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‘Books for Babies’ to Deliver the Wonder of Words (June, 2006)
Centennial Medical Center, Frisco Independent School District, the Frisco Public Library and Frisco Noon Rotary Club
Partner to Launch Innovative Reading Program

Books for BabiesFRISCO--When a baby or child experiences new things, new brain cell connections grow. With every reading of a nursery rhyme or singing of a lullaby, thousands of connections in the brain are formed or strengthened. Brain researchers have evidence that reading is one of the experiences that actually influences the way young brains develop--that is, the way the brain's circuitry is "wired. Reading to even the youngest of babies has a positive and life-long effect on their intellectual and emotional development." (1 )

This groundbreaking research only confirmed what Dr. Leigh Ann Jones had witnessed many times during her years as a librarian. Now the library facilitator for Frisco ISD, Dr. Jones has been the driving force behind the implementation of an innovative reading program, ‘Books for Babies’.

“The idea to give a board book to the parents of every baby born in one city has been something I've been excited about for several years, but then I was a librarian in a small town with no hospital. When Centennial Medical Center was built in Frisco, it provided the perfect avenue for this program. I approached the hospital and they were very receptive to the idea as was Frisco Public Library,” says Dr. Jones.

Dr. Ronald Heezen, Director of the Frisco Public Library System believes this program will help spread the message about the importance of reading to very young children. “To know that every newborn will go home from Centennial Medical Center with a book and tasteful message to mom and dad about their role in creating literate and intelligent citizens, is the realization of one of the public library’s basic missions,” states Dr. Heezen.

The Books for Babies program was launched on June 8th with a reception at Centennial Medial Center. “We are excited to be part of such a wonderful, collaborative effort. This program not only benefits the babies born at Centennial Medical Center, but ultimately the entire community of Frisco,” states Bill Henning, CEO of Centennial Medical Center.Mayor Mike Simpson

Each baby born at Centennial Medical Center will go home with a canvas bag ( provided by the Frisco Noon Rotary Club) containing a colorful board book and bookmark; a ‘Books for Babies’ brochure created by Centennial High School senior student Kellyn Daigneault in Dianna Manuel’s desktop publishing class; a Baby’s First Frisco Public Library Card, a list of recommended books and information from both Centennial Medical Center and the Frisco Public Library. All books are provided by Centennial Medical Center in partnership with Scholastic.

Dr. Jones stresses that readers aren't born. The love of reading is nurtured by loving parents, grandparents, and caregivers who take the time to introduce books to young children. Reading aloud to even the youngest of babies forms a bond between the baby and the reader and paves the way for the love of reading to develop in that child.

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(1)Rima Shore, Rethinking the Brain: New Insights into Early Development. Families and Work Institute, 1977, 1989.