Four Jefferson City organizations are cooperating to encourage that parents read to young children.
Missouri River Regional Library, St. Mary’s Hospital, Capital Region Medical Center and Scholastic Inc. are joining the “Babies Need Words Every Day: Talk, Read, Sing, Play” campaign.
The campaign is intended to help bridge the “word gap” that children — particularly those who come from low-income homes — have with their peers. Data show by age 4, children from low-income homes have heard 30 million fewer words than children from more advantaged homes, according to a news release from MRRL.
Scholastic donated a total of 1,800 copies of two books for the campaign — “I Love You Through and Through” by Bernadette Rossetti Shustak and “Hide-and-Peek” by Jill Ackerman.
MRRL has shipped hundreds of books to the Jefferson City hospitals, MRRL Children’s Services Manager Angie Bayne said.
“Anybody who gets born at both hospitals will receive a book,” she said. “We really wanted something they could bring home.”
The stockpile is enough to last about a year, MRRL Marketing Manager Natalie Newville said. And parents will receive brochures showing services the library offers for young children, including a newborn babies book list.
A secondary part of the campaign involves posters. The library offers inviting posters — designed to educate and support parents and caregivers — to businesses to place in visible areas.
Bayne suggested businesses not only place the posters in highly visible public spaces but also in bathrooms with baby-changing stations to inspire parents.
The library has eight different styles of the posters, two for each theme within the campaign — talk, read, sing and play.
To request a poster for a business’ changing room, childcare area or other child-friendly area, businesses are asked to call MRRL at 573-634-2464.