September 14, 2018 | Jim Townsend
University of Houston-Clear Lake’s Habitat for Reading program celebrates its third anniversary this fall, continuing to provide personalized, age-appropriate mini-libraries to children in Habitat for Humanity homes. The program’s purpose is to help develop and nurture a habit and love of reading, and build the literacy skills necessary for personal, academic, and lifelong success.
The books are specifically targeted to each child’s interests. Parents receive UHCL student-produced workbooks and videos that help promote parent-child reading time.
The program is the initiative of Sheila Baker, College of Education assistant professor of literacy, language and library science. Baker was first exposed to the concept of book collections for Habitat for Humanity families while a doctoral student in Florida. She said she found the two habitat programs to be a natural fit.
“There is research that not only shows the importance of quality housing on the successful development of children, but also shows the critical role that reading plays in childhood and future success,” she said. “Children whose parents read to them at home are much more successful in school.”
This past spring, Habitat for Reading and UHCL’s Student Literacy Chapter hosted an event on campus for five Habitat families, including four new ones, inviting parents and children to stock their home libraries and enjoy “story time” provided by volunteers.
Since the UHCL program’s inception, 11 Habitat for Humanity families have received home libraries. Book donations are made possible by the Bill and Helen Crowder Foundation in Pasadena and other sources. From the money donated, Baker purchases books for the libraries from wholesalers for the best possible price.