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Reading Aloud to Children at Project Homeless Connect

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Supporting Literature


Di Santo, A. (2012). Promoting preschool literacy: A family literacy program for homeless mothers and their children. Childhood Education, 88(4), 232–240. DOI: 10.1080/00094056.2012.699855


Di Santo describes a six-session literacy program undertaken with families in a shelter. Table 1 (page 235) provides a table of books and key messages that were used in the program and will assist volunteers in talking points for selected books.


Duursma, E., Augustyn, M., & Zuckerman, B. (2008). Reading aloud to children: the evidence. Archives of Disease in Childhood, 93(7), 554–557. DOI: 10.1136/adc.2006.106336


This article brings together the “common knowledge” that reading to young children is beneficial. Specifically, how the aspects of reading out loud influence the comprehension of written language, understanding of story structures (beginning, middle, and end), syntax and grammar, and of language sound awareness (phonics). They also provide guidance to the reader with explanations of how pausing during reading and allowing for discussion afterward allows children to invest in the story.


Gillie, J. (2017, April 5). Pierce County homeless numbers decline in new count. The News Tribune. Retrieved from


This local news article is ready reference to the number of homeless people we currently may have in our home community. It proves that people are in need of the services at the October 25 event.


MacGillivray, L., Ardell, A. L., & Curwen, M. S. (2010). Supporting the literacy development of children living in homeless shelters. The Reading Teacher, 63(5), 384–392. DOI: 10.1598/RT.63.5.4

MacGillivray has written about several efforts to support literacy in unstable living situations, including this joint-authored review of the obstacles of raising a family in a shelter and the influencers of literacy in shelters. Understanding these obstacles allows our reading volunteers to empathize with homeless families.


Mankiw, S., & Strasser, J. (2013). Tender topics: Exploring sensitive issues with pre-K through first-grade children through reading aloud. Young Children, 68(1), 84–89. Retrieved from


This instructor’s guide discusses therapy through reading aloud and encouraging children to relate experiences that may otherwise be difficult to express. Reading volunteers need this information to understand the potential conversations that may result from reading with children from transient living situations.


May, L., & Bingham, G. (2015). Making Sense with Informational Texts: The Interactive Read-Aloud as Responsive Teaching. Talking Points, 27(1), 21–26. Retrieved from


May and Bingham write about reading aloud to children (not just homeless children) and the importance of creating an interactive environment that enriches the experience for the children. In particular, the discussion of activity during the reading may be important for volunteer readers to understand; keeping children sitting quietly is not ideal for reading interaction.


Reading to Young Children: Indicators on Children and Youth. (2015, June). Child Trends Data Bank. Retrieved from


This quantitative data shows that poverty status negatively affects the likelihood that a child (ages 3 to 5) is frequently read to at home. From this, we might extrapolate that reading time is precious, and so our event work is necessary.


Trelease, J. (2014). Trelease on Reading [website]. Retrieved from

Trelease authored The Read-Aloud Handbook, which was published in seven editions over 34 years and has been translated into several languages, and his site offers free resources that encourage people to prioritize reading with children. Materials include free printable handouts for parents, teachers, and librarians; articles that support various aspects of children's literacy; and tips to foster a child's interest in reading. ​Note that reading lists and poster downloads are a little dated.


Walker-Dalhouse, D., & Risko, V.  J. (2008). Homelessness, poverty, and children's literacy development. Reading Teacher, 62(1), 84-86. Retrieved from


This article addresses the classroom teacher in observing the barriers to early childhood literacy for children in poverty and helps guide their entrance into the school setting to become active participants and leaders. This helps model our volunteer work in our small group settings at the event.

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