The Daily Tar Heel

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Sunday August 14th

Family Reading Partners program brings families together

<p>Christian and his mom talk get ready to read during McDougle Elementary School's first Family Reading Partners program event.</p>
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Christian and his mom talk get ready to read during McDougle Elementary School's first Family Reading Partners program event.

McDougle Elementary School hosted its very first Family Reading Partners event to help families come together to explore the benefits of reading. 

The elementary school offered the program to help students who need extra assistance with their reading skills and incorporating those skills in everyday life. 

Students who attended the program were encouraged to invite all members of their family, regardless of what age or grade level.

"The purpose is to have families come together, share books and learn how to have conversation about books with their children," Nancy Zeman, Chapel Hill-Carrboro Public School Foundation program services manager, said. "I think families go home with good quality books and recognize the importance of having fun around books." 

Zeman has worked with Co-Project Manager Mary Andrews to make this an independent program for about five years. 

Family Reading Partners is focused in the Chapel Hill-Carrboro elementary schools for kindergarten through first-grade students and their parents. 

The program comes to participating schools and provides families with dinner and books for children to explore and to further incorporate the importance of reading in daily life. 

It also allows the children to bring home any book that might have captured their interest. The books come with a specifically designed conversation card in order to assist families in conversations about the books once they have returned home.

The program is a volunteer-based association that is raising money for schools to promote literacy. 

First-grader Christian Stroud, who was in attendance, said he likes reading books about animals.

"My favorite book is called 'What's at the Zoo'," he said.

Literacy coach Courtney Clapp worked with McDougle Elementary to organize the event and bring the program to the school.

"I'm really excited. I know this helps families feel empowered as their children's first teachers and to promote reading at home with families so that parents and children are enjoying books together at home in whatever way they can," Clapp said. 

"It's definitely shown by research to have a positive effect on children's academic growth at school."


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