by Mateo Ibranji
“The book club has helped me to open a dialog with my boy about what’s in a book, proper library behavior, proper treatment of a book, and how to use a book/library to find information.” – Delia, Parent Book Club
This quote from a participating parent (name changed) summarizes what BookSpring is all about. We know that in order to make every child literate and reading at their respective level, we must focus on the parent or primary caregiver. The parent is the most important link that we have with the child, and we strive to teach the parents how to introduce and implement books daily in their children’s lives.
The BookSpring Parent Book Club is one of the ways this goal is accomplished. For various 6-week periods around the year, parents and their 2-6 year-old children meet weekly with BookSpring trainers at local schools or libraries, and each session includes a specific lesson split up into two parts. The parents are first introduced to the different ways they can help their child, and the second part of the session comprises of them interacting with their children and implementing the new ideas they learned. Not only does the program teach parents how to interact with the child, but it also shows the kids how to interact with the book, in turn teaching them educational aspects such as vocabulary, colors, emotions, and many more things.
It is also very common that parents find new programs and ideas through the Book Club. As Delia describes:
“At BookSpring I was also introduced to a student volunteer named Amanda who was recruiting for a study at the university. We signed up for the study and while speaking with Amanda, I learned she was a speech therapy student. My 3 year old just so happens to have a speech problem. Amanda was able to put me in contact with the university speech and hearing center, where I intend to seek speech services for my son.”
We are very happy that our goals of truly transforming the lives of children and their families for the better is coming together right before our eyes, and we only want to strive for higher ones. It is a great feeling seeing parents like Delia come back and share with us the difference that the Book Club has made in their lives and how much it means to them.
“I have so thoroughly enjoyed each program I have signed up for and constantly talk about them to other moms, I have even asked for extra flyers so that I may place them at my elementary school.”
We are particularly indebted to our friends and supporters at United Way of Great Austin’s Success by Six program for their continuing support of the Parent Book Clubs in association with their Play to Learn program. We could not be having the impact we have if it weren’t for a community-wide effort to provide support for low income parents of young children.
“I found a flyer for Play to Learn, I was able to sign up with my 3 year old son. We attended every class with anticipation. My son loved being around other children, playing with all the learning tools, receiving books, play dough, paint, paper, and a abundance of other things. I enjoyed learning how to play with my child in a manner that was fun while still teaching him. When Play to Learn ended I was told about a book club for Parents called Book Spring.”
Though these collaborations between schools, libraries, community centers, and the non-profit sector, we create a safe path to the future for all children, full of open doors and opportunity.
The details of the BookSpring program and other Parent Book Club experiences can be found here.