Read Along Dads sees the children of prisoners in two regional prisons provided with a recording of their Dad (or Mum) reading them a book. Both the recording and a copy of the book itself are sent to the child who can listen to their parent's voice whilst reading or looking at their book.

One Dad said: 'It's hard to explain the feeling I get out of it when I know that at night, I'm the last voice he hears before he goes to bed'.

The program began as a one-off to celebrate the International Year of Reading in 2012, but was so well received by the prison, the Dads, and especially the kids, that it's been going ever since.

‘Read-Along Dads’ was launched by Friends of Castlemaine Library (FOCAL) as one of several literacy programs for the local community and is funded through grants from the Victorian Legal Services Board.

In 2023, auspicing of the prison programs including Read-Along Dads was transferred to Castlemaine Rotary.

It's more work than you'd imagine — liaising with the prison, selecting the books, recording the prisoners, editing the audio files, and sending them to the kids — so donations are really important. Visit the Read Along Dads website to see more and to make a donation.