Reading Program Bonds Children With Incarcerated Mothers



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Through a nomination from the Texas Center for the Book, Women’s Storybook Project of Texas was selected for the 2019 Library of Congress State Literacy Award Program.

Women’s Storybook Project of Texas connects incarcerated mothers with their children through the power of reading. The organization’s volunteers visit women’s prisons in Texas once a month to record eligible mothers reading books aloud to their children, as well as short, personalized messages. The volunteers then mail a copy of the book with the recording to the children.

The Library of Congress accolade recognizes outstanding contributions to the promotion of literacy and reading in the local community and the state and includes an award of $2,225. A formal proclamation and check presentation took place during the quarterly meeting of the Texas State Library and Archives Commission in June at the Lorenzo de Zavala State Archives and Library Building on the Capitol Complex.

Women’s Storybook Project of Texas received the Texas Center for the Book Literacy Award in 2018. This annual contest selects a nonprofit organization that has made significant contributions toward increasing literacy in Texas. The winner for the Texas Center for the Book Literacy Award receives the Center’s official nomination for the national Library of Congress State Literacy Award Program. Only nine organizations received the award this year.

“Women’s Storybook Project of Texas utilize books as a powerful connector and encourage reading across generations,” said Texas Center for the Book Coordinator Rebekah Manley. “We are so pleased the judges at the Library of Congress saw the merit in their mission.”

Prison officials attribute an improvement in behavior at participating prisons because the incarcerated mothers must earn participation in the program by 90 days of good behavior. The children of incarcerated mothers are able to connect with their mothers through their voice and the shared experience of reading the same book. In 2018, Women’s Storybook Project recorded more than 1,600 sessions with mothers and mailed more than 3,500 books and recordings to children in 23 states.

“We are so honored to receive this award,” commented founder and director, Judith Dullnig. “This will help to reinforce our mission of connecting children with their incarcerated moms and connecting them with literature and the joy of reading.”

The award is made possible through the generosity of David M. Rubenstein and administered through the Library of Congress Center for the Book, a unit of the Center for Learning, Literacy and Engagement.

For more information on initiatives of the Texas Center for the Book, a project of the Texas State Library and Archives Commission, visit www.tsl.texas.gov/centerforthebook or contact Rebekah Manley, Texas Center for the Book Coordinator, at rmanley@tsl.texas.gov or (512) 936-2505.

 

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