Read Together! is a La Grande community literacy project focusing on encouraging and equipping families to read with their children of all ages. Literacy is a key element in the successful development of a child. Children should read with family members consistently before their school years and then continue the practice through the school years. A family’s positive attitude and encouragement of reading is a primary predictor of student success in school and in later life. Helping families understand how they can best encourage their young reader can add a significant boost to the awareness and skill of the mentor to help children learn.

Although there are multiple avenues to assure that children have books in their lives through ongoing programs such as the Dolly’s Imagination Library, early childhood wellness programs, and other gifted books, there is a missing element in making these books both accessible and attractive to young readers. The aim of the READ TOGETHER! program is to provide helps to families when they receive books from any source.

The main objective of the READ TOGETHER! Program is to produce a series of five or six one to two minute video presentations that show how to read with children from ages 0-6 years old. The planned videos depict a parent and child typical of our region in a natural home setting reading an age-appropriate book together. Information in the video helps guide the parent to feel both comfortable and encouraged during these reading times. For example, in the video presentation on reading with your baby, the father snuggles with the child and a soft cover picture book. The baby may squirm or try to chew on the page corners, but the narrator assures the parent that this is both acceptable and desirable to establish a bond where the book becomes a part of that relationship.

Access to these videos is a cornerstone of the READ TOGETHER! Program. Using QR codes (the digital squares you find on advertisements that can be accessed by the smart phone) families can access each short video again and again to receive support for their efforts to encourage reading in the family.  The QR codes are available on brochures that are printed in book giveaways, at library kiosks, or through other media. La Grande Rotary and Mountain Valleys Reading Council is currently advertising the program at the Granada Theater in La Grande with an incentive to receive a free book at the Cook Memorial Library. With their used admission ticket, they select a book from the special shelf  that contains the brochure with QR codes. Initially, the brochure links to existing videos produced by …..

Because these videos are somewhat longer, drier, and more academic in nature, the READ TOGETHER! Program aims to replace these with  shorter, more effective videos featuring local families. The READ TOGETHER! Program is looking for volunteers who would take video of their own family reading. Special instructions for how to take the video are available at the link below. Although these videos will be posted on a media site, they will only be accessed through the QR codes so the audience will be delimited to those parents seeking help.

The initial thrust of the program is to produce these videos and regionally communicate this resource through various media. The La Grande Rotary and Mountain Valleys Reading Council have committed start up finds Funds to produce four of the six videos needed.  Partners include Eastern Oregon Alive who will be producing the videos, the Granada Theatre who airs the program at each movie screening, the Cook Memorial Library offering a special giveaway shelf of books, and the Oregon Trail Electric Cooperative providing marketing assistance.

See. the draft video for babies here: