Motheread/Fatheread Program

mother and son reading 2

The Motheread/Fatheread (MR/FR) program includes 29 thoroughly developed and research-supported lessons to teach literacy skills to parents/caregivers in four key areas: listening, speaking, reading, and writing. MR/FR lessons help parents/caregivers understand the importance of reading regularly to their children. Parents/caregivers not only learn the “why” of reading with their children, but also the “how.”  They learn ways to share stories and themes with children.

MR/FR lessons utilize children’s books as well as adult poems and narratives, and through these sources of text, parents/caregivers are encouraged to make connections between stories and their own experiences. For classes where adult literacy gains are measured, CASAS Competencies (that is, essential life skills for youth and adults that are connected to benefits in the workplace, family, and community) have been linked to each MR/FR lesson.

Program History

The nationally acclaimed Motheread/Fatheread program was developed and disseminated for more than 30 years by Motheread Inc., a North Carolina-based nonprofit organization combining literacy instruction with child development, adult empowerment, or employment skills. In 2019, Helps Education Fund was asked to become the  disseminator of Motheread Inc. programs, such as Motheread/Fatheread, Story Exploring, and others. Given that both Motheread Inc. and Helps Education Fund have missions to provide evidence-based educational programs and services to a wide range of youth and adult students (including a focus on supporting individuals from historically underserved and marginalized communities), Helps Ed Fund was honored to carry on the impactful work initiated by Motheread Inc. and ensure that the internationally renowned Motheread/Fatheread program continues to reach parents and families throughout North Carolina, the United States, and abroad.

Research Supporting Motheread/Fatheread

Like all other programs offered by Helps Education Fund, Motheread/Fatheread is evidence-based and research-supported. Over the past three decades, development and evaluation of MR/FR has engaged scholars, education experts, and researchers who have helped to make its adult and child instructional models and curriculum design relevant, meaningful, and effective.

Several evaluation studies conducted by independent researchers in various parts of the United States have looked at the program’s impact on parents and children, including numerous evaluations with diverse populations. Program evaluations have found a host of positive outcomes associated with MR/FR, including an overall increase in average adult reading levels, parents’ enhanced confidence with reading out loud, increased reading to children in home settings, and increased bonding with children. Parents have also reported positive impacts of the program on their children, including greater child comprehension of story content and enhanced child interest and inquisitiveness during shared reading.

Most recently, a 2018 peer-reviewed, randomized controlled study evaluated the impact of MR/FR on parent reading behaviors and their preschool-aged children’s literacy skills in a rural Colorado community. The study found, for example, that MR/FR was effective at enhancing the quality of parent-child literacy interactions and strengthening the home literacy environment. Furthermore, parents who participated in one semester of the program observed significant improvements in their children’s reading, language, and print skills to a greater degree than parents who had not participated.

Accessing the Motheread/Fatheread Materials

The Motheread/Fatheread materials include a Teacher’s Guide with: 1) lessons designed for adults that can be used in the classroom and 2) numerous supplements that parents can use in the home with their children, aged birth through elementary-school.

Unlike several other programs offered by Helps Education Fund, the MR/FR program materials are not accompanied by a step-by-step user’s guide. Therefore, consistent with the program's long history of dissemination, MR/FR materials can only be accessed by attending a training. Please see the following section for more information.

Training for Motheread/Fatheread Program

The Motheread/Fatheread Institute is a three-day training that prepares educators to implement the MR/FR program with parents to teach literacy skills as well as the importance of reading regularly with their children. The nationally awarded instructional model of the MR/FR Institute addresses a variety of teaching approaches and learning preferences, combining individual assignments with small group work, lectures, and discussion.

All training participants:

  • receive the MR/FR Teacher’s Guide
  • have the option to be granted 20 hours-worth of CEUs from North Carolina State University
  • can contact our expert trainers with questions after the training

Training Cost: $725 per participant

For information about arranging a Motheread/Fatheread training, please contact:                   Haruna Suzuki (Director of Adult, Family, and Community Empowerment Programs) at h.suzuki@helpseducationfund.org.

Note that Helps Education Fund continuously seeks outside funding in order to reduce or eliminate the participant training cost. Please contact Haruna Suzuki at the above email if you are interested in attending a MR/FR training but have questions or concerns about the training costs.

Motheread/Fatheread Classes

In addition to training educators to implement MR/FR through our three-day Institute, we also provide direct classes for parents to benefit from the MR/FR program. Over the past several decades, MR/FR classes have been provided to:

  • parents of all-aged children in a variety of settings
  • grandparents
  • expectant and first-time parents
  • parents recovering from drug and/or alcohol addiction
  • parents who are currently incarcerated.

MR/FR classes can be catered to the needs and goals of the intended audience.

For information about arranging a Motheread/Fatheread class, please contact Haruna Suzuki (Director of Adult, Family, and Community Empowerment Programs) at h.suzuki@helpseducationfund.org.

Frequently Asked Questions About Motheread/Fatheread

Please contact us if you have any questions that are not answered on this page or you simply want to talk with one of our Motheread/Fatheread experts.