Reading is both habit and skill. But for babies and toddlers, it’s more than that. It’s an effective tool for their mental and emotional growth. The first two years is especially vital in their mental, lingual and social development. Hence parents, as their first teachers play an undeniable role in expanding their vocabulary, increasing their concentration levels and creating a foundation for them to build their speaking, reading and writing skills upon. It’s been proven nowadays that reading habits start from infancy or even before the baby is born.
Therefore, the Read with Me program has allocated part of its activities to promoting reading among babies and toddlers. This program aims to empower parents, especially those with low incomes to read to their children from the very beginning.
Accordingly, the Read with Me program held two Reading with Babies and Toddlers workshops in Tehran. The Supportive Education Center of MahmoudAbad and Avay-e Mandegar Empowerment Center are the two centers that have covered new groups of mothers and infants this summer.
This summer, Read with Me aspired to strengthen bonds with Avay-e Mandegar center and support children form their infancy. So a series of “Reading with Babies and Toddlers” workshops were scheduled for the mothers at the center. In July, more than 20 mothers, either working at the center or paying regular visits, signed up for these workshops.
“Reading with Babies and Toddlers” has been running in the Supportive Education Center of MahmoudAbad since July 2015. Since then, 4 groups of mothers and infants have participated in the workshops. Now, a fifth group will receive the necessary trainings, starting a new round of the program in this center. This group consists of 10 mothers, who are currently being tutored by a Read with Me expert.
How the Reading with Babies and Toddlers Program Works
Reading with Babies and Toddlers is a year-long program held in four rounds for mothers with children aged 0-3. In this program, mothers participate in weekly sessions for a month to learn the basics of reading with their infants. During this time, they receive the Babies and Toddlers package containing books and equipment that guarantee their children’s all-round development. The content of these packages has been carefully chosen by the Institute for Research on the History of Children’s Literature. Most of the books have been published by the institute itself.
Next sessions are held with a three month gap in between each round. In each session, mothers receive new packages comprising suitable books for their infants. This system helps mothers stay on the right track of reading to their infants while being provided with quality books. Under the guidance of experts, these mothers learn the correct methods of reading to their infants, singing lullabies and even making books for their children themselves.
This program has been implemented in a number of other centers and has proven to be exceptionally effective.