NEWBORN babies and their mothers are to get a helping hand with reading after a trailblazing service was launched at the Limerick Maternity Hospital, Ennis Road.
Mayor Jim Long was on hand to launch a new project, backed by the Limerick City Library to introduce books and reading to mums and newborns.
Codenamed the ‘Start Now Project’ Limerick City Library is the first service in Ireland to launch this initiative.
It is a new approach to implementing the same idea, linking in with a number of like minded organisations.
These include the library services, the H.S.E., the City and County and the vocational educational committees.
The aim of the project is to instil in parents that they are the child’s most constant inspiration from the earliest months.
The ‘Start Now’ project is based on the ‘Bookstart’ project which was pioneered in the UK. It was launched in Ireland in order to address the need for early literacy intervention.
‘Bookstart’ is an ongoing scheme, similar to other reading initiatives. As part of this, mothers get a reading pack, and are asked to go to a weekly ten minute presentation at ante-natal classes.
Over the years quite a lot of research has been done.
It was also set-up to address the need for early literacy intervention.
Research has shown of the 55 per cent of families who received the pack, their behaviour had changed in a positive way.
Some seven pc were unaware of the benefits of reading with babies and toddlers, while 48pc said they were aware of the benefits but that receiving the pack had let them to read more frequently with their children.
The weekly ten minute presentation at the Ante-Natal Class will reinforce the importance of parental encouragement and support for their children in order to become successful readers.