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Daddy & Me


Last week Correctional Services completed a new program at Rikers Island called Daddy & Me. The program is designed to encourage early literacy efforts for incarcerated fathers. After two workshops on the importance of early literacy and storytelling skills, the dads involved began to record stories for their children. There were eight men in the program, most of them with more than one young child. We recorded them reading their children's favorite books and this morning they presented the finished CDs with the books to their kids. The program went wonderfully with the help of a few very dedicated people in both the library and the jail. The fathers themselves put forth amazing effort and produced some beautiful recordings for their kids. A few of them had great fun while others fought timidity and trepidation to get through the recording process. The kids were incredible, cute, in love with their dads and genuinely excited the books themselves! We could clearly see that we did our job well.

I dare anyone to find a more warm and fuzzy program than this. I don't say that with any irony or with any disregard for the program's potential for lasting change. It truly is an encouraging and special entryway into similar and expanded programming for more people in jail, and their children. With the Daddy & Me program we hope to garner attention in the form of new grants, new patrons (such as other correctional facilities in New York and other housing units within Rikers), and media coverage. We already have a plan to begin the program anew with some of the mothers at Rikers next month. Without exploiting the private moments between parent and child, we need to use the Daddy & Me program as an example of the power of books in the process of rehabilitation and simply, the joys and benefits of early literacy. But just as importantly, we need to show that programs with immediate and tangible impact are not the only programs worth supporting. There are still thousands of people aon Rikers Island who do not have access to general library service and expanding our service to reach them is a very high priority for us.

This program is supported in part by the New York State Library’s Family Literacy Library Services grant program.


Daddy & Me: Clifford y La Hora del Bano
November 15, 2010

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Please may I try to start Dad (and Mom) and Me in South Africa

The ramifications are huge! Absent father tells story to child in challenging circumstances/dire poverty/violent neighbourhood. Gives the child affirmation that he/she is cared for and valued. That is worth Millions of $ worth of further incarceration of those same children in the future. Input like this can, and WILL change livess. Please try to push this programme inter-library and even lobby it in parliament. I want to contact NGO's, libraries, political parties, Churches, Mosques and Temples here in SA to attempt to get this programme running in South Africa. O ur prisons are overcrowded, rape is rife. prisoner on prisoner and warden on prisoner violence and murder is rrife. Gangstrs run their gangs with the help of the police. We NEED this programme. So does the USA. Dynamics are different, but similar in many ways. Please contact me and send me details on, or any guidelines regarding- setting up a Daddy (and Mommy) and Me programme in South Africa. Very sincere regards Lynda Jones (Ex. ANC Ward secretary, COPE Regional council nominee, no longer politically active)

another program in US

Many of the prisons in Vermont and New Hampshire have similar "Storybook Programs" for incarcerated fathers and mothers. The Children's Literacy Foundation (CLiF) has a program to support these efforts and to encourage reading among the children of prison inmates and their families by providing new books, storytelling events, literacy seminars, and more. As Sarah writes above, these are incredibly powerful and important programs that offer the opportunity for lasting change. We encourage others to start or support such literacy programs in prisons across the country and the world, as the previous commenter hopes to do in South Africa!


i am very proud to say that my husband JOSE ANTONIO ROSADO was part of this program,i must also add that it was a success,my childern & i were very happy to be able to be a part of this program & i would like to thank the new york public library & the new york times for making this program possible,i loved to see the beautiful glow & smile on my son's face when they were actually able 2 enjoy their visit with their father,thank you i am eternally greatful...the ROSADO FAMILY

Keep in touch

Hi Mrs. Rosado, I hope you and your family are well. It was a pleasure getting to know Jose over the 4 weeks of the program. We managed to find time to talk about what books we like to read and what books we want to read to our kids. I can't think of a better way to spend my time as a librarian than to sit around and talk books with an avid reader like Jose. It was also great to meet you and your beautiful kids at the reception. Jose is very lucky to have such a loving family. I don't have your contact info, so please shoot me a line from time to time to let me know how you all are doing. Reach me at or 212-340-0971. Hope to hear from you. Take care, Nick Higgins, Correctional Services Librarian

Storybook Project in Illinois

Storybook Project, similar to Daddy and Me, has been held in prisons in Illinois for over 12 years. Currently we take children's books into 16 jails and prisons across the state. There we help the incarcerated moms and dads choose a book and read it aloud while we record them. The recordings are burned to a CD and the book and CD are mailed to their children. We are fully dependent upon donations of books and the financial support of churches and individuals across the state and throughout the nation. Because of the dedication of over 100 Illinois volunteers, last year more than 3,000 incarcerated parents sent books and recordings to more than 5,000 of their children. Please go to our website or email me if you have questions about how to start a similar program in your local jail or prison.


I am FSW (Family Support Worker) for a not for profit organization. Bushwick Bright Start Healthy Families New York. I came across this article looking for ways I can bring Fathers/father figures together with their children. I will like to know how can I go about gathering more information so that we can continue to bring families together and also help tthe young men and woman in our community continue to be the best parents they can.

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