This October, we kicked off our very first Read-A-Thon! Through the program, the kids can earn “book bucks” based on the number of minutes they read and turn in their book bucks for cool stuff –like toys and games. We’ve posted a colorful Read-A-Thon chart in the dining room to make it easy for kids (and their moms) to track their progress, and the book bucks are starting to add up!
Our Read-A-Thon comes as part of a larger effort to build a culture of literacy at the house. Over the last year, we have also dedicated a children’s library—generously built by two of our very youngest volunteers!—and created a number of smaller “reading zones,” throughout the building so that families can grab a book while waiting for the bus, relaxing in between life skills classes, or settling down for the night.
In creating these programs, it was important to us that the parents could play an active role in their child’s reading, especially for mothers with younger children. To encourage parental involvement in the Read-A-Thon, we offer “double bucks” for reading time that the kids spend with their mom, and have also started incorporating literacy goals into the parents’ individualized service plans. Many mothers are already working hard on their parenting skills while they are here, and reading with their kids is a great opportunity to build positive, nurturing relationships.
Though the children are the target audience for our Read-A-Thon efforts, the women seem to be enjoying it, too. After visiting the children’s library, one adult resident told us with a smile, “You know, I never thought that I’d enjoy teen lit. But you know what? It’s not bad.”