FAMILY READING PROGRAM
Through our Read-Me-A-Story (RMAS) program, FRIENDS OUTSIDE IN SONOMA COUNTY provides incarcerated parents with opportunities to record themselves reading age-appropriate books to their children. Our volunteers then mail the recordings and the books to the children!
RMAS helps incarcerated adults and their children maintain their relationships, which eases the burden of prolonged separation and provides comfort and guidance for the children. The program provides a catalyst to help incarcerated parents play a more active role in their children's lives. Further, it champions family literacy -- promoting the importance of reading as well as the joy of reading together.
The story CDs bring comfort to the children of incarcerated parents. At a time when the children have little control over their situation, their ability to hear their parents' voice whenever they need to can reassure them that they are loved and valued. Their engagement with storytelling and imagination also may encourage an interest in books and reading and can help with literacy skills.
RMAS makes it possible for incarcerated parents to engage in the natural parental activity of reading to their children, which helps the parents to maintain meaningful contact with their children. Their self-esteem and perceived value as a parent can increase as they are able to do something positive and tangible for their child. As a bonus, the RMAS program supports the parents' improvement of their own reading skills.
"The girls loved hearing their father read them a story. It's something they will always remember."
"This was so important to the children. Their mother's voice made them feel secure and special."
"This is the closest I've felt to my children in a long time."
"I got great feedback from home. Can you sign me up again?"
"I think this is the best program in the whole jail."