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An Interview with One of the Participants of the “Reading with Babies and Toddlers” Program

The Read with Me program has dedicated a part of its activities to promoting book reading for babies and toddlers. This program allows parents especially the ones from low-income families to learn how to read books and make conversations with their children from the moment they are born. A series of RWM workshops have been held in the Supportive Education Center of MahmoudAbad from July 2015 for three groups of mothers and babies.

Greetings, please introduce yourself and share some of your experiences in the “Reading with Babies and Toddlers” workshops.

My name is Zahra Ghassemi. I’m a mother of two boys and the third one is on her way! I didn’t have any experiences while raising my two sons. I thought that what I did for my children was enough.

How old are your two children now?

My older son is 11 and the other one is 6.5 years old.

Before attending these workshops, I didn’t know I had to do certain things while pregnancy. I had no idea how to communicate with the baby in the womb. For instance, I didn’t know that if I talked to my baby, she would notice and react to what I say.

Do you feel that this baby is quite different?

Yes. This one is very different. As soon as I put my hand on my belly whenever she’s not moving, she immediately reacts. I have recently chosen her a name; because it’s my last days of pregnancy. She moves when I put my hand on my belly and call her name. Her younger brother also does this and asks: “Mom, Does she know who I am?” I tell him: “Of course, tell her your name…” It’s the same with her father. The things that this baby does inside the womb really impresses her father.

Is this pregnancy different for you with all the books and book readings?

Yes. It has been sweeter. Of course, I’m a lot more experienced than before. At first, I thought the reason for this difference is that I used to be a lot younger and inexperienced in my previous pregnancies. But it’s not just that. These classes have been very influential as well.

How long has it been since you started attending these classes?

I came here in the fourth month of my pregnancy. Now I’m in the ninth month.

You must be giving birth soon then!

Yes, in 3 or 4 days!

Handmade Toys by Mothers in children in the Gathering of the Reading with Babies and Toddlers Program - Read with Me in MahmoudAbad - January 2017Amazing… Congratulations! You’re saying that this program has influenced your family and the father is also more attentive, is that right?

Yes, very much. At first, I thought maybe the father is like this because unlike my other children, this one is a girl. But then I realized that their gender is not the reason and since this baby shows herself differently, she has become different to her father. She’s so much smarter! When I got an ultrasound, the doctors told me she is very active. They said she’s one of those children you cannot control! She’s smart!

Have you encouraged others to come to these classes as well? Do you know anyone you could invite to this program?

Yes, I have. But I don’t know many pregnant women. There were two of them that had already participated in the program. I also introduced this program to some of my relatives who had 1.5 year old children but unfortunately, they didn’t take it too seriously. They think they’re experienced enough, but I believe they’re making a mistake.

I suggest that you recommend this program to pregnant women around you. Maybe if they also felt the difference like you did, they’d be more encouraged.

Mrs. Ghassemi, I hope that you give birth to a healthy baby. Thank you for your time.

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