Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Board Books for Babies, an Update!

Over 200 new mommies who deliver babies at the Riverton IHC Hospital will receive little gifts with great potential: bags of board books to encourage reading to their little ones from the very beginning of their lives.

At the March 8th Jordan Council of the International Reading Association (JCIRA) meeting, members quickly assembled the bags that included a board book and a letter sharing research about the benefits of reading to children, starting at babyhood. In 20 minutes, approximately 20 participants folded letters, packed books, and tied bags to ready the gifts for delivery. (Pictured: Bev Griffith, R.S., Arlene Baumgardner, Becky Lind.)

On April 19th Susan Snow, Lori Huey, and I delivered many boxes filled with bags 'o books to hospital representatives. (I would have inserted a picture of that occasion if it had not turned out to be VERY out of focus. I would have also listed the names of the hospital's representatives if I had remembered to jot them down.)

Right now the labor and delivery, mom and baby care areas of the Women's Center are not operating at full capacity. Once they are, representatives indicated ABOUT 200 babies could be born each month. That means our donation will only last 30+ days!!! Consequently, we've decided to make this an ongoing project as we realize that MANY of the babies born at Riverton IHC this year will enter our schools in years to come! We want them to walk through our doors as lovers of literacy!!

The following is a "CopyPaste" version of the letter we enclosed with the books. You might find the research and the suggestions of interest.

Congratulations on the Birth of Your Baby
On behalf of the Jordan Council of the International Reading Association, our members present this board book to you and your little one because there are few gifts that outshine the gift of literacy! We know the importance of reading to your baby from the earliest possible moment, and we want you to share some of those reasons with you.
Reading to infants and toddlers can be very beneficial because it establishes a strong foundation for later literacy skills (McLane & McNamee, 1991). Little ones grow up believing that reading is fun to do as they become comfortable with the sound of language used in books. They learn to turn the pages and soon realize that printed words on pages have meaning (Rice, Burkes, & Kaplan-Sanoff).

After a few months of reading together, a baby’s face lights up when looking at favorite picture books. Before long squeals of laughter follow Mommy expressive narration, “Brown Bear, Brown Bear, what do you see?” Eventually, chubby fingers point at colorful illustrations; and by the time baby is a toddler, Mommy hears her little one share the story through imitated words and sound effects.

A parent can also help young ones make connections beyond the printed page: “Here is YOUR soft brown bear. He looks like the bear on this page, doesn’t he?” Babies bask in the sense of closeness they feel in the arms of their parents. They respond to the sound of a mommy’s voice and the comfort of being held. They learn from peeking at the pictures, listening to the sounds, and interacting with the reader.

Realizing that all children develop at different rates, parents can refer to these guidelines published by the Corporation for National Service [CNS], U.S. Department of Education, & U.S. Department of Health and Human Services for some suggestions.

Birth to Eight Months
·         Hold the baby in your lap as you share short books with bright pictures.
·         It’s normal for the child to want to handle the book and even chew on it. Use cloth, plastic, or board books that can be cleaned after each use.
·         Name pictures for the baby and respond to the baby when he/she points to the pictures.

Eight to Eighteen Months Old
·         Continue to read one-on-one. Children this age love to hear the same book again and again.
·         Follow the child’s lead. When the child brings you a book, do your best to find time to read it.
·         Relate pictures in the books to the child’s life.
·         Keep sturdy books within the children’s reach for them to explore on their own.
·         Offer books about everyday activities. Make some books yourself that include photos of the children.

Eighteen to Twenty-Four Months Old
·         Read to the children both one-on-one and in small groups, but don’t insist that the children stay in the group.
·         After hearing the same book often, the children will begin to join in and tell what happens next.
·         Point to the words as you read.
·         Encourage the children to talk about the stories. Add related props so the children can incorporate the stories into their play.

Our very best wishes to you and your new baby!
Jordan Council of the International Reading Association

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