Mission: Read to Grow''s mission is to promote language-building and literacy for children, beginning at birth, and to support parents as their babies' first teachers. Recent neuroscience research shows that the first 3 years, and starting at birth, are critical in brain development and language acquisition. Child development studies show that children who are read to from an early age enter school better prepared to learn, regardless of socioeconomic background. Our goal is to help parents understand the critical connection between verbal stimulation, language development and future literacy and ensure that there are children's books in the home. By beginning at birth, parents can strengthen their family and help their youngsters develop the early literacy skills they will need to succeed in school, and in life.
Programs: Books for Babies is a program that builds literacy from birth. Books for Babies reaches 50% of Connecticut newborns --- 21,000 young minds --- and their families annually in partnership with eight hospitals in the Greater New Haven, Hartford, New London and Bridgeport areas. Through Books for Babies, we connect with parents of newborns while on the maternity unit. Trained volunteers visit with parents to talk about early literacy development. Before discharge, each family receives a bag with a new children’s book and a guide that explains the many simple ways to stimulate their child’s language development. Families can receive free new children’s books through the first year of life and information on how to help their child develop early literacy skills.
While other literacy organizations focus on life after age 3, Read To Grow educates a parent on the day of that child's birth about the critical importance of reading to the child immediately while the brain is developing. By meeting with the parent/s in the hospital, they learn that literacy is to a healthy mind/life as nutrition and the avoidance of disease is to a healthy body. This is a unique program that exists nowhere else.