The move is just one of number of strategies under the newly launched Tameside Loves Reading campaign to help boost children’s literacy skills.
The three year programme will also involve literacy experts working with all Tameside primary schools, a reading volunteer scheme with local employers and extra investment in language and vocabulary interventions and training for nurseries and reception classes.
It aims to close the gap in the number of children in the borough starting school with below average language and reading skills and then also not catching up and achieving as well later in their school life.
One of the key messages of the Tameside Loves Reading campaign is that parents, grandparents and carers can help give their children a head start by reading with them daily and talking about books and stories.
It is never too early to start enjoying books together – and to highlight this a free book will be given to every baby born under the care of Tameside & Glossop NHS Integrated Care Foundation Trust (the hospital) over the next 12 months.
The book packs, which will include tips on reading with babies as well of details of signing them up for library membership, will be given to babies and new parents by their midwives before they are discharged from hospital.
Tameside Council Executive Member for Lifelong Learning Cllr Leanne Feeley said: “It is never too early to inspire a love a reading and start developing literacy skills and I would like to thank our partners at the hospital for working with us to reach new parents at the earliest opportunity to encourage them to start enjoying books with their babies from day one.
“Reading together - at any age - is fun and a great way for parents to spend special, bonding time with their children. This is just the first chapter in our Tameside Loves Reading story – we have lots of exciting projects and events planned to encourage parents and carers to read with their children daily and to support schools to improve reading and literacy skills and help our children achieve well.”
Chief Executive at Tameside and Glossop Integrated Care NHS FT, Karen James, said, “We are really happy to support Tameside Loves Reading. We want babies born at Tameside Hospital to have the best start in life and we think the gift of a book will support children and their parents to spend quality time together enjoying their book.”
To find out more about the Tameside Loves Reading campaign - including hint and hacks for improving your child’s reading and details on becoming a reading volunteer – see www.tameside.gov.uk/tamesidelovesreading