‘Books for Babies’ Takes on Louisiana’s Lack of Literacy

Adult literacy lagging, but more parents reading to infants

BATON ROUGE, La. – Baton Rouge General (BRG) and Episcopal School of Baton Rouge have teamed up on a “Books for Babies” program, giving new families at BRG’s Birth Center a set of books to start their home library.

Nationally, one in six adults have less-than-basic literacy, and Louisiana ranks higher than the national average in adults lacking basic literacy skills. In addition, children of parents with low literacy skills have a 72 percent chance of being at the lowest reading levels themselves, according to the National Bureau of Economic Research.

“Studies show that just over half of children ages 3 to 5 are read to daily by a family member,” said Cory Lemoine, a first grade teacher at Episcopal. “Many parents don’t read to their children because there is little to no access to books in their homes, and we need to intervene to create literacy-rich families.”

Lemoine had an idea to address the issue locally and reached out to Dr. Candace Moore, a parent of one of his student’s and an OB/GYN at BRG.

“The thought process behind the program was to introduce children to reading from day one, and even better, involve the parents,” said Dr. Moore. “As a hospital we had the perfect opportunity to put this idea into action, and Episcopal coordinated a very successful school-wide book drive to bring ‘Books for Babies’ to life.”

Despite the sobering statistics on the lack of literacy among adults, a new report from Scholastic shows a big jump in parents reading to their babies from birth – 43%, up from 30% in 2014 – further highlighting the importance of programs that increase access to reading.

“We received such positive feedback from patients during the program’s first year, and with 50% more books collected this year, we anticipate an even greater impact this year,” said Dr. Moore.

From left, Episcopal’s Cory Lemoine, BRG’s Kelly Kyle, BRG’s Sarah Drennan, MD, and BRG’s Candace Moore, MD, visit Episcopal to accept the books, which were gathered through a school-wide book drive.

About Baton Rouge General Medical Center
Baton Rouge General Medical Center is the area’s first community hospital with 588 licensed beds between two campuses. Baton Rouge General opened its doors in 1900, and has provided the Greater Baton Rouge community with high-quality healthcare for generations. An accredited teaching hospital since 1991, Baton Rouge General serves as an affiliate of Tulane University School of Medicine, and offers other medical education programs, including a School of Nursing, School of Radiologic Technology, Family Medicine Residency Program, Internal Medicine Residency Program, and Sports Medicine Fellowship Program. For more information, visit BRGeneral.org, find us on Facebook at Facebook.com/BatonRougeGeneral and follow us on Twitter at @BRGeneral.

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Categories: In the Community