How could fresh parents be encouraged to read to their child? A joint project between the Finnish Cultural Foundation and the Parliament seeks this by donating a book gift to all babies. The project aims to ensure equal access to reading for all and to support the child’s linguistic development.
- Reading to a child is important to the child’s overall development. The importance of parents to a child’s literacy is crucial before the child learns to read it himself, says Sari Sarkomaa, MP.
The Finnish Cultural Foundation is investing EUR 1.2 million in the Reading Gift for Children program. It allows two children’s books to be published specifically for this purpose. In addition, Parliament has decided to increase the budget of the Reading Center, which will allow the production of materials on the importance of reading.
- I believe it will have a positive effect on the reading habits of Finnish children, says Annika Saarikko, Minister of Family and Basic Services.
- It is great that we can reach all new baby families through the clinics, says Jari Sokka, Chairman of the Board of the Finnish Cultural Foundation.
Parents’ attitude towards reading has become more negative
The attitude of Finnish parents towards reading has become more negative: up to 16 percent of Finnish parents say they like reading only a little.
Studies show that a child’s future prospects are more influenced by how much they read at home than by other family background or financial circumstances. Therefore, early reading experiences play a crucial role in bridging skills gaps and increasing equity. Already in infancy Reading beginnings support the child’s linguistic development and family interaction. Reading to a child has a link to better school performance and school-going attitude.
The sooner children get to books, the more likely they are to become excited about reading later, says Jari Sokka of the Finnish Cultural Foundation.