Tandem Partners with WIC Contra Costa Lactation Group to Support Reading to Baby from Birth
Lactation and Literacy
Tandem is currently piloting a program in partnership with WIC (Women, Infants, and Children Supplemental Nutrition Program) at its Concord location. This program featuring embedding Tandem’s Community Literacy Specialists into WIC’s Lactation Support Group to lead 30-minute presentations at four different monthly gatherings. These presentations focused on providing group members more information and resources on children’s early learning and literacy, bonding, and social and emotional development.
What did we share?
During the first presentation that took place in May, Tandem distributed our Three Tips for Sharing Books handout and hosted an interactive Read Aloud demonstration for the participating mothers. We understand it’s not always easy to get into a daily book-sharing habit, but Tandem staff members shared several ways to make book-sharing a meaningful experience for even the youngest of children. Interactive reading is all about following the child’s pace, using repetition to foster brain development, making sharing a book more of a conversation, and most importantly – having fun!
In June, we shifted focus to introduce and practice a variety of book-sharing strategies to support early brain development and language acquisition. Throughout July, the Lactation Support Group practiced strategies to support vocabulary development. Building vocabulary every day is fun and easy. Mothers attending the meetings had a chance to practice simple word games and using Tandem StoryBlocks to introduce new words to their children, and talked about how to introduce new words as they go about their everyday routine. Repeating new words often, pointing to the object the word describes, and describing the details of that object makes learning new words a fun game and stresses the importance of using a wide range of vocabulary in daily conversations with children. At the end of this session, families went home with their own set of StoryBlocks to keep the fun and learning going!
Lots and lots of books!
Families received new books to take home at the end of each Tandem presentation. Our giveaway books were specially selected to support the mothers of the Lactation Support Group. When WIC asked for books avoiding imagery of bottle-feeding babies, Tandem happily complied. These books not only support families to build their bonds sharing books together, they also support families’ choice to nourish their children the way they find best, all while instilling a lifelong love of books and learning for their child. We are excited to see how this partnership, and others like it, can provide the access to books, information, and other tools families need to support their children to live, learn, and grow.
Find more information on interactive book-sharing and other free resources for families here.
Talia Hafter is Tandem’s Communications and Social Media Intern in San Francisco. She goes to the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor and is majoring in Communication Studies.