What makes Raising A Reader MA unique is that we both increase access families’ access to high quality children literature and we offer families training and other supports needed to strengthen the culture of reading at home. This training includes a multilingual DVD called Storytime: How to read books with your child; this DVD (available in English, Spanish, Portguese, Haitian Creole, Cape Verdean Creole, Khmer, and Arabic) has been distributed to thousands of Raising A Reader MA families through the red bag book rotation program.
In 2011, we launched the new five-part workshops series after a gold standard research study at the University of Texas showed a statistically significant impact on children’s pre-literacy outcomes when their parents were given the opportunity to attend a five-part, skill based training series. Raising A Reader MA staff developed a parent training curriculum based on this research, pilot tested it in Chelsea in Spring 2011, and launched the new training program statewide in Fall 2011.
Now parents in all of our partner and satellite communities across the state have access to progressive training sessions that use a combination of role play, instruction, and peer exchange to help parents master Dialogic Reading skills as part of their home reading routines. Workshop sessions include:
- Asking Good Questions, an introduction to effective question prompts
- Expanding on Answers, tips on how to turn a child’s answer into a rich dialogue
- Prediction and Recall, how to ask questions that activate children’s memories and predictive thinking skills
- Making Connections, strategies to link the stories to children’s lives.
- Extension Activities, simple and inexpensive ways to expand conversation about the book beyond the reading interaction through songs, games, and activities.
Each session, facilitated by our multi-lingual staff, provides parents the chance to connect with their peers, to see Dialogic Reading modeled, and to practice their new skills with each other and their children.