Did you know that by the age of three or four, a child’s brain is 80% developed, making the early childhood years critical for engagement and development?
The Belize Bedtime Stories project is a new international collaborative partnership benefiting the future.
The Goal of this project is to provide a new book every month to every child in Belize who is under the age of four, and to encourage the parents of these children to spend 20 minutes per day reading to them.
This program is targeted specifically for Belize, but closely models the Imagination Library, a charity founded by Dolly Parton promoting literacy by providing a free book every month to every enrolled child. Studies have validated the benefits of the program, which has improved literacy and overall intellectual development of the participants.
Belize has approximately 8,000 children born each year. The target population is all children in Belize under the age of four – 32,000 children. Books obtained in cooperation with the Imagination Library will be shipped to Belize City for distribution. Local churches will be selected to administer a program in each community across the country. These churches will contact and document all eligible children in their community, inviting their families to join the program, and help distribute the books each month. Partners will raise funds to provide free books for the children as an ongoing commitment to increase international literacy. The cost will be subsidized in order to ensure church and family participation.
Bedtime Stories allow for sensory development and vocabulary building, setting the foundation for successful learning.
Research shows that children who bond with their parents at an early age have less problems as teenagers and young adults. By spending 20 minutes each evening at bedtime, parents build trust with their child. Equally important to brain development is the parent-child bonding occurs during story reading.
As children are read to by their parents, brains will be stimulated, education will be valued, trust will be built, lives will be changed, and Belize will be transformed.
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