April 28, 2014 Articles

Reading Aloud to Children and Its Impact on Literacy and Crime

Be the change that our youth need.

By Andre J. Webb

More than 60 percent of all prison inmates are functionally illiterate and an astounding 85 percent of all juveniles who interface with the juvenile court system are the same. Penal-institution records show that inmates who receive literacy help have a 54 percent reduced chance of returning to prison, as opposed to those who do not. That said, I urge you to look into the reading-assistance programs in your area. One such program is 100 Men Reading.

Uniqueness and Genesis of 100 Men Reading
Though there are hundreds of reading organizations around the nation, 100 Men Reading is unique because of its genesis with a 10-year-old child, Imani Henry. Imani experienced trouble learning how to read. While receiving reading help from local reading programs, she recognized the low number of men who were assisting children with reading. Well aware of her mother’s involvement with community-service programs, Imani urged her to write a grant application asking for assistance with Imani’s vision to increase the number of men involved in reading programs. The grant would be used to create a program where men of diverse professions and backgrounds united and read aloud to children. In addition to the educational value, the program would afford children an opportunity to interact with a positive male role model, one that many may not have in their lives. The result of the grant was the 100 Men Reading program. As of today, the program has distributed over 12,000 books, registered over 2,000 volunteer hours, and provided services to over 125 educational centers and schools. This is a significant accomplishment achieved by the arduous efforts of all volunteers, men and women alike.

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