Too Small to Fail: Books from Birth Nurtures Early Literacy Skills

Donate Literacy Packs feature

Books from Birth equips parents with baby books, literacy resources and mentoring, for a perfect start to developing important early literacy skills from birth.

In 2016, we developed a pilot project with 40 maternal health nurses in the City of Greater Dandenong. This is a community with greater populations of migrants and refugees and a higher proportion of low-income families. Research indicates that the highest rates of illiteracy are mostly detected in disadvantaged communities.

ROOP equipped maternal health nurses with a Books from Birth literacy pack (including baby books, parent booklets and other useful resources) to provide to new mothers in their first appointments. Together with coaching and support, the nurses explained the importance of reading to their children from birth.

Too Small to Fail: Books from Birth Nurtures Early Literacy Skills
Bridging Language Barriers

We developed a series of bilingual baby books so parents with limited or no English language skills could read a book to their baby in their mother tongue as well as English. The parent booklets provide ideas for educational play, songs, rhythms and the importance of using words and reading books to their newborn babies.

Nourishing a child’s mind in the first five years of life is as essential as feeding her body. New research confirms that children from low-income homes are exposed to 30 million less words from age 0-5, than children from middle income homes.
Unfortunately, too many children from disadvantaged homes are not getting exposed to a wider vocabulary and are not getting the educational nourishment or words they need.

Researchers have identified what they’re calling a “word gap.” Many children who grow up in low-income families enter school with substantially smaller vocabularies than their classmates. And this disadvantage leads to further disparities in achievement and success over time, from academic performance and persistence to earnings and family stability even 20 and 30 years later.
For these children, starting education without words is like coming to school without food. It makes it harder for them to develop their creativity and imagination, to learn, excel, and live up to their full potential.

Through our own research, we discovered nearly 61% of children from low-income households don’t own a single book! This statistic is grim. It means children from low-income homes are failing to develop essential and foundational literacy skills from an early age. Our Books from Birth initiative is helping to close the literacy gap that exists between disadvantaged children and their wealthier peers.

In 2019, Books from Birth expanded its reach to include 12 regional and metropolitan suburbs in Victoria and South Cairns, and this week we extended our footprint into 3 suburbs in Adelaide.

Books from Birth is an early childhood initiative of ROOP, and it surrounds provides families with early language and learning opportunities, and supports parents and caregivers with resources to talk, read, and sing with young children from birth to help prepare them for success in kindergarten and beyond.

Expanding the Reach of Early Literacy Skills.