• Better Beginnings

  • Give your child a Better Beginning... READ to them

    Your child’s first few years of life will impact them forever....READ to them

    Your child’s future 
    As parents we all want what’s best for our children, including a good education. But believe it or not, that starts now, with you, not when your child enters kindergarten. A child’s first 0-18 months are critical for speech and language development and the first few years of life are prime years for learning and brain development. YOU ARE YOUR CHILD’S FIRST TEACHER and this pamphlet is designed to help get you started. 

    "Reading to children, even before they can understand words, teaches them to associate books with love and affection.” - Unknown 

    0-18 months 

    • Read, talk, and sing to your baby every day 

    • Read books with rhyme and/or repetition. They are fun, and help the brain develop organizational patterns. Examples: nursery rhymes, Dr. Seuss 

    • Board books are easier for babies to handle and harder for them to destroy 

    • Babies enjoy interactive books like touch and feel or lift the flap books and books with other babies in them 

    • Anytime you can’t hold a book to read (when baby becomes mobile, driving in the car, cooking dinner, etc.): sing, talk or tell a story (one you know or make one up) 

    • Use lots of expression and a variety of voices 

    • Point to and name colors, objects, animals, make the animals sounds, count objects, etc. 

    • Take your child to the library. New books are exciting and you don’t have to spend a fortune to get them 

    • Limit or completely avoid screen time (television, tablets, handheld devices) until the brain is more developed. Educational shows and apps are no comparison to interacting with your baby’s favorite person...YOU!

    As your child gets older 

    • Read, talk, and sing to your child every day
    • Be willing to read the same book repeatedly (even if you want to hide it) 
    • Point to words as you read
    • Ask them to point to and name colors, objects, animals, make the animals sounds, count objects, etc.
    • Have them hold the book or turn pages 
    • Ask questions about the book 
    • Expand your child’s vocabulary by explaining unfamiliar words and give examples of similar words. Example: a vessel is like a boat or ship that sails on water
    • Don’t dumb it down or baby talk - use big words when talking to your kids and then explain what they mean 

    "Children are made readers on the laps of their parents."
— Emilie Buchwald 

    Bottom line: kids need to hear LOTS of words so talk, read and sing to them as much as possible. It’s never too early to start!

    The goal of this program is to promote early literacy by providing each baby born at St. Thomas More Hospital with a new book, and provide parents with knowledge and resources, therefore having a lasting impact on their child’s life and the community. 

    The Better Beginnings program was started by Cassie Norden, a local literacy teacher whose desire is to promote early literacy in the home. 


    Other parent resources: 

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