MIDDLESBORO, Ky. — Middlesboro Appalachian Regional Hospital in partnership with Children’s Reading Foundation of Appalachia recently launched its new Books for Babies program.
“As a hospital team of professionals, our focus is on the health and well being of our patients,” said Michael Slusher, Middlesboro ARH Community CEO. “When OB patients give birth at our hospital, our OB team provides both healthcare and education (how-to-care for newborns) for new moms. Now through the Books for Babies program, our new moms are given a free book for reading to their newborns while they are here in our hospital.”
According to the Children’s Reading Foundation of Appalachia, it’s never too early — or too late — to begin reading with your child. From birth to age five, listening to stories and talking about stories trains a child’s brain, ears and eyes for eventual success in learning to read.
Experts say that reading aloud to your baby promotes bonding, which is essential for healthy emotional development. Your tender voice calms your infant so he or she feels safe and secure. Your baby learns all the sounds and patterns of language just by listening to you.
“Newborns will enjoy snuggling with mom or dad as parents read the book,” said Jamie Johnson, Executive Director, Children’s Health Initiative and Life Development, (CHILD) Inc. of Manchester, Ky. “Reading to your child is so important. Did you know that in just 20 minutes a day you can lay the foundation for a lifelong love of reading for your child?”
Johnson, who works closely with the Children’s Reading Foundation of Appalachia, met with hospital staff and volunteers to develop the new Books for Babies program, which is their first hospital pilot program in Southeastern Ky.
“We are all excited about reaching out to our new moms and their newborns,” added Johnson. “This is a time for firsts and we are honored to be a part of the first time a newborn hears a story being read. What a wonderful way to celebrate their birth and plant a seed for continued reading to their child.”
Slusher said that the hospital has trained volunteers to meet with new mothers and encourage them to read to their children.
“Our goal is to offer every new mom the opportunity to read to her newborn,” stated Slusher. “We have several trained hospital volunteers who meet with our new moms and present them with a free book. It is our hope that our new moms will embrace this opportunity to read to their newborns and begin a reading tradition that will enhance their language and reading skills for many years to come.”
If you want more information about the Middlesboro ARH Books for Babies program, or if you would like to donate a new or gently used book for a newborn, please call Elaine Smith, community and patient advocate, at 606-242-1103.