To help parents start their babies on the path to lifelong success, the Los Angeles Public Library has launched a new initiative, “Read, Baby, Read!,” to provide new and expecting parents with everything they need to develop early literacy skills in their babies and toddlers.
The library has partnered with hospitals, health care providers, daycare centers and early childhood education centers to distribute kits to expecting parents and those with infants under one year old. Each kit contains baby’s first library card along with a book, t-shirt, socks, blanket, diaper bag and brochure with early literacy tips. Parents are encouraged to visit their local library to borrow children’s books and to participate in baby story and play times as well as other programs. Read Baby, Read! incorporates the five key steps essential to early childhood development—talk, sing, read, write and play. The library also offers opportunities to join a community of parents, readers and staff to help families read, learn and grow together.
“It’s impossible to overstate the critical role that early literacy plays in the future success of a child, both in school and in life,” said City Librarian John F. Szabo. “That’s why we created Read, Baby, Read!—to help parents understand the essential role early reading plays in their child’s development and to give them the tools they need to develop in their babies a lifelong love of reading and the library.”
Studies published by the U.S. Department of Education have found that reading to babies will enhance their vocabularies and literacy skills, thereby improving their school readiness. Children who were read to at least three times a week by a family member were almost twice as likely to score in the top 25% in reading compared to children who were read to less than three times a week.
Read, Baby, Read! is generously funded by the Library Foundation of Los Angeles and their donors.