New Initiative Encourages Early Childhood Reading through Literacy Bags for Newborns
Posted on 03/23/2017
In an effort to engage families early on and to meet the various needs of our communities of learners from birth, the Appleton Area School District (AASD) introduces Take 5 to Help Me Thrive. Take 5 is an initiative of AASD’s Birth-Five Outreach that will connect newborns and parents with resources and books to encourage early childhood reading.

The combined support of Omicron Chapter of Delta Kappa Gamma, Greater Fox Cities Chapter of Credit Unions, area superintendents and local school districts have provided will ensure distribution of a literacy bag to each new family at area hospitals. Each family who has a baby at Ascension-St. Elizabeth Hospital, ThedaCare Regional Medical Center-Appleton, ThedaCare Regional Medical Center-Neenah, and ThedaCare Medical Center-New London receives a literacy bag.

The Take 5 to Help Me Thrive (previously known as Books for Babies) project was developed because of the importance of reading and interacting with your child from the very beginning. The delivery of literacy bags through Books for Babies began on May 23, 2008 and since then over 13,000 literacy bags have been distributed to local hospitals.

“Our school district understands and is committed to a child’s development beginning at birth through the first five years. These literacy bags emphasize reading to your child from birth, but also reinforce the importance of quality time spent with your child while engaging and interacting each day.” said Michelle Campbell, AASD Birth-Five Resource Coordinator.

The research is clear that the years between birth and age five are the most critical periods for brain development. Reading to your baby not only helps strengthen your attachment/engagement, but also builds communication, listening, memory, and vocabulary skills.

Eileen Jekot, MD, a pediatrician at ThedaCare Physicians-Pediatrics in Neenah, said that “As a pediatrician, I get questions from parents about what they should do to help their baby's development. I encourage them from Day 1 that the key is spending quality time with their kids every day, especially without distractions of cell phones etc. Time spent reading, talking, singing, playing, laughing and snuggling with them is the most important thing they can do for their child’s intellectual, physical, and psychosocial development.”

Young families have the opportunity from birth to nurture and foster their relationship with their child. “It is our hope that these resources will support parents in their journey in encouraging their child to THRIVE!” said Pamela Franzke, AASD Title I & Birth-Five Outreach Coordinator.

Finding some time each day to incorporate the five important factors below is essential to a child’s development.

T alk to your child throughout your day to build language skills
H ealthy Habits: healthy choices promotes healthy lifestyles
R ead to your baby every day to build vocabulary and language
I nteract: learning through play, allowing for exploration and building relationships
V alue: time spent with your child is priceless
E ngage with your child in all that you do

Area school districts understand and are committed to offering each family the same opportunities to allow their child to THRIVE.

Participating School Districts in the Fox Valley:

Appleton Area School District Menasha Joint School District
Freedom School District Neenah Joint School District
Hortonville Area School District School District of New London
Kaukauna Area School District Seymour Community School District
Kimberly Area School District Shiocton School District
Little Chute Area School District Wrightstown Community School District

Judy Baseman, Appleton Area School District Assistant Superintendent, said that “we along with other districts, are committed to our families and their children from birth. In response, it is truly our mission to provide resources in educating Every Child Every Day. We hope that you value this collaboration to provide the Take 5 to Help Me Thrive literacy bag as our first step in building a bridge from home to school!”
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