CYC Families Read

About the Program

Checking out a book with Dad

The CYC Families Read program, now in its twenty fourth semester, has evolved from a reading get-together opportunity among a small group of CYC Purple Room families during the summer of 2003 to its present form: a school-wide sharing of books and reading experiences. That the program has been sustained over this long time is in great part due to the efforts of Kathy Hedge, the parent “founder”, who nurtured the program from summer 2003-spring 2006, and all subsequent parent “coordinators”. During this time, over 150 quality picture books of various genres have been shared and enjoyed by participants. A little language of its own has emerged: you’ll hear children talking about “punch cards” and “pom poms” and “book reports”.

During spring 2004, nineteen (19) children at CYC finished reading all twelve books selected for that first semester’s school wide introduction to the program. In the spring of 2011, one hundred (100) children completed all twelve books selected! Generous support by the CYC PTA, as well as continuous participation from returning families each year and their helpful gestures toward “new” families discovering the program for the first time, have assured the program’s success. It helps mightily that children enjoy the many distinct elements of program participation.

The CYC Families Read program was featured in a breakout session at the 2005 NAEYC conference. It was included in the winter 2009 issue of TERP magazine, as part of an article exploring “reading clubs” on campus, and generated many phone calls and emails of interest from Maryland alumni looking for great books to read to their children/grandchildren. A DC homeless shelter modeled its own family reading program after a CYC parent had visited and talked about our program. Clearly, what began so simply in the summer of 2003 has taken hold, has assumed a life of its own, and has become, as one father at CYC commented, “a signature program here at CYC”. We appreciate that Target Corporation provided a generous grant to support this program for five years.

How CYC Families Read Works

Book Selection

Each semester, eight or ten picture books are selected by the CYC Assistant Director, a former children’s literature instructor here at the University, for families to read. These books represent all genres of picture books and may be classics or recent publications, may be written by favorite authors, or by new authors hoping to become future “legends” in the field. Varying styles of illustration and book formats are highlighted, acknowledging children’s ability to recognize story narrative through text AND illustrations. Interactive game-like and wordless books are often featured. Quality and appeal are the guiding principles of book selection, with the CYC community of children and families ever in mind as books are chosen.


Click here to see the Spring 2017 Families Read Book List

LogoChimpanzees for Tea by Jo Empson

Egg by Kevin Henkes

Good Dog Carl and the Baby Elephant by Alexander Day

The Great Journey by Agathe Demois

Plant the Tiny Seed by Christie Matheson

Hank Finds an Egg by Rebbecca Dudley




Program Steps

Every semester, each child is provided with a “punch card” to use as program books are read. It is recommended that this card be kept at school in your child’s cubby so it is not lost! The card is laminated for durability. Your child’s name is written on the front, and book titles and authors are listed on the back.

Checking out a book

CYC Families Read books (6-7 copies of each book) are provided for checkout each semester in the Great Room area at CYC as follows: