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Delta literacy program stresses the importance of reading to even the youngest

By Vancouver Sun |

With the help of Raise-a-Reader, young moms in Delta are able to take home books for their children.

“Having the books more easily accessible at home helps moms read to their children and develop their reading and writing skills,” said Rupinder Sandhu, a family support worker at Boys and Girls Club South Coast B.C.

Along with Deltassist, BGC South Coast B.C. began the Growing and Learning Together program in 2019 to help young mothers with information sessions about various aspects of child-rearing. The Delta Community Literacy Committee came on board to arrange sessions on the importance of early literacy, offering virtual workshops with a children’s librarian.

The committee also purchased children’s books through Raise-a-Reader funds to give to the moms.

“A librarian used the books we had purchased to demonstrate to the moms how to get their children excited about books, how to use rhyme and song and how to engage a young child simply using the pictures,” said Sandhu.

According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, the sooner a parent starts reading to their infant, the better.

“Major milestones for oral language and vocabulary happen between birth and three years,” said Heather Turner, M.Ed., quoted at verywellfamily.com. “Reading aloud in the child’s first years builds their vocabulary, their knowledge about the world, and the sounds and patterns of written language — all of which lay a solid foundation for literacy.”

Following the sessions with the librarian, each parent is given a set of six to seven books and a puppet.

“One young mom told us that she had learned so much and was so thrilled to have such good quality books,” Sandhu said. “She said that good quality books are very expensive and now she has her own to take wherever they go.”

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