Jacie was a fourth grader who had struggled with reading since first grade. In May 2015, we filmed her dad at Joseph Harp Correctional Center reading “Frozen” and sharing a sweet message. Jacie read “Frozen” with her dad every night all summer and fall. Then, at an assembly in November, her OKC school presented her the “Best Reader” Award out of 515 elementary students! What a great example of how OK Messages program works!
Just like Jacie, all children need great reading skills to succeed—especially if their parents are in prison! That’s why our teams go to prisons to film parents reading books and sharing a loving message—and why we send the books and DVDs to their children.
We are just about to start our Christmas filming projects so that hundreds of children in our state will get to have daily read-aloud time with their parents—even though mom or dad is behind bars for years at a time.
At OK Messages Project, we’ve offered countless parents the chance to read books aloud to their children—so they can read along every day and know they are loved and missed. As the kids read along over and over, their reading skills improve, their self-esteem grows and they do better in school. We’ve served over 7,000 children in Oklahoma since we started 6 years ago—but there are thousands of kids still needing our program
Here are five great reasons why our Literacy & Prevention programs are important to help fill the wide educational gap these kids have:
- Reading is foundational to success in school! After 3rd grade, success in every subject depends on strong reading skills. If kids aren’t becoming better readers, they start falling behind in school. But they thrive when they can read well.
- The Department of Justice has reported that the link between academic failure and delinquency, violence and crime is welded to READING FAILURE.
- What kids learn when parents read aloud is vital: Basic speech and communication abilities, a longer attention span, stronger concentration, and better memory—all skills children need to do well in school and life.
- Not just when children are young, but throughout their growing up years, they benefit from sharing books and reading along with parents. Their comprehension grows; they develop a stronger bond with parents, and they develop logical thinking and a sense of story.
- Children who are read to by parents who do it in a fun way grow to love books. We teach the parents how to read interactively to engage their children on camera.