Getting the little ones to love reading isn’t something that has to wait for school.
The Guam Humanities Council has a program for parents to help foster that love of books in the home. Motheread/Fatheread is community-based family literacy program funded through the Guam Community College over the last 10 years.
“To our knowledge, we’re the only organization that goes out in the community with a nationally acclaimed curriculum … serving adult parents,” says Cathy Flores, the program coordinator for the council.
“The ultimate read of Motheread/Fatheread is for adults, parents, to read more to their children in that the love for reading is learned in the home,” she says. “What better way to do that than to work with parents and have them come to our sessions and learn our techniques and then take them home to practice it with their children?”
Parents are invited to attend the weekly three-hour session at which a three-part lesson plan is taught by two trained facilitators.
“You have literacy as experience — this is where the facilitator introduces the book and they summarize it in their own words and present it to the participants,” Flores says. “The second part is literacy as art and this is where they actually work with the parents to teach them the techniques on how to bring a book to life and how to present it to their children.”
Parents are sent home with a story extender, which is a lesson plan to follow.
“First of all, they practice the book in the session, they are taught how to read the book and summarize it in their own words and then to ask open-ended questions,” Flores says. “Reading should be the frontrunner in the home and the parents can come to our very interactive sessions and then go home to apply the techniques to the children.”
The program is effective, Flores says, because parents are tested in the beginning and end for comprehension level.
“Eight times out of 10, the participants that attend the 15-week cycle, they will gain three or more points, which is very good, between the pre- and post-test.”
The cycle is ongoing and ends in June, but parents still are welcomed to join.
Currently, the program is being held at the Toto community center, but the venue is expected to change. It will be held at the Iron Wood Ypao Heights community center in late April.
The Guam Humanities Council has worked closely with Guam Community College, which has provided funding for the program over the last 10 years.
The program has other partnerships, with Big Brothers and Big Sisters of Guam, the Guam Housing and Urban Renewal Authority and the Toto Mayor’s Office.