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Literacy Volunteers Promotes Reading to Infants

By Eileen Buckley

Buffalo, NY – Literacy Volunteers of Buffalo and Erie County has launched a new program to start promoting reading at a very young age.

The program is called "Reading Right Now." It is a locally created reading effort that was developed by a graduate student in the education department at Medaille College. Executive Director of Buffalo's Literacy Volunteers Tracy Diina says parents should start reading to their children as soon as they are born. She says early literacy is "critical" to the future success of a child's life.

"We just started offering the 'Reading Right Now' packets that include the book 'Goodnight Moon.' The packets encourage reading to a child at a very early age," Diina said. "We also offer suggestion for other books to read to children and a library card application."

Diina says the program is being administered to mothers at Children's Hospital who do not have a library card.

A recent survey conducted by Price Waterhouse says illiteracy is the greatest threat to a child's future. The survey also finds that a lack of access to books is the leading cause of illiterate children. But in Buffalo, Diina says they are working to make sure books are available at an early age.

"We are in the early stages of creating a book club for new moms and their babies so they can come and read a book once or twice a week," Diina said. "We are also participating in some local book drives, we have some books that have been provided by Project Flight."

Diina says "Reading Right Now" is one of many projects recently developed by the local Literacy Volunteers. This summer a peer tutoring project involving high school and middle school students was launched and the Buffalo chapter will host local events for World Literacy Day on September 8th.