As a member of the Shared Message Bank (SMB) Mentor Team with the ECCP, I was honored to review Reach Out and Read Colorado’s A Story about Reading¸ which was developed as part of the New Parent Empowerment Initiative. The SMB Mentor Team frequently receives requests from partners to review materials and language to ensure messages and metaphors are framed appropriately for maximum impact. As I began to review A Story about Reading, I was moved to tears by the potential impact of sharing such practical, concrete, and easily accessible advice with pregnant moms and empowering expecting mothers to become brain-builders long before their babies have arrived. Throughout the booklet, Reach Out and Read Colorado did an excellent job incorporating metaphors that illustrate the importance of positive, reciprocal (serve and return) interactions during the first few years of life and provided multiple recommendations for new mothers to take an active role in their child’s brain development through singing, reading, and talking.
Not only did the booklet focus on the well-being of the child, but it also placed emphasis on the well-being of the mother; as research suggests that caregiver well-being is inextricably linked to the well-being of the child, I appreciated the focus and activity that guided expecting moms through an exercise that reminded them to focus on their own self-care as well. I loved that the booklet provides expecting mothers with specific word counts of songs and paragraphs so they can see how many words their baby will hear when they read or sing aloud. The design of the booklet was just as impressive and aesthetically pleasing as the content was meaningful and helpful. A Story about Reading is an exceptionally well-written tool for expecting mothers and fathers that provides easy tips and encourages new parents to play active roles in their children’s brain and literacy development. Keep up the great work, Reach Out and Read Colorado.