CONNECT The Read to Me! Quarterly
Planting the Seeds of Literacy
Did you Know?
Its time to celebrate the beginning of Read to Me! is now running strong at
11 hospitals and we have delivered over
Read to Me! a new year, and along with it, a special
50,000 Read to Me! bags!
anniversary for Read to Me!
gives a Over 50,000 Nova Scotian children
Read to Me! was launched on Family
bag of books Literacy Day 2002 and this January have grown up enjoying the Read to
to every baby marks our 7th birthday. Much has Me! books and rhymes. And like 50,000
seeds, the books planted across the
born in happened since we delivered that very
province are now bearing fruit as those
first Read to Me! bag and I’d like to take
Nova Scotia a moment to celebrate what all of our first Read to Me! children head off to
provincial partners have accomplished. school with a strong foundation of
language and learning.
The vision behind Read to Me! was
To date, simple and powerful – give every child In this issue we bring you the story of
the very first baby who received the
Read to Me! born in Nova Scotia the gift of free
books and the message that literacy is Read to Me! bag, and we talk with her
has given out their birthright. Read to Me! is just one and her family about what Read to Me!
50,784 link in an important chain of literacy has meant to them.
support which includes hundreds of adult
bags and family literacy programs in Nova
To the hundreds of partners who make
up the Read to Me! team I send warmest
containing over Scotia. By putting that first link in place wishes for a happy 2009 and heartfelt
114,000 for every baby, we strengthen the literacy
continuum from birth through life.
thanks for the important work you do.
Read to Me! is not one idea or one
baby books! person, it is the vision of a partnership of
people with the shared dream of bringing
the gift of literacy to every child born in
Chinese and Arabic Read to Me! Bags
Read to Me! is pleased to
announce that our bag is
now available in Chinese and
Arabic. Each bag contains an
introduction to Read to Me!,
reading tips, the Read to Me!
hat as well as the board book
“Head and Shoulders, Knees
and Toes” by Annie Kubler.
This is a dual language book
in English and Arabic, and
English and Chinese.
Read To Me! A G
On January 27th, 2002,
the Read to Me! Program was
launched in Nova Scotia.
At the IWK Health Centre a tiny
newborn baby, Fatimah and her
parents waited in the wings of
an auditorium packed with over
500 cheering guests.
Her parents, Marriam and
Nauman Aslam carried her to
the stage where children’s
author, Sheree Fitch presented
Fatimah with the very first Read
to Me! Bag. That was seven
years ago and our very first
Read to Me! baby is now in
grade one and reading on her
own. In November, Carol
McDougall had the pleasure of
visiting the Aslam family and
asked them to share their
experiences about the Read to
Carol: Marriam and Nauman,
Marriam: I started using the two Marriam: I also learned from
when we met you in 2002 just
books, Peek-a-boo and Twinkle Read to Me! to keep the books
after Fatimah was born, were
Twinkle Little Star right away. where she could reach them. I
you surprised that we were
I used them so much that the probably wouldn’t have done that
encouraging you to read and corners were chewed and the if I had not received that tip from
sing to her so early?
flaps had to be taped! Read to Me! We put the books
Marriam: I think so, yes. I did close to her toys on the lowest
plan to read to Fatimah but
probably wouldn’t have started
“Being a part of shelf in the bookcase.
that early. I would probably have the Read to Me! Carol: What times during the day
did you read to Fatimah?
waited until she was two or three
years old, when I thought that
family has been a Nauman: We often read to her
she would be able to understand. great journey when she was eating. I remem-
ber if I wanted her to eat some-
Nauman: We were surprised
when you explained the research
for us, a very thing I would say a rhyme and
that showed that babies begin positive thing in she would respond to it and it
helped the meal go smoothly.
to learn at a very young age and
that reading helps to stimulate our lives” Marriam: I also used to do baby
brain development. We didn’t Marriam Aslam massage with her in the morning
know that before. and before she went to sleep and
Carol: That’s great! We love to I used to sing songs to her then.
Carol: Did you begin to use the hear that the books are well
materials in the bag right away? used and well loved. Carol: Did you develop a bedtime
How did you use them? reading routine with Fatimah?
Marriam: Yes, we started a teacher and didn’t find reading a great journey for us, a very
bedtime reading routine very difficult. positive thing in our lives.
early, when Fatimah was Read to Me! has touched us in a
probably a year and a half or Carol: Fatimah, do you enjoy very special way. It gave us the
two years old. reading? tools to connect with our first and
Fatimah: Yes, very much! only baby and it reminded us not
Nauman: Fatimah reads by to waste those precious early
herself now, but when she was Carol: Why do you like books? years thinking ‘Oh, I can wait to
transitioning into reading on her read to her until she is 2, maybe
own she became reluctant Fatimah: I like the stories and
the new characters I meet in 3 years old …’ I am so glad and
because she said she would feel so lucky that we received this
miss us reading to her. When books.
message at the right time as
she was learning to read it began Carol: What are some of your there are so many parents who
with one word, then a sentence favorite books? are not receiving the same kind
and now she reads on her own. of message and lose that
Fatimah: I like the Junie B.
Marriam: When she was very Jones series. I also like books by important opportunity. I also
little she would know the words Ezra Jack Keats. In school we feel that in these times it is so
and repeat the story on her own. read the Skippyjon Jones books important for kids to experience
She would sit on her own and by Judy Schachner and then we actual books as this connection
although she couldn’t read, she and learning is so much richer
would say the story. than a child sitting alone in front
“ Reading of a computer screen.
Carol: Do you think that reading,
singing and talking with Fatimah is like Carol: That is wonderful to hear.
from birth helped build her
always having Do you think Read to Me!
contributed to Fatimah’s love of
Marriam: Yes, I think so; she a good friend” books and reading?
knew words and repeated the Marriam Aslam Marriam: Yes, I think the
words that were in her books. program has really contributed to
She learned many unique words. contacted her on the computer. her being a good reader.
I was surprised when we Through reading, the whole world
received the invitation to the Marriam: Being part of the has opened up to her. Books are
library in the Read to Me! Bag. Read to Me! family has been great company. If she is alone
I wasn't familiar with the library she just opens a book and starts
system as we had recently reading - reading is like always
moved to Canada. We joined having a good friend.
the library and greatly benefited
from the programs. If Read to
Me! hadn't given me that card I
probably wouldn’t have gone to
the library so early. We attended
the baby programs with Fatimah
and enjoyed them very much.
Carol: When Fatimah started
school last year what was her
attitude toward learning?
Marriam: She was enthusiastic
and very comfortable. She could
read words even before she
started school and was very
proud of her reading skill. Her
teacher realized that she was
making quick progress. She
loved getting books from her
Read to Me! has been nominated for the 2009 Astrid
Lindgren Memorial Award. Named after the beloved
author of Pippi Longstocking, this Swedish award
carries a cash prize of $ 860,000 Cdn. Read to Me! is
one of 150 nominees chosen from around the globe.
It is a great honour to receive a nomination for this
award, which is becoming known as the ‘Nobel Prize’
for children’s literature and literacy.
Read to Me! extends heartfelt
thanks to the TD Financial Group Monique Bateman,
for their donation of $50,000 Regional Senior Vice President
of TD Canada Trust Atlantic
and the Bank of Montreal Region presents a cheque
for their donation of $25,000. to Harold Crosby
Dr. Richard Goldbloom
Your investment in Read to Me! of the
Read to Me!
is an investment in Foundation Board
the children of Nova Scotia.
Read to Me! is a provincial hospital-based Founding
program developed to help families enrich Partners
their child’s early years with books and
IWK Health Centre reading. HALIFAX
5850/5980 University We present parents with a bright yellow bag FOUNDATION
Avenue of books and literacy resources at the hospital
P.O. Box 9700 bedside within 24 hours of the birth of their
Halifax, NS, B3K 6R8
The program is delivered at 11 hospitals in
Nova Scotia that offer maternity services,
Contact Us: reaching every baby born in the province.
What’s in the bag?
Fax: 902-470-8785 Each bag contains three high-quality board
books, a music and rhyme CD, a baby hat and
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org information about local library programs