Reading program connects mothers and newborns
Krystal Sherwood, 42, Born to Read Volunteer, Piedmont Medical Center
“I like to encourage new parents to be a part of the library. It is free, creative and beneficial to the children.”
Krystal Sherwood works for the Rock Hill School District, bringing the reading program Born to Read to Piedmont Medical Center. The goal: to babies with their moms right from the start through the loving act of reading.
“It is a way to teach new moms that it is important to read to their babies,” she says. “I think some new parents are under the illusion that the child doesn’t understand what they are saying, but the point is for the child to just hear your voice and introduce them to words.”
Each day of the week, Monday through Friday, volunteers from different schools in the community come in and meet with the mothers of babies born the day before. They give the new moms a bag filled with goodies to get started reading, including a board book of Mother Goose rhymes, a baby bib, growth chart and pamphlets and services for new parents around York County, like story time at the library.
“I took my daughter as a preemie,” she says. “She came home 4 pounds 4 ounces and one of the first places I took her was the York County Library for story time. She lay there and listened to them read the stories. Now she is nine years old and we went just last week for an American Girl Doll tea party. I like to encourage new parents to be a part of the library. It is free, creative and beneficial to the children.”
Also included in the bag for new moms is a survey to help them with their own educational needs. That information is given to the program Parent Smart that offers GED classes for new moms who need them.
“I love to visit new moms who want to do better for themselves,” she says. “It is important because you are a new mom, but you are still who you are and it is important to stay on that path even if they have to put it off for a little while. It makes me feel proud and a little weepy when a parent says they really want to go back to school. I try to encourage them.”
And if reading is an issue for the moms themselves, Krystal says they don’t have to be literate to bond with their babies over books.
“Make up your own words,” she says. “They can look at the pictures and whatever you see in the book is what you tell your child. With babies it is exposure to words and your soft voice.”