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Program Lets Imprisoned Parents Record Bedtime Stories For Kids

CHICAGO (CBS) -- Even though their parents are miles away in prison, many Chicago children will hear those parents read a bedtime story this Christmas Eve.

As WBBM Newsradio's Steve Miller reports, the Storybook Project of Lutheran Social Services of Illinois records prison inmates reading stories to aloud to their children.

LISTEN: WBBM Newsradio's Steve Miller reports

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The CD recordings of the stories the inmates read, as well as the books they came from, are sent to the children.

The Storybook Project played one of them for WBBM Newsradio. An inmate read "The 10 Golden Rules" for his son.

Even though the prisons are all over the state, most of the children live in Chicago.

"Remember what I always tell you. I want you to do good in school. I want you to continue to help your mother out and listen to her and be good, of course, and your dad will be home in nine or ten months," one father says in his recording "And I love you, and until then, hopefully I'll be able to read to you next month. Bye, baby."

The incarcerated parents also sometimes read Bible verses, sing songs, or send messages of thanks to their children's caregivers.

The Storybook Project is now being at the state prisons at Decatur, Dixon, Graham, Lincoln, Logan, Pontiac, Taylorville, and Southwestern Illinois, as well as the Pekin Federal Prison and Prison Camp, the Vienna Federal Prison, the Winnebago County Jail, and three southern Illinois county jails.

Lutheran Social Services says more than 4,000 children receive books and recordings from their incarcerated parents every year.

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