Newborn Westmead and Blacktown hospital bubs given a “reading start to life” this International Literacy Day

Leah Brown and her beautiful newborn

The western Sydney arm of the Australian Literacy Educators Association (ALEA) donated a special gift to babies born at Westmead and Blacktown hospitals this week in celebration of International Literacy Day held on Thursday 8 September 2022.

Each newborn received a copy of the Mem Fox picture books, Ten Little Fingers and Ten Little Toes and Where Is the Green Sheep?.

Leah Brown, who gave birth just 12 hours earlier at Westmead Hospital, was excited to receive the books along with a special “Read to me” t-shirt for her newborn.

“All mums and their families were so excited to receive the gifted books and were very appreciative and thankful,” said Westmead Hospital Postnatal Birthing Service clinical midwifery educator Samantha Cox.

“One dad already noted in the book who it was from to remember who gifted it, the dad mentioning this was his first book for his baby.” 

Larissa Georgina and her new baby boy, pictured below, was one of many Blacktown Hospital mums to be gifted a copy of the Mem Fox books.

The ALEA “Books for Babies” initiative has been running across the Western Sydney Local Health District for eight years, with a focus on the importance of engaging infants with early reading.

The distribution of new books for new babies on International Literacy Day is a practical demonstration of a commitment by the Australian Literacy Educators’ Association, to help raise the standard of literacy in Australia,” said ALEA Sydney West treasurer Donna Gurka. 

“ALEA encourages parents to start reading with their child as early as possible – bedtime stories, read or told, provide a very special time to be with a child and presents a rich opportunity to develop the literacy skills of listening, speaking, reading and comprehending.”