Our 1,000 Books program is marketed for children between the ages of 1-5. What about the babies under one? I've found that parents of infants are constantly looking for things to do. There are very few things for infants here, especially things that don't cost money. How could we better serve this population? The answer was Baby Book Bees.
Going off the model of 1,000 Books B4K, I decided to make it an initiative to get parents to read 100 books to their children before they turn one. Almost identical to our new 1,000 Books sheets, I made half-sheets for our parents with 25 shapes to fill in. On the back of each sheet there are four early literacy tips.
When a parent signs up, they are given a lovely yellow folder with information about the initiative, their first shape sheet, and a bib celebrating their enrollment.
Once the parent has read 25 books they come back and visit us. We make a huge fuss at the desk with lots of clapping, and then we give them stickers and a new sheet. They put their sticker on our 1000 Book Garden Wall on a matching bee.
Once they hit 100 books they get their own board book to keep. Plus, they are given a 100 book head-start on 1,000 Books B4K.
To get the word out about this new initiative we decided to partner with the two local hospitals. Both hospitals give out a packet of information to each new mom during their hospital stay. We were able to get a half-sheet of information in these packets. They also agreed to put up posters in various offices that are visited frequently by new moms and in waiting rooms.
We decided we wanted to start with enough material for 200 participants and bought accordingly. We predicted we would get about 100 people enrolled within our first year. We officially launched a month ago and we have 28 people signed up! There was clearly a need for this in our community and we are overwhelmed with the great responses we've had from both parents and community members.
I applied for a Target Early Childhood Reading grant to get the initial funds. We were lucky enough to get chosen. If you have not looked at the grants before, please go visit. The grants are entirely online and the Target tech team is very helpful if you run into any glitches.
Are you offering anything for under ones? If not, you should consider Baby Book Bees!