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					                              CONNECT                                        The Read to Me! Quarterly
                                                                                             Winter 2009

                   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.
   high quality
                   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
                   Nova Scotia.

                   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
Me! Program.
  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?
Great Journey
  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
                                             International Recognition
                                             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.

    Thanks To:
    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.

Carol McDougall
Shanda LaRamee-Jones
Provincial Coordinator
Editor, Connect
Kelly Peters
IWK Coordinator
                                                     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:           information about local library programs

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