Research has proven that children who are read and sung to in early infancy become better communicators and readers and are stronger academically than other infants who were not.

1. CEO Colette Delaney browses through one of the books which will be bought for the new mothers in the hospital.

Parents are therefore being encouraged to read daily to their children to build vocabulary, social and emotional skills and overall language development to help these future communicators.

This observation from Louise Frazier, President of the Books for Babies Barbados Charity, which was established in Barbados in 2015, but is part of a world-wide group with similar organisations in the United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, New Zealand and other countries.

Frazier explained the reason behind the charity and the work they do, during a presentation at CIBC FirstCaribbean bank where Chief Executive Officer Colette Delany presented a cheque of BDS$10,000 to go towards the purchase of some required books for the programme.

The Books for Babies President explained that they need at least 2,000 books per year as the number of babies born between the Queen Elizabeth Hospital and the privately-run Bayview hospital is roughly 2,500 and they sometimes don’t get to the hospital in time to deliver books to some mothers. “We try to reach the hospital within 24 hours of the delivery, as some mothers are discharged by the next day” she explained.

In addition to a book, each new mother is given simple handouts about the importance of reading to babies and toddlers, information about how to talk to a baby and promote language development, and information on how to play with their baby.

“The mothers are very receptive to the books especially when our volunteers explain why we are doing this and the importance of singing and reading to their children,” she added.

Frazier further explained that they seek out books that are culturally appropriate and those that reflect the culture of the recipient. There is one in particular that was written by Trisha Cooke who is a Dominican living in England, she wrote the book ‘So Much’ while on holiday here in Barbados in St. Lawrence Gap. It has been compiled with illustrations to which both the children (when they are older) and parents can relate.

3. Louise Frazier shows some highlights of one of the books to be bought for the new mothers.

Ms. Delaney said that CIBC FirstCaribbean is very supportive of anything that will assist in raising the educational level of the citizens of the region and encouraged the volunteers at the charity to keep up the excellent work. She further added that if some members of the bank’s staff were interested, the bank would fully support them to get involved in volunteering to assist with the hospital visits.

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