NEW parents Scott and Sarah Brown have backed an initiative in which newborn babies receive a free book when they leave hospital to give them a head-start in learning to read.
The move is just one of number a of strategies under the newly-launched Tameside Loves Reading campaign to help boost children’s literacy, as 34 per cent of children in the borough start school with below average language and reading skills.
Scott, who wife Sarah gave birth to 9lb 5oz Cooper, said: “It is a great idea as too many parents given their children iPads or sit them in front of the television.
“When it comes to bonding with children, there is nothing better than a book. I was a big reader as a child and it was an important part of my development.”
The three-year programme, launched by Tameside Council, will work with all primary schools and involves a reading volunteer scheme with local employers, extra investment in language and vocabulary interventions and training for nurseries and reception classes.
One of the key messages of the campaign is that parents, grandparents and carers can help give children a head start by reading with them daily and talking about books and stories.
It is never too early to start enjoying books together – and to highlight this a free book will be given to every baby born under the care of Tameside & Glossop Integrated Care NHS Foundation Trust (the hospital) over the next 12 months.
The book packs, which will include tips on reading with babies as well of details of signing up for library membership, will be given to babies and new parents before they are discharged from hospital.
Cllr Leanne Feeley, Tameside Council executive member for lifelong learning, said: “This is one of a number of initiatives to address some of the reading levels in the borough and to give young people the best possible start in life.
“Reading exposes you to so many wonderful things – it inspires your imagination, paints pictures of stories in your mind and takes you to anywhere you want to go.
“I would like to thank our partners at the hospital for working with us to reach new parents at the earliest opportunity to encourage them to start enjoying books with their babies from day one.”
To find out more about the campaign go online: www.tameside.gov.uk/tamesidelovesreading