Did you know that 90% of a child’s brain is developed by age 3? Also by age 3, a child’s vocabulary can predict third grade reading proficiency. Research indicates that children who are not reading proficiently by the end of third grade are four times more likely to drop out of high school.
“Many of life’s opportunities depend on one’s ability to read,” says Joy Griffin, president of United Way of Hall County. “A skilled workforce is the key to a successful economy, but statistics show that only half of our young people are developing the skills and knowledge they need to fill tomorrow’s jobs. The good news is that research also shows us where we can make the greatest impact: to address learning at the earliest and most crucial time, from birth to age 5.”
In support of United Way’s Read Learn Succeed Initiative, aimed at encouraging adults to read and talk to young children at least 15 minutes a day, The Medical Center Auxiliary has funded the development and printing of more than 15,000 customized books – enough to give one to every baby born at Northeast Georgia Medical Center (NGMC) Gainesville and Braselton over the next three years.
The children’s book, Welcome to the World, was written in a way that teaches parents and caregivers about the importance of reading to a child every day for at least 15 minutes. It’s also designed as a keepsake for families, giving them space to record important memories such as names of providers caring for them at the hospital and a place for the baby’s first footprints. The book was illustrated by Kourtney Braff Harper, a children’s illustrator who is a Hall County native and former NGMC teen volunteer.
“At Northeast Georgia Medical Center, we have the unique ability to reach every child born in Hall County and his or her mother with this important information and help contribute to the lifelong learning and success of our community’s children,” said Dot Dusenbury, president of The Medical Center Auxiliary. “We are so excited to begin distributing the books.”