Today four million children under the age of three have not been read to in their lifetime, yet reading to babies under three can significantly impact their core brain development through exposure to words. Pampers’ vision is that all babies are read to from birth and we are proud to announce a new Pampers Bright Beginnings Reading initiative.
Research shows that reading books with a child beginning in early infancy can boost vocabulary and reading skills, however 45% of parents believe3 they should begin reading to baby at age two. In collaboration with Scholastic, the Reading initiative hopes to spark a lifelong passion for reading early, by distributing up to 300,000 books and educational resources in local communities.
“At Pampers, our mission is to care for babies development right from the start and research shows that reading is a key factor in impacting the way babies live, learn and grow,” said Sarah Pasquinucci, Senior Communications Director, P&G North America Baby Care and mother of two. “We are thrilled to team up with Scholastic, a leading expert in the reading space, and our many program partners to introduce little ones to the joy of reading. In doing so, our hope is to create a positive impact in the communities this program will serve to provide babies with their brightest beginning.”
Studies shows that reading to a baby better prepares their brain for language and literacy skills, while also enhancing parent-child bonding4. With that in mind, Pampers worked closely with Scholastic to identify age-appropriate, diverse and bilingual book options with fun story themes and colorful illustrations, that resonate with all readers and help stimulate baby in their earliest days.
“Reading to babies is so profoundly powerful and has immediate and long-term benefits to our baby’s well-being and development,” said Pam Allyn, Senior Literacy Advisor to Scholastic. “From the start, these critical experiences begin marinating in baby’s brain with crucial literary experiences, immersing them in the sounds of words, the lilt of language and the deep impact of story. At the same time, when a parent reads to a baby, there is a special connection that happens, a unique combination of focus and love, in the voice of a beloved parent. Being able to expand Scholastic’s commitment to sharing the wonderful world of reading with families through this new collaboration with Pampers Bright Beginnings, is an exciting new way for us to bring parents and babies together for an emotional and educational activity.”
Pampers believes in the limitless potential of every baby, and the Pampers Bright Beginnings Reading initiative will distribute age-appropriate books and literacy resources to families across the U.S. through our community, hospital and NICU partners.
- Community Partners: Lack of access to books from a young age can impact a child’s kindergarten readiness and long-term, it can impact how children view reading overall5. Pampers has identified three cities in the U.S. with low kindergarten readiness scores, including Detroit, MI, Laredo, TX and Jacksonville, FL. In each of these cities, Pampers has partnered with various non-profit organizations such as a chapter of Reach Out and Read, to provide books and resources to the community.
- Hospital Partners: Pampers has also joined forces with several hospital partners in the Greater Cincinnati Area to provide books and literacy resources for all births and drive awareness for the positive developmental benefits of reading to baby from day one.
- March of Dimes: With a longstanding relationship spanning over 25 years, Pampers is proud to provide more than 67 March of Dimes NICU Family Support® programs across the United States with books and educational resources as a part of the Pampers Bright Beginnings Reading initiative.
Throughout the initiative, Pampers will have the guidance of a dedicated Advisory Council, a group of experts brought on board to help guide Pampers with the most up-to-date information, trends, issues and studies in the literacy space to make the biggest impact. All participants in the Pampers Bright Beginnings Reading initiative will be surveyed to capture changes in reading behavior, sentiment and benefits awareness. Among the members are:
- Dr. Tom DeWitt, MD, FAAP, a Professor of Pediatrics, at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center, University of Cincinnati College of Medicine. Dr. DeWitt is also the immediate past chair of the Reach Out and Read National Advisory Board, an organization that promotes reading aloud and provides books at regular check-ups helping families of all backgrounds and means experience the joy of reading.
- Dr. Viral Jain, MD, FAAP, a physician-scientist, neonatologist and Assistant Professor in Pediatrics at the University of Alabama at Birmingham. Dr. Jain is also a children’s storybook writer having written storybooks for NICU infants, and the founder of TinyVoices – a patient advocacy program through which is founded nationally renowned NICU Bookworms, a NICU Infant Reading program.