Read from the Start
Children who grow up hearing stories and engaging with books have a better chance of falling in love with language and succeeding in school. Research shows that reading aloud is the single most important activity a caregiver can do to help a child prepare for reading and learning. MHC’s family reading program, Read from the Start (RFTS), empowers parents/caregivers to read to their young children regularly—helping them to form early habits that foster a lifelong love of reading.
Through the guidance of a certified RFTS Discussion Leader, participants read/discuss children’s books and explore fun activities to enhance story time and nurture early literacy skills in their children. RFTS is offered free of charge and participants keep the high-quality children’s books presented in the program.
MHC partners with local organizations throughout the state to host RFTS programs. These partners share a commitment to family reading and literacy. Host sites include: Head Starts, Parents as Teachers, libraries, community action agencies, schools, and shelters.
RFTS did a great job of teaching me that story time can be more about participation and conversation to edify my children’s education.
-RFTS participant at Gracemor Elementary
MHC’s flagship program for parents/caregivers with children age birth to 5 years old. Host sites may choose between one 2-HOUR session with 5 free books or two 90-MINUTE sessions with 7 free books. This workshop is for adults only. Click the icon above for workshop specifics and application.
This program takes MHC’s Original RFTS and tailors it for host sites (university/colleges, head starts, daycares, etc.) interested in student educational opportunities in early literacy education and/or professional development for staff working in early childhood education settings. Click the icon above for workshop specifics and application.
A NEW 60-MINUTE program for parents/caregiver and their children age birth to 5 years old. During this parent/child workshop, families read 4 children’s books and explore fun literacy-based activities together. This program is in its final development stages. More information to come soon!
Are you an educator, librarian, or someone interested in sharing the importance of reading aloud? Click the icon above to learn how you can facilitate RFTS Workshops.
Read from the Start (RFTS) programs are fun and educational.
Participants learn fresh ideas about reading to young children and receive a set of high-quality children’s books to keep. You can see our book list here. To find out when RFTS is coming to your community, take a look at the calendar on this site, or contact the Director of Family and Community Programs at 1-800-357-0909 or by email at email@example.com.
What happens at a Read from the Start program?
• Participants learn how reading to children helps strengthen the parent/child bond, prepares children for future learning, and helps children fall in love with books and stories.
• Read from the Start programs are for adults only, but childcare is often provided during the program. RFTS is offered free of charge.
• Participants read and discuss a selection of children’s books together.
• Participants explore activities to do with their children after reading, such as art, songs, finger plays, and dramatic play.
• Participants learn how to choose good books for their children.
Read from the Start programs are offered throughout Missouri in collaboration with local organizations that share our commitment to families, children, and lifelong learning.
How It Works:
- Read from the Start is currently offered free of charge. Our target audience includes parents/caregivers who may have limited access to books, and face economic hardships or educational challenges that make reading to their children difficult.
- Local nonprofit agencies like Head Start, Parents as Teachers, libraries, or charitable agencies may contact the Missouri Humanities Council to request a Read from the Start program.
- Host site may choose between one 2-hour session with five free books or two 90-minute sessions with seven free books. Sessions are scheduled one to two weeks apart.
- Children do not attend the sessions. A certified RFTS Discussion Leader leads the group of parents through discussions and activities.
- The host site promotes Read from the Start and is responsible for doing the outreach necessary for recruiting between fifteen and twenty participants.
- The host site provides a meeting space for the program. Optional childcare and refreshments are encouraged.
- The Missouri Humanities Council provides a certified Discussion Leader, program materials, promotional materials and assistance necessary for creating a successful Read from the Start program.
For more information:
Phone: (314) 781-9660 or call toll-free (800) 357-0909
Are you passionate about books and stories? Do you enjoy working with small groups of parents/caregivers in a workshop setting? Would you love to encourage parents to read to their young children?
Read from the Start programs are facilitated by certified RFTS Discussion Leaders. Our Discussion Leaders include storytellers, teachers, social workers, librarians, realtors, community volunteers, and journalists, just to name a few! Each brings his/her own special gifts and talents to Read from the Start programs. Interested in joining us?
READ ON TO LEARN MORE.
When and where are trainings held?
Trainings are held all over the state. Although there is not a set schedule, we offer training periodically. Once we know of your interest, we will keep you posted as to when a training will be held near you. A day of training lasts about six hours with a break for lunch.
Is there a charge to attend RFTS Discussion Leader training?
No, there is no charge.
How do I become certified to lead a RFTS program?
-Attend a RFTS training
-Complete a RFTS Discussion Leader Information Form and Biography
-Observe a RFTS program
What are my responsibilities as a RFTS Discussion Leader?
First and foremost, a Discussion Leader shares a love of books and stories with the parents who attend RFTS. We believe that enjoying children’s literature is contagious! When RFTS participants read and discuss the very books that they will take home, they spread the enthusiasm to their children.
The Missouri Humanities Council handles the scheduling of RFTS programs and contacts a Discussion Leader when there is an opportunity to lead a program. All books and materials are provided by MHC. Once a RFTS program is completed, the Discussion Leader completes an evaluation, writes a detailed narrative report about the program, and inventories the books and materials that are left over.
MHC reimburses Discussion Leaders for travel expenses to and from a program. MHC also offers an honorarium for facilitating a RFTS program.
What other support do RFTS Discussion Leaders receive from MHC?
Discussion Leaders receive email updates with tips and ideas for RFTS programs. A biennial Refresher Training is also offered.
Questions? Contact the Director of Family and Community Programs at 800-357-0909 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Our target audience includes parents/caregivers in Missouri who may have limited access to books, and face economic hardships or educational challenges that make reading to their children difficult.
How often can I apply?
Applications are not limited. However, we have a maximum amount of programs per fiscal year based on available funding.
Where and when are RFTS programs held?
RFTS programs are held throughout the state of Missouri all year long. The MHC partners with local organizations that share a commitment to family reading and literacy. Some of our partners, include Head Start, Parents as Teachers, libraries, schools, and other community action agencies.
Can children attend the RFTS sessions?
Children do not attend the sessions. However, we encourage Host Sites to provide day care.