The Little Readers program meets the special needs of children living through the hardships of parental incarceration by providing them with much-needed bonding and reading opportunities with their incarcerated parent. Little Readers allows children to see and hear their incarcerated parent or grandparent reading a book to them via DVD. The book and personalized read-aloud DVD are sent to the child via HeartBound, along with a list of literacy and nutritional resources, a handmade bookmark from the parent, and a postcard. Children can watch the DVD and read the book repeatedly, providing valuable and continual connections with their parent while promoting literacy and book access.
The goal of the Little Readers program is three-fold: 1) ease children’s anxieties about their parent’s absence; 2) empower incarcerated parents to continue their parental involvement and invest in their children’s academic futures so that kids can thrive and learn; and 3) promote a culture of literacy in homes impacted by incarceration. The program also includes the Little Readers Book Club, which places children’s books in prison visitation rooms and provides incentives for children to read along with their parent during visitation.