To encourage parents to begin reading to their newborns, Memorial Medical Center will give away a free book to each baby born at the hospital starting in November.
Five different titles are available, each one written and illustrated by Eric Carle, author of “The Very Hungry Caterpillar,” which has sold more than 50 million copies worldwide. The read-aloud books will be distributed until all 1,500 copies have been handed out.
Each book comes with a label listing five reasons for parents to read to their newborns. The benefits of reading are soothing babies, developing memory skills, boosting creative thinking, building vocabulary and increasing attention span.
The titles are “My Very First Book of Colors,” “My Very First Book of Words,” “My Very First Book of Numbers,” “My Very First Book of Shapes” and “My Very First Book of Animal Sounds.”
“I’ve always believed that the way everyone begins to build the foundation for a healthy and productive life begins with reading and the love for books and learning,” said Diane Rutledge, who initiated the book giveaway and is the chair of the board of directors for Memorial Health System and Memorial Medical Center. “It’s my hope that families might continue the practice of adding books to their children’s libraries and reading to them regularly.”
Rutledge, who is a partner with District Leadership Solutions and previously served as the superintendent of Springfield School District 186, said research shows that a child’s future success is connected to the number of pages they read and the number of words they hear.
Friends of Memorial Medical Center provided the funding for the book giveaway.