Motheread/Fatheread Program

mother and son reading 2

The Motheread/Fatheread (MR/FR) program includes 29 thoroughly developed and research-supported lessons that help parents/caregivers to enhance their literacy skills in four key areas: listening, speaking, reading, and writing. MR/FR lessons also emphasize the importance of reading regularly to children. Parents/caregivers not only learn the “why” of reading with their children, but also the “how.”  They learn how to share stories and themes with children in engaging ways that will help to enhance their vocabulary, comprehension, and critical thinking.

MR/FR lessons utilize children’s books as well as adult literature to encourage parents/caregivers and children to make connections between stories and their own experiences.

Program History

The nationally acclaimed Motheread/Fatheread program was developed and disseminated for more than 30 years by Motheread Inc., a North Carolina-based nonprofit organization combining literacy instruction with child development, adult empowerment, or employment skills. In 2019, Helping Education was asked to take on the dissemination of Motheread Inc. programs, such as Motheread/Fatheread, Story Exploring, and others. Given that both Motheread Inc. and Helping Education have missions to provide evidence-based educational programs and services to a wide range of youth and adult students (including a focus on supporting individuals from historically underserved and marginalized communities), Helps Ed Fund was honored to carry on the impactful work initiated by Motheread Inc. and ensure that the internationally renowned Motheread/Fatheread program continues to reach parents and families throughout North Carolina, the United States, and abroad.

Research Supporting Motheread/Fatheread

Like all other programs offered by Helping Education, Motheread/Fatheread is evidence-based and research-supported. Over the past three decades, development and evaluation of MR/FR has engaged scholars, education experts, and researchers who have helped to make its adult and child instructional models and curriculum design relevant, meaningful, and effective.

Several evaluation studies conducted by independent researchers in various parts of the United States have looked at the program’s impact on parents and children, including numerous evaluations with diverse populations. Program evaluations have found a host of positive outcomes associated with MR/FR, including an overall increase in average adult reading levels, parents’ enhanced confidence with reading out loud, increased reading to children in home settings, and increased bonding with children. Parents have also reported positive impacts of the program on their children, including greater child comprehension of story content and enhanced child interest and inquisitiveness during shared reading.

Most recently, a 2018 peer-reviewed, randomized controlled study evaluated the impact of MR/FR on parent reading behaviors and their preschool-aged children’s literacy skills in a rural Colorado community. The study found, for example, that MR/FR was effective at enhancing the quality of parent-child literacy interactions and strengthening the home literacy environment. Furthermore, parents who participated in one semester of the program observed significant improvements in their children’s reading, language, and print skills to a greater degree than parents who had not participated.

Accessing the Motheread/Fatheread Materials

The Motheread/Fatheread materials include a Teacher’s Guide with: 1) lessons designed for adults that can be used in the classroom and 2) numerous supplements that parents can use in the home with their children, aged birth through elementary-school.

Unlike several other programs offered by Helping Education, the MR/FR program materials are not accompanied by a step-by-step user’s guide. Therefore, consistent with the program's long history of dissemination, MR/FR materials can only be accessed by attending a training. Please see the following section for more information.

Training for Motheread/Fatheread Program

The Motheread/Fatheread Institute is a 20-hour training that prepares educators to implement the MR/FR program with parents to teach literacy skills as well as the importance of reading regularly with their children. The nationally awarded instructional model of the MR/FR Institute addresses a variety of teaching approaches and learning preferences, combining individual assignments with small group work, lectures, and discussion.

All training participants:

  • receive the MR/FR Teacher’s Guide
  • have the option to be granted 20 hours-worth of CEUs from North Carolina State University
  • can contact our expert trainers with questions after the training

Training Cost: TBA (Training is offered both in virtual and in-person formats).

For information about arranging a Motheread/Fatheread training, please contact: Gwen Hinton (Director of Adult, Family, and Community Empowerment Programs) at g.hinton@helping

Note that Helping Education continuously seeks outside funding in order to reduce or eliminate the participant training cost. Please contact Gwen Hinton at the above email if you are interested in attending a MR/FR training but have questions or concerns about the training costs.

Motheread/Fatheread Classes

In addition to training educators to implement MR/FR through our Institute training, Helping Education provides MR/FR classes in six correctional facilities in North Carolina:

  • North Carolina Institution for Women (minimum security)
  • North Carolina Institution for Women (maximum security)
  • Anson Correctional Institution (female unit)
  • Anson Correctional Institution (male unit)
  • Western Correctional Center for Women
  • Central Prison

Our Philosophy on Providing Programming in Prisons

Helping Education is committed to approaching this work with humility, respect, and dignity. We are not in correctional facilities to "save" or "rehabilitate" our students but to learn and grow alongside them as they carve out and achieve the educational goals that are meaningful for them and their families. We view our work in prisons as a matter of educational justice and equity, but ultimately strive to see a world without mass incarceration and its damaging impacts on marginalized individuals, families, and communities.

We are able to provide Motheread/Fatheread classes in any setting aimed at supporting parents and caregivers. For information about arranging a Motheread/Fatheread class in your community, please contact Gwen Hinton (Director of Adult, Family, and Community Empowerment Programs) at

Frequently Asked Questions About Motheread/Fatheread

Please contact us if you have any questions that are not answered on this page or you simply want to talk with one of our Motheread/Fatheread experts.