Humanities Washington Began Supporting Family Reading 19 Years Ago

Since 1995, Humanities Washington’s reading program has expanded to distribute more than 118,000 books into the hands of parents and kids across Washington State.

Parents and kids at a 2013 Family Reading event in Shoreline. The program brings families together over storytelling.

Parents and kids at a 2013 Family Reading event in Shoreline. The program brings families together through storytelling events that encourage the use of library resources.

Humanities Washington is celebrating our 40th anniversary with Forty Years of Washington Stories.  In this final installment of the series, we reflect on how family reading programs have helped shape the humanities in Washington State.

The very first session of Humanities Washington’s reading program was held in Purdy Women’s Prison in 1995.  Back then, two volunteers provided participating moms with reading training to build and strengthen literacy skills and bonding with their children.

Since then, Humanities Washington’s reading program has expanded to distribute more than 118,000 books into the hands of parents and kids in need across Washington state.  While the location of  program events has grown and changed  over the years, it has always promoted basic literacy and encouraged parents to engage with their children over books.

Today, Humanities Washington uses an interactive curriculum known as “Prime Time Family Reading” to engage families at public libraries across the state for an evening of reading and discussion. Copies of a popular children’s book are provided at each session, which storytellers and scholars explore with the participants. When Fanny’s Dream was featured as part of the program, the story’s playful retelling of Cinderella entertained kids and parents alike.  It also raised questions about dreams, gender roles and familial responsibility.

The Prime Time Program provides crucial, logistical support to families. Ensuring the availability of childcare and dinner at each event, Humanities Washington encourages more families to participate and access the resources offered by the reading program.

Click here to learn more about Humanities Washington’s Family Reading Program.

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