, so adults can look for jobs online or do other computer-related tasks and still be close enough to check on their children.
The Read to Me program has received national recognition and numerous awards. However, the real success of the program can be noted in the comments of past participants such as Joey, a former resident at ACF who said "I felt the Read to Me experience was a great opportunity to touch base with my child in the wake of my absence. Her response to it was a positive one. It kept me alive when I was unable to be there to read to her. And I feel that we were able to still make a connection, and that was the most important part."
Funding for Read to Me is provided by the Friends of the Hennepin County Library. If you are currently a resident at the Hennepin County Adult Corrections Facility and would like to participate in the program, please talk with library staff when they visit the facility on Tuesdays. If you are in a state prison, a Reading is Fundamental (RIF) or other program similar to Read to Me may be offered at your facility.
After release, please visit any of the 41 Hennepin County libraries or online at www.hclib.org/BirthTo6
to learn more about early literacy, reading aloud to children and selecting age-appropriate books for your children.