Making Reading Memories

“I thought it was absolutely wonderful and the boys just LOVED seeing and hearing their daddy read to them!
It was truly touching!”

– caregiver participating in the Making Reading Memories program

“My kids got the books and watched the videos yesterday. The boys loved them and were interacting with the video. I was told they were trying to read along and watch me. I sincerely appreciate the MRM program. I’ve never done anything like this before, but it really and truly is an amazing experience not only for the kids but for me as well.”
– parent in jail participating in the Making Reading Memories program


We know reading to children develops skills that help them succeed in school and in their adult lives. In Making Reading Memories (MRM), parents in jail are video recorded reading a book to their child. The video file and a hard copy of the book are then sent to the child and their caregiver to view, thus allowing children to watch and read along with their parents anytime.

A unique aspect of this program is the educational component. Parents participate in a one-hour workshop where University Extension educators guide parents on dialogic reading techniques and help them select a developmentally appropriate book and practice reading. This way, parents feel more prepared and comfortable reading to their children while being recorded.  


  • Reading and looking at books together helps maintain the parent/child bond.
  • Literacy exposure is increased.
  • The contact between parent and child while parent is incarcerated increases the probability of a successful transition back into the child’s life upon reentry. A smooth reentry leads to better outcomes, including lower recidivism rates.
  • Consistent contact with parents can also reduce the trauma for children during this stressful time.

Example Video: Created by a Volunteer