A number of years ago, we looked at a program called, A Book on Every Bed, which was designed to encourage families celebrating Christmas to leave a book on every child's bed, so that he or she would wake up Christmas morning with the special gift of a book.
Even though Christmas has come and gone this year, we were reminded of this initiative just yesterday, when your blogger "played hooky" and took a one-day trip from New York to Washington D.C. to spend time with her new grandson.
This baby is surrounded by books. They are part of his life long before he can even speak, let alone read. His parents have been the beneficiaries of numerous gifts of books - classics they recall from their own childhoods and new books that are destined to be classics in years to come. They have started reading to him even though he is only a few weeks old.
But too many children aren't as fortunate. We know that reading to and with children builds crucial skills that stay with children as they grow and develop. That's why we have been big fans of the national nonprofit organization, Reach Out and Read (ROAR), which we have written about before. Building on the fact that over 90 percent of young children are seen in a pediatric practice at least once a year, ROAR provides training to doctors, nurses, and nurse practitioners in how to talk to parents about the importance of reading to their children; how to demonstrate to parents how to interact with their children while reading - including cuddling and setting reading routines; and then gives a new book to each child to take home and keep.
If your child lives a life rich in books and reading, you may want to learn more about Reach Out and Read, and express your gratitude by helping a less fortunate child to know the same joy of books and the benefits that reading brings.