Partnership sends newborns home with books

Each of the approximately 700 babies born annually at the Childbirth Center at Griffin Hospital now goes home with a new children’s book, thanks to a partnership between the hospital and the nonprofit organization Read to Grow.

Griffin Hospital recently became one of 12 Connecticut hospitals to adopt Read to Grow’s Books for Babies program. Statewide, Books for Babies reaches 53% of Connecticut newborns and their parents each year.

Parents of newborns also receive a literacy guide as part of this joint effort to foster children’s language and early literacy development, and to encourage reading aloud to babies from birth. Recent research suggests that children should be exposed to a language-rich environment from birth, because it can significantly improve cognitive and language development and readiness for school.

Volunteer visits with parents

A trained volunteer visits with parents to introduce the Read to Grow program and talk about the “how and why” of reading aloud to babies.

The volunteers go through the literacy packet and encourage families to register for a Books for Babies follow-up sessions, which will provide them with another new book and literacy information on their child’s 3-month and 12-month birthdays.

Gently-used books are also available for siblings of newborns to promote family reading time.

A literacy resource for families

Read to Grow also provides gently-used books to children across the state through its Books for Kids program. Last year, Books for Kids delivered more than 127,000 books into the hands of young children.

“Studies show that in low-income neighborhoods, children often have few, if any books,” said Chet Brodnicki, interim executive director of Read to Grow. “The Valley Council reports that 10% of children residing in the Lower Naugatuck Valley live in poverty. Read to Grow is a resource for these families.”

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