Home Advantage with Parents as Partners for Youth
HAPPY Reading began when the Virginia Governor’s Office asked literacy educator Angie Miles to create a parent involvement pilot program for the state’s public schools. Angie had been working as the regional Reading Ambassador through the area’s Chamber of Commerce. In that role, she had helped to start the city’s Book Bank, to host read-alouds and parent workshops and to help launch a number of literacy initiatives in partnership with businesses and community organizations.
The program launched as HAPPY Reading at Richmond, Virginia’s Chimborazo Elementary School in the spring of 2004. The name was a blend of phrases taken from a Parent Teacher Association slogan and one of the pillars of the Richmond Region Reads campaign. It emphasized the vital point that learners have a distinct advantage in academics and in life when they have informed and involved parents working in tandem with educators and others.
That first program became HAPPY Primary and it included volunteers reading aloud and asking critical thinking questions in classrooms four days each week. Through the volunteers, the children were able to meet and learn from an array of reading role models. The stories and poems they heard were all aligned with the content they were studying, so the read aloud time was content-driven and even more beneficial than the already powerful literacy support derived from that enrichment time.
HAPPY Primary also included family night events, which created time for families to play and to bond with books and with community in a variety of ways. And parents learned how to be more effective partners because of our parent workshops.
From that first semester of HAPPY Primary, we have expanded our services into homeless shelters, therapeutic treatment programs, hospitals, jails and many other places where learners, parents and other educators and community leaders can work together to make the life-changing difference that literacy learners need to thrive.
Today, we are a 501(c)3 public charity, and we welcome you to help us, let us help you, and become part of our HAPPY Reading mission to provide literacy support services to empower the world.
We help to create readers by thinking outside the book.