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It's important for parents to read to their children
Seven years ago, when Lynda Dominy left a career of teaching to work as a nursing unit assistant in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) at Victoria General Hospital, she was surprised to not see more parents reading to their newborns.
Dominy chalked some of that up to our brave new world of electronic screens but then she decided to take a page from the book of an Oregon group that encourages young parents to read to their babies.
“We’ve seen the research show that when a child is in hospital a long time and under those conditions, they are missing that exposure to oral language,” Dominy tells Capital Daily.
“And that’s the basis for children learning to read.”
Dominy says newborns who spend more than four days in hospital are incrementally more likely to have delays in their ability to learn language; worse, it’s seldom discovered before entering formal school, and then they experience years of catch-up because “they have not had that listening foundation.”
Under the moniker Little Warriors’ Library, Dominy and four helpers approach parents to let them know the benefits of a newborn exposed to a parent reading—it can improve the bond between baby and parents, and likely the child’s health, as well—and they offer the parents a book.
Dominy says the babies show contentment and security hearing their parents read. The evidence, she says, is in their facial expressions, sometimes their heart rates go down or there’s a flick of an eye.
“Not only does this benefit the baby, it’s going to make school easier for that child,” Dominy tells Capital Daily.
“It’s going to make school easier for the teacher and everybody else in that classroom, and really it pays benefits down the line for society, let’s face it.”
Each family fills in a ‘ticket’ indicating a “reading event”; the ticket goes into a draw to receive the gift of books and toys.
The Babies With Books Read-a-thon is taking place in more than 200 hospitals across the US, Canada and other countries. It began Sep.11 and runs until Thursday.
Dominy is looking for volunteers to talk about language acquisition as well as to help fundraise and to find books.