Intergenerational reading programs have numerous benefits. It is a method that is the basis of the Justice and Friends Reading Circle. This program was recently launched by the Planting People Growing Justice Leadership Institute (PPGJLI). Our goal is to help children to find joy in reading. To achieve this goal, we are using an intergenerational approach that promotes literacy and diversity in books.
PPGJLI now hosts the monthly read-aloud event virtually with a variety of Black authors. Individuals can participate from the comfort and convenience of home. The Justice and Friends Reading Circle officially launched in February 2022 and will be held every fourth Saturday at 11 a.m.
A wealth of scholarly research is available in prestigious journals about the benefits of intergenerational reading. It provides a bonding experience, enhanced self-esteem, improved memory, and better decision-making skills, in addition to promoting literacy.
An exploration of intergenerational reading by Drs. Emi Isaki and Mary Towle Harmon at Northern Arizona University, published in Communication Disorders Quarterly, demonstrated that it even affects mood and communication in older adults with neurocognitive deficits and mild dementia, and positively influences school-aged children’s perception of older adults.
Intergenerational reading also helps to foster the type of community where lifelong learning is a core value. It expands beyond the schoolhouse to living rooms and kitchen tables where families gather to read together. Reading is an integral part of childhood. I still have fond memories of reading with my grandmother in her den, filled with books. I also remember our weekly trips to the Salvation Army where she purchased books for me. This type of bonding experience lives in children’s memories for their lifetime.
Through a virtual format, the Justice and Friends Reading Circle launched in February 2022 is a modern adaptation of that experience. It is a unique opportunity for adults and children to gather virtually and hear books read by Black authors, while bonding with parents and grandparents at home.
Through her organization, Planting People Growing Justice Leadership Institute, Dr. Artika Tyner seeks to plant seeds of social change through education, training, and community outreach.
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