Reading Rocks! at the Skokie Library and now on-site at The Douglas Center.
Reading is an essential everyday activity at The Douglas Center. We partnered with Skokie Library in 2015 to start a book club and it’s still going strong. In this program, participants visit the library and interact within the community. The opportunity to socialize, read aloud and talk about the stories is a very important part of the experience.
Participants with limited or no reading skills are also invited to be part of the group with a help of a staff member by echo reading - where a volunteer reads one word and then client repeats the word – a session might sound like this “the, the - cat, cat - in, in - the, the - hat, hat.” Our most recent echo reader to join this group is blind and growing up he did not have the opportunity to learn much Braille – now, he has a way to read.
The Douglas Center continues to send participants to Skokie Library on a weekly basis but we are also excited to announce we now have our own book club. Using the experience at Skokie Library as a template, The Douglas Center developed their own internal reading program. Bringing the experience to the center especially helps those who have difficulties with transitions and often are very uncomfortable going to unfamiliar places.
The group named themselves the “Reading Adventurers” and look forward to book club each week. Reading Adventurers group meets once a week for 8 weeks and then we rotate and giving other participants a chance. We currently have one volunteer who specifically works with small groups of participants to give them the book club experience on site. Our volunteer is super excited about the reading group and comes in each week with great ideas and lots of enthusiasm – the clients love talking with her. Our volunteer, along with the Director of Programs and Services, Elizabeth, spend time one-on-one and in some cases, echo read with participants helping to develop and improve their reading skills.
We have even started working on building a library within The Douglas Center. From an unused, large office, a library has bloomed – along with more excitement and interest in books and reading.
We have received book donations from people in the community. Our shelves are slowly becoming filled with books that range from only pictures to low, middle and higher reading levels. We have a ways to go to stock all the shelves, but we will get there.