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Choose at least one book for your child for Christmas: Health Unit

Choose at least one book for your child for Christmas: Health Unit

in Community/Education/Health by

Call them ‘presents’ of mind, and an opportunity to start a new holiday gift-giving tradition at your home.

Local families are encouraged to include a gift-wrapped book among the presents that children will open this holiday season.

The Haliburton, Kawartha, Pine Ridge District Health Unit is again promoting the Book on Every Bed campaign in Haliburton County, Northumberland County and the City of Kawartha Lakes.

Started several years ago in New York State, the Book on Every Bed campaign is designed to support child literacy while encouraging a life-long love of reading.

“Books may seem old-fashioned, but are a great way to unplug from electronic devices,” says Shelley Shaughnessy, a public health nurse with the health unit.

“Reading supports a child’s speech and language skills, which is critical for future success in life. Parents and children can also spend quality time together reading and exploring new worlds in books.”

Taking part in the Book on Every Bed campaign is as easy as one, two, three:

  1. Select a book, either a new, donated or cherished one. Make the choice meaningful, by finding a book that is appealing and will be enjoyed by a child. Parents can also share a favourite book from their own childhood. To make the book even more special, include a heart-felt inscription in it.
  1. Wrap it.A book that is carefully wrapped holds the mystery of what story or adventure is waiting to be discovered, and presents the book as the special gift it’s meant to be for a child.
  1. Place the book at the foot of a child’s bed.This ensures it will be the first thing a child sees on Christmas morning, the first day of Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, or any holiday that is celebrated.

“Selecting a book that is age-appropriate and appealing to a child’s own interests makes it more likely to be picked up and read,” Shaughnessy adds.

For example, toddlers and preschoolers may be drawn to books with repetitive and rhyming text, plenty of pictures and interactive features such as holes or flaps for lifting. For older children less inclined to read, a story with an exciting plot is more likely to grab their attention and make them want to read.

To further support reading and child speech skills, local residents can visit the KidTalk website or call the Health Unit toll-free at 1-866-888-4577.

Roderick Benns is the publisher of The Lindsay Advocate. He is the author of 'Basic Income: How a Canadian Movement Could Change the World,' and is also Vice Chair of the Ontario Basic Income Network. An award-winning author and journalist who grew up in Lindsay, Roderick has interviewed former Prime Ministers of Canada, Senators, and Mayors across Canada. He also wrote and published a series of books for youth about Canada's Prime Ministers as teens.

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