New Reading Room at Rise Domestic Violence Shelter - (11/3/2017)
A love for reading is beneficial for all children, but studies indicate that it may be especially helpful for children who've experienced domestic violence.
Repeated trauma, such as witnessing domestic violence, can alter the neural systems in the developing brain, resulting in frequent anxiety and fear. Reading is an effective relaxation technique, with just six minutes spent immersed in a book slowing the heart beat, lessening muscle tension, and altering the reader's state of mind, resulting in a 60% reduction in stress levels (Lewis, 2009).
The bond between non-abusive parent and child is weakened in families affected by domestic violence, although a strong bond is essential to recovery from trauma and resilience (Children's Bureau, 2014). Reading together is a shared activity that can promote bonding between parent and child. In a recent study, young children who read frequently with their parents experienced stronger parent-child relationships (Hutton et al., 2015).
Children affected by domestic violence tend to struggle with reading, with 40% of children from homes with violence experiencing lower reading abilities than their peers (UNICEF), and performing significantly worse on standardized reading examinations (Center for Advanced Studies in Child Welfare, 2013).
In October 2017, construction began on a new children's reading room at Rise's domestic violence shelter. This was made possible by a grant from the Roger Kresge Foundation, made in honor of longtime board member Robert Carey, who also serves as Treasurer on the Rise Board of Directors. The reading room, located adjacent to the living room, will be designed to be a comfortable atmosphere to relax with a book. When completed, the room will feature a mural of sea creatures and wildlife, stuffed floor cushions, and built-in bookshelves and seat. It will be stocked with books promoting strong female role models and culture, ethnic and religious diversity. Kindles with VoiceView will also be available for residents who are blind, visually impaired, or dyslexic. Rise hopes to complete this project, as well as create a reading nook for adults, by June 2018.
Progress on the room as of 11/3/17
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