GEORGE NEWS - Tiana Arries, an 11-month-old baby from Borcherds, is set up for success.
Her parents have been reading to her since she was three months old and at eight months she became the youngest member of the Conville Library.
So how does Tiana benefit from this? "It might come as a bit of a surprise to hear that babies can share books with their parents," says Rachel Williams, manager of George Libraries.
"Babies obviously cannot read. Yet, if they regularly share books with a parent or caretaker, this can be enormously helpful to their development. In fact, children who have had regular book-sharing adapt to school much quicker than other babies, they learn much faster, and they generally do much better at school. So, it would be very helpful for parents if they learned how to do good book-sharing with their baby."
Book-sharing entails making children aware of books from an early age by sharing reading time with them.
Tiana's parents, Victor and Berildene, are avid readers. "My wife and I were blessed with this beautiful bundle of joy named Tiana, on 21 July last year. We started reading to Tiana when she was three months old. She immediately showed interest in especially the baby rhymes that were played to her.
"When she was eight months old, I decided to apply for a library membership for her at the local Conville Library. At that stage we did not know that she might be the youngest member of the library. It was only when I touched base with Rachel Williams, manager of George libraries, that we realised."
Arries said they aimed to instil the habit of reading as early as possible.
"We know that reading to her will assist her in recognising pictures and learning words, but the most rewarding is the closeness that develops between us. I would like to encourage other parents to also start at a very early age and make George, and ultimately South Africa, a reading country."
Reading at Seven Passes project
A project to encourage facilitators and parents to share books with their children was rolled out in Touwsranten in August 2016. The director of The Seven Passes Initiative, Wilmi Dippenaar, invited Prof Peter Cooper and Prof Lynne Murray from Oxford, England, to teach facilitators how to encourage and provide training to parents to read to their child. Not only does this develop the cognitive abilities of the child, it also strengthens the bond between parent and child.
'We bring you the latest George, Garden Route news'