Born to Read 806 program gifting newborns at Northwest Texas Hospital with books

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AMARILLO, Texas (KFDA) - Friends of the Amarillo Public Library, Storybridge, and Northwest Auxiliary have partnered together to purchase thousands of books for newborns.

Their goal is to deliver a new book to every baby born at Northwest Texas Hospital this year.

“I think we are on our way to making sure that Amarillo is the city where kids have books,” said Storybridge Director Chandra Perkins.

A common misconception is babies don’t need books until they can read.

“Studies have proved that if we can read to these babies, specifically during the first year of life, definitely by the age of two, that literacy rates go up tremendously,” said Denise Gouldy, director of Women and Infant Health at Northwest.

“It is actually never too early to start with a child. The recommendation is that you read 15 minutes with your child every single day, from day one. It can have a huge impact on when they start reading and how prepared they are to start school,” said Stacy Yates, coordinator of public relations Amarillo Public Library.

“Babies need book experience from day one. In fact, listening is the first step to literacy,” said Perkins.

Born to Read organizers hope to grow this program and have enough funding to provide books to babies born at both Northwest and BSA next year.

“The thought of a baby not knowing who Dr. Suess is, is sad to me. It’s a great opportunity and again one of those things that we all take for granted, and it’s not always available to a lot of our children, even here in the Panhandle,” said Gouldy.

They chose the book ‘Go, dog. Go!’ for it’s popularity, ability to purchase in English and Spanish and the style of the book.

“This will be a child’s first book and it’s a board book. That means it’s a book that a child can hold, with pages they can turn, where they won’t tear the pages. It’s important for kids to start experiencing books as physical objects,” said Yates.

Born to Read 806 hopes this book is more than just a book but a gift from the city.

“I want to tell each child and each family that your city believes in you, and we’re going to invest in you from your first day here. We believe you have something to contribute, we believe your potential is huge, and you can reach it, and we’re with you,” said Perkins.

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