Surrey Libraries launches new family reading program

  - Photo submitted
— image credit: Photo submitted

Surrey Libraries has announced an innovative new literacy program designed  to help families with newborns. Called Read To Baby, the program encourages parents to make reading a priority for their children from infancy.

One thousand of Surrey’s most vulnerable families will be provided with Read to Baby early learning kits in 2014. The program was made possible through generous donations from individuals and corporations. In subsequent years, Surrey Libraries hopes to expand the program to all families with newborns in Surrey. Read to Baby is being launched on Jan. 25 as part of festivities marking Family Literacy Day.

“Research shows that learning begins at birth.” said Surrey Libraries Chief Librarian Melanie Houlden. “By starting early with talking, cuddling, singing and reading to their baby, parents play a critical role in building language skills and pave the way for their child’s future success at school. The Read to Baby program is designed to help families in Surrey put their child on the path to that success.”

Surrey Mayor Dianne Watts will officially launch Read to Baby at the Surrey Kids Read event at Centre Court of Guildford Town Centre, starting at noon on Saturday, Jan. 25.

Surrey MLAs Amrik Virk and Stephanie Cadieux will also be attending the event and officially declaring Monday, Jan. 27 as Family Literacy Day.

The Read to Baby kit is a beautiful keepsake bag filled with a storybook, music CD, parent guide, as well as some fun and easy pre-literacy tips. Surrey Libraries is collaborating with local organizations to identify one thousand families with newborns who would most benefit from Read to Baby, and provide them with the kit.

Surrey Libraries gratefully acknowledges the support of the many organizations committed to investing in Surrey’s future, making possible the creation of the Read to Baby program: Central City Brewers & Distillers, Central City Shopping Centre, Century Group, Cloverdale Rotary Club, Copytek Duplication & Graphics, David Pel & Company Inc., Eurocan Industries Inc., Guildford Rotary Club, Guildford Town Centre, Kidsbooks, PCL Construction Westcoast Inc., The Surrey-North Delta Leader, the Now Newspaper, Surrey City Development Corporation, Stuart Olsen Dominion Construction, TD Bank, Turnbull Construction Ltd.

Surrey Kids Read is a family-friendly free event which includes performances by entertainers Charlotte Diamond and Tony Prophet, as well as storytelling, face painting, crafts, and many other fun activities. Surrey Libraries mascots Walter and Jazzy will be there to greet the kids. The event takes place from 12-3 p.m.

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