Family R.E.A.D. Club to offer interactive learning focused on diversity and inclusion

Indiana University East Campus Library and the School of Education are collaborating on a new project that will serve families with children in grades K-12.

child reading a book

Children in the Third Grade Reading Academy visited the Campus Library this summer. Daily reading time was spent in the library with the book of their choice.

The Family R.E.A.D. Club – Read, Explore, Ask, Discover – promotes reading an array of nonfiction books and engaging in dynamic, interactive learning together as a family. The program is coordinated by Campus Library Director Frances Yates.

The Family R.E.A.D. Club meets once a month on Saturdays beginning September 14. The program will highlight themes related to diversity and inclusion, and will be facilitated by IU East students, faculty and staff.  The upcoming themes include:

  • September 14: College GO!, Hispanic Heritage and Healthy You!
  • October 12: Chemistry, Health Literacy and Manufacturing
  • November 9: Memoir Writing, Native American Heritage and STEAM

Through the project, youth and adults are encouraged to read, share ideas and learn through stories, games, media, and other creative activities. Books, resources, and activities are featured in a free online resource guide: The resource guide is curated by IU East librarians, students, and faculty.

Rebekah Williams, a senior elementary education major, is the student coordinator for the Family R.E.A.D. project. She is the recipient of the Fall 2019 Paul Kriese Service Engagement Scholarship. Williams said the program is a way for families to connect during the learning process.

“Family R.E.A.D is not only beneficial for students, but for the adults who bring them to this event as well,” Williams said. “Everyone is learning together and that is a beautiful thing to be a part of and experience.”

By participating in the program, community members will visit campus and become acquainted with a college setting. “This helps people feel more comfortable on a college campus and may help them think about college as an option for their future,” she said.

IU East elementary education majors who are taking courses in reading and subject methods will design and produce learning discovery centers with activities relevant to the monthly themes. The students will participate as learning facilitators, interacting with youth and families at each program. The educational content they develop will be included in the R.E.A.D. resource guide available online, categorized by each month’s theme.

Williams added the resource guide will include activities centered on the nonfiction books for that month as well as videos, resources, additional books and websites related to the topic.

Denice Honaker, assistant professor of Early Childhood and Literacy Education for the School of Education, said she is excited about the collaborative program. She is also the coordinator of Early Childhood Programming at IU East.

“The Family R.E.A.D. Club is a purposeful way for the IU East campus to connect with families in our community to support them in literacy learning,” Honaker said. “The hands-on centers will be fun, and families will be supported in ways to engage with non-fiction texts. Students in the elementary education program will be involved in developing activities and working with families during the Saturday adventures.”

In addition to the elementary education majors, students working through the IU East Center for Service Learning will participate. This includes IU East students who have experience as tutors and mentors in the Indiana Kids program.

Williams hopes the youth and families participating in the Family R.E.A.D. Club will find that reading nonfiction books are more than educational, they can be fun too.

“Our main goal is to get children and adults acquainted with nonfiction books that are engaging and inspiring,” Williams said. “We know how difficult it is to find books that help you love reading both from personal experience and as a professional educator. We hope that this program helps students and their families find books that help them love to read. We also hope that this program can help adults and children see how easy it is to love reading and learning. There are so many ways you can learn. Books are powerful, and we hope that this program reflects that. We know that we have learned so much already and hope that the participants do as well.”

To participate in the Family R.E.A.D. Club, free registration is available online at  The event will be the second Saturday of the month from 10 a.m. to 11:30 in the Campus Library, located in Hayes Hall on the IU East campus. Participants will have their choice among several learning discovery centers.

Funding support for the Family R.E.A.D program is provided by the Indiana University Women’s Philanthropy Leadership Council.