New Program at Jefferson Provides Parents & Newborns with Literacy Resources

Claudia Nazarian, Vanessa Weisman, Rich Webster, Maureen Hicks, Adrienne Evans

This post was written by Cara Jo Swetsky of Jefferson Corporate Communications.

Jefferson is proud to announce our new partnership with Story Storks, a nonprofit organization dedicated to building literacy starting at birth and setting the foundation for intergenerational literacy.

Story Storks — who already partners with Jefferson Health’s hospitals in New Jersey, among other hospital systems — provides strategies and tools for reading to babies starting at birth. The organization serves over 8,000 infants each year.

The non-profit will meet with new parents that deliver at Jefferson, allowing an opportunity to educate them on the importance of reading and language exposure from birth. When it’s time for the babies to leave the hospital, Story Storks donates an age-appropriate laminated board book that is personalized with the baby’s footprints, as well as educational resources including research and literacy development tips for parents to take home.

“By implementing Story Storks at Jefferson, we are going beyond our youngest patients’ medical needs and helping to address their continued developmental growth,” said Sasha Annis, Certified Child Life Specialist at Jefferson. “Children are active learners in their environments and when parents read to their babies at home, they aren’t just telling a story — they are introducing them to new emotions, shapes, colors, and images, which provides cognitive stimulation and entertainment for the child. We hope that the Story Storks book is just the beginning of a lifelong love of reading and learning.”

By birth, a baby’s brain has reached 60 percent of the peak synapses that will develop over a lifetime, which allows them to build memories. When parents read to their infants, the development of literary skills that are principal to book awareness, vocabulary development, fluency and comprehension takes place, maximizing a child’s learning potential.

Jefferson is the first hospital in Philadelphia to partner with Story Storks, thanks to funding from the Women’s Board of Thomas Jefferson University Hospital.

“The opportunity to collaborate with Story Storks is exciting for the Women’s Board because our funding is touching Jefferson patients in such a personal way,” said Vanessa Weisman, President of the Women’s Board of Thomas Jefferson University Hospital. “We hope to see an increased focus on providing new parents with as much information and as many resources as possible to support their child’s intellectual development.”

With success, Jefferson and the Women’s Board hope to eventually expand the Story Storks program across our enterprise to offer the same resources and support to families welcoming new babies at other Jefferson Health locations.

“We are beyond thrilled to be launching this program at Jefferson,” said Adrienne Evans, Co-Founder of Stork Storks. “By providing each and every baby born at Jefferson with a new book and educational materials to help get them started on their journey as a reader, we are helping to create a new generation of readers in the city of Philadelphia.”

Learn more about Story Storks and the Women’s Board of Thomas Jefferson University Hospital.

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