January 29, 2019 

Motheread/Fatheread Colorado Has Significant Impact on Parent-Child Reading Peer Reviewed Study Finds.

DENVER—Colorado Humanities is excited to announce the findings of a five-year study as part of the Mile High United Way Social Innovation Fund on the impact of the Motheread/Fatheread Colorado program published in the peer-reviewed journal Early Education and Development.

The study, conducted by the OMNI Institute, found that Motheread/Fatheread Colorado (MFC) had a significant impact on the frequency and quality of parent-child reading. Parents read more frequently with their children and showed more active reading behaviors. In addition, children of MFC parents had faster growth on the teacher-observed TS Gold language domain than children whose parents didn’t participate in MFC.

MFC trains facilitators to work with groups of parents of infants through early elementary school in a series of sessions to help them to discover the vital link between literature and life. The curriculum uses children’s books and adult poems and narratives to teach literacy-promoting skills to adults. Each lesson in the 29-lesson curriculum includes a variety of ways to develop parents and children’s literacy skills.

“Participating parents, no matter what their reading level, read aloud more actively and frequently, promoting home reading behaviors that we know improve children’s school success,” said Josephine Jones, Director of Programs and Center of the Book for Colorado Humanities. “Enjoying reading together and talking about the issues in the stories and their lives results in better communications, reasoning abilities, critical thinking, and decision-making skills. Now that we know the benefits of the Motheread/Fatheread Colorado program, we’re working to increase the number of people offering the program so more children and families can participate.”

“Mile High United Way believes all children should be reading at grade-level by the end of third grade. The impact of early childhood programs like Motheread/Fatheread Colorado, implemented by Colorado Humanities, is a great example of the depth of research that the Mile High United Way Social Innovation Fund (SIF) supported over the five years of the program. Because of SIF, the early childhood field now has a portfolio of evidence-based programs that strengthen children’s reading abilities. We are incredibly proud of the work we have done together, and the work Colorado Humanities will continue to do for our children,” said Christine Benero, President and CEO, Mile High United Way.

Colorado Humanities provides facilitator training for school, library, and preschool staff; offers curricula, books, and coaching; and may be able to partner with local agencies to raise funds for implementation at local sites. The next 3-day Motheread/Fatheread Institute will be held with partner El Paso County Alliance for Kids in Colorado Springs:

Feb. 6 – 8, 2019
Tim Gill Center
315 E. Costilla Street
Colorado Springs, CO 80903

Trained facilitators receive certification, 2.0 CEUs from North Carolina State University, and a curriculum that includes working with English Language Learners and materials in English and Spanish. To learn more about this professional development opportunity, contact Debbie Butkus, Colorado Humanities Motheread/Fatheread Colorado Program Coordinator, or 303.894.7951 x12. 

The full journal article in Early Education and Development is titled "Results from a Randomized Controlled Trial of the Motheread/Fatheread Early Literacy Intervention: Evidence of Impact in a Rural Community" by Holen K. Hirsh, Melissa K. Richmond, Fred C. Pampel, Shelby S. Jones, Anthony C. Molieri & Josephine Jones. (For access visit or contact Colorado Humanities for a copy.)


The OMNI Institute is a social science research, evaluation, and consulting firm that specializes in working with nonprofits and government agencies focused on addressing human development, public and behavioral health, and adult and juvenile justice reform. Our teams work to ensure data are both accessible and actionable to ultimately drive improvements in practice, policy, and systems. We know that when our clients and community stakeholders can access the answers they need and have the capacity to act on it, they can be proactive agents in creating a brighter, more equitable future for all.

Mile High United Way fights for the education, health and financial stability of everyone in Metro Denver.  Our united approach changes the odds for the children, families, and individuals in our community, and moves them out of poverty. We believe every child has the right to a safe and stimulating place to learn, and that when every youth in Metro Denver graduates prepared for college or career, our community is stronger. We also know that when people don’t have their most basic needs met, longer-term goals like financial stability, are out of reach. When we work together, we make a lasting, holistic, and sustainable impact on our community.  Learn more at

Colorado Humanities is the only Colorado organization exclusively dedicated to supporting humanities education for adults and children statewide. Colorado Humanities is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit affiliated with the National Endowment for the Humanities, The Library of Congress Center for the Book, the Smithsonian Institution, and the national award-winning educational nonprofit Motheread, Inc. With offices in the Denver Technological Center in Greenwood Village, Colorado Humanities works with 150 program partners throughout the state to design and implement educational programs that best meet each community’s needs. Colorado Humanities' goals are to improve education, strengthen cultural institutions, and enrich community life by inspiring the people of Colorado to explore ideas and appreciate our diverse heritage. To learn more, visit or call 303.894.7951.