Families Read First

Families Read First

NLD ID #90022

Contact Information

900 Broad Street
Columbia, MS 39429

Primary Contact

Ryda Worthy

(601) 736-5516


Hours of Operation

8:30 - 6:00 M-Th; 8:30- 5:00 F; 8:30 - 3:00 Sat.

Get Directions

Program Overview

Families Read First is a family reading program designed by the South Mississippi Regional Library System to encourage families to spend time together reading. The goals of the program are to educate parents and caregivers on the importance of reading to children at an early age and to provide families with the skills and resources needed to establish positive reading habits in their own households. The program includes family storytimes on Saturdays, evenings workshops featuring parent education, parent/child activity times, books and resources for families to check out for use at home, reading lists, a social media page devoted to keeping participants informed of the program's progress, updates, and community resources, and free books for all participating children. This program was initiated at the Library System's headquarters, the Columbia-Marion County Public Library, in December 2013, and has recently begun its fourth continuous program cycle.
In December 2013, Families Read First began with a community book give-away. This would be the first of five such events. The books, purchased with funding from community partners and grants, have been distributed by the Columbia Kiwanis group each Christmas, as well as each Christmas and Easter by the Early Steps to School Success (Save the Children) program in each of our two county primary schools. The program recently finished its Christmas 2016 book give-away, which gave away 188 books to local children.
In January 2014, the program hosted its first Family Saturday Storytime, and the program has conducted a total of 16 such programs (through February 2017). During that time, 53 families have registered as participants, and the initiative has given away 1,422 books.
In 2015, the program began hosting an annual One Book, One Community family reading project featuring a children's book, during which 100 local families received a copy of the chosen book.
Upcoming plans for Families Read First include: addressing the literacy needs of program participants by pairing family members (both adult and youth) that are struggling readers with tutoring opportunities; a partnership with local pediatricians and health departments to provide new mothers with reading resources and free books; and a partnership with a local community organization to supply children being placed in foster care with vouchers for free books, to be included in the bags this organization already distributes to these children.

This program listing was last updated: February 21, 2017.

All information has been provided by this organization. Do you see outdated information? Please contact NLD Support.

Education services

  • Read and write better