Partner Spotlight: Enoch Pratt Free Library's Family Reading Circles

The Enoch Pratt Free Library has offered programs for children since 1927 and is a nationally recognized urban library leader. Throughout the past 88 years, the Pratt has offered high quality programs that foster literacy skills and spark interest in lifelong learning. Pratt children’s programming combines the latest research with our long experience to result in popular programs that make a real difference for children and families.

The Helen J. Serini Foundation is proud to support one of these programs: Family Reading Circles. In this program, families take part in intergenerational reading groups that help strengthen reading comprehension and stimulate and generate engaging discussions. Families are encouraged to read together, strengthen the family unit through enjoyable literacy activities, and help build family libraries.

The Northwood library session of Family Reading Circles began in October, 2015 and ran through November, 2015, with 12 families participating. According to Program Director Monalisa Degross,

"Rose Harris-Jones was especially enthusiastic about her family’s participation.  Rose told me that of her five children (ages seven, nine, 11, 12 and 15) who attended Family Reading, only the older two were enthusiastic at the beginning. Rose’s nine and 11 year old children were painfully shy and took several weeks to warm-up. But by the third week they got on board they commented on each book we read and asked questions.  By the program’s end the seven year old read with a little more fluency.  Ms. Jones- Harris said that her children’s enthusiasm for the program carried over at home.  The family discussed the books on the way home and throughout the week talked about and contrasted the different books and even argued for their favorite books!

Rose Harris-Jones was very complimentary about the program and how it helped her five children look at books from a new and more eager perspective.  She said her middle child particularly gained a great deal of confidence from reading aloud in front of an audience.  Rose Harris-Jones has already signed up for another session."

The Enoch Pratt Free Library is one of the oldest free public library systems in the United States, serving the residents of Baltimore with locations throughout the city, and the residents of Maryland as the State Library Resource Center. The library's mission is to provide equal access to information and services that empower, enrich, and enhance the quality of life for all. For more information, visit