Growing With Books

Our bilingual literacy experts teach FREE weekly literacy and language acquisition classes to families with children 0-36 months in age.

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The parents we serve come to us with varying levels of literacy. Our teachers ascertain the parents’ literacy self-confidence level and create an appropriate parent education program for the parents in each class. The families learn songs, finger plays, and games that focus on language skills.

The goals of this program are:

Help kids to build their own personal libraries by giving them a book at each class they attend.

Give parents ideas and tools they can use to make sharing and reading books with their children part of their daily routine.

Each year approximately 100 San Francisco families in need attend our yearlong Growing with Books classes. We currently give away more than 2,600 books each year through the program.

Our partners for this program include: Good Samaritan Family Resource Center, City College Child Development Department, and the Jamestown Community Center.

Prescription for Reading

Through our Prescription for Reading program we give books to the children who visit the St. Luke’s, Bayview Child Health Center, St. Anthony’s, San Francisco General Reading Tree_11-19-13-9909Hospital, and the Mission Neighborhood Health Center pediatric clinics in San Francisco. These clinics predominantly serve San Francisco’s Latino population. The Reading Tree gives away more than 20,000 books per year to these children. For many kids, these books are the first that they have ever owned.

After each visit to the clinic, a doctor gives a child a book, written in English or Spanish. In addition, the doctor hands parents a signed “Prescription for Reading” note, which encourages them to read with their children for 20 minutes per day.

We have seen great results from this simple written instruction. The adults report back to the doctors that they now spend more time sharing books with their children.

The goal for our Prescription for Reading program is once again to help children build their own personal libraries and to encourage parents to make sharing books a part of the family’s daily routine.

Pediatricians are acutely aware of the role that reading plays in infant brain and child development. They strongly recommend that parents read to their children on a daily basis.