More Books in Baby Hands

More Books in Baby HandsFamilies in Southcentral Alaska are receiving baby board books, thanks to a collaboration between The CIRI Foundation, Title Wave Books, and Best Beginnings.

The CIRI Foundation (TCF) provided a grant for the approximately 1,500 books and Title Wave discounted the cost. The books are distributed to families through Southcentral Foundation’s Nutaqsiivik home visiting program.

“Lots of families don’t have many books and toys and they’re especially appreciative,” said Jean Marie Viglienzone, a Nutaqsiivik Home Visiting Nurse. “It’s their book. They don’t have to return it to the library and baby can chew on it. It’s okay.” Viglienzone said all the families she works with love the books, even the older siblings. “Their faces light up.”

“Books in the home and positive interactions between children and parents can make a big difference when children enter school. This project gets new children’s books into the homes of young Alaska Native children,” said Susan Anderson, President and CEO of The CIRI Foundation. Anderson also chairs the Early Learning Council, the governing board of Best Beginnings. “In addition, their parents and other family members will have opportunities to become more engaged in their children’s early learning.”

Nutaqsiivik provides home visiting, case management, and support for families expecting a child or parenting a child up to one year old. Community health nurses with Nutaqsiivik work with families to help them create safe home environments, strengthen parent-child bonds, and move toward self-reliance. Each of the seven community health nurses works with 45 to 65 families each year, ensuring that some 400 babies get the very best beginning in their first year of life.

Having new books of their own is a powerful way for children and their parents to become more engaged in positive learning experiences. The more children know and understand about “book reading” and what it represents before they enter school, the better prepared they will be for success.

TCF also provides books to children in Southcentral Alaska through Imagination Library, which mails a new book every month to each enrolled child. A child can be enrolled at birth and leaves the program at age 5.

This article appeared in the November 2009 issue the Best Beginnings E-newsletter. Please refer to our Content Reproduction Policy if you are interested in reproducing content provided on this website.