A bedtime story

At 7:30 p.m., the clock chimes bedtime at the home of little Suzie Q. Her parents kneel beside her bed, fold her hands and say a few prayers. They read her The Cat in the Hat and Goodnight Moon. They tuck her into bed, and wait for the inevitable moment when Susie crawls back out again, asking for a glass of water.

While this may be a familiar scene, there are a number of children who don't have the privilege of being read to before bed. Darlene Bakke, director of the Borromeo Housing, a home for single mothers and their children, realized this as she tried to show the young mothers how to read to their children.

"The mothers had never been read to as children, and so they didn't understand the importance of it," she said.

Now they've gone back to the basics, said Bakke. "We've really revamped to incorporate literacy in every group meeting." Volunteers come in to read to the children, showing the mothers how to change their voices for different characters, and to ask pertinent questions as the children follow along. They've created a reading corner filled with kids' books, in addition to the shelf of books they've always had for the mothers, said Bakke.

"The children love it," she said. "Literacy is more than just reading - it's pointing out number and color and it will benefit their children later."

At the education-focused home, the mothers often joke that their children will see them reading textbooks more than anything else, said Bakke. All of the mothers must be full-time students, either in high school, college or a certification program.

"Our mothers are (often) the first in their family to graduate high school and the first to go to the college," said Bakke. "If we change this mother's cycle, their child will not be in poverty. It makes a big difference in their lives."

Support Borromeo Housing

Their 'Springtime Soiree' will be held April 23 at St. Charles Borromeo Catholic Church in Arlington. To buy tickets, visit here or call Margie Bell at 571/216-1689.

Di Mauro can be reached at zdimauro@catholicherald.com or on Twitter @zoeydimauro.

© Arlington Catholic Herald 2016