Reading to your child can’t begin early enough and the Friends of the Laurel County Library are trying to encourage more parents to begin reading to their children even when they are still in the womb.

Beginning in January, each child born at Marymount Medical Center receives a bag containing a book along with information for the parents about the importance of reading to children.

“Research has shown that when you read to your child while your are pregnant, the child will recognize your voice sooner and help instill in them a love of reading,” said Vickie Lauderdale of the Friends of the Library.

Lauderdale said with the trend in the U.S., it is important to do everything possible to turn children on to reading.

“Right now, about 20 percent of American adults are practically illiterate,” Lauderdale said. “We want to help reverse that trend.”

In addition to the book and the pamphlets, Lauderdale said on the child’s first birthday, he or she will receive a congratulatory note and another book.

Each packet costs the $6 to produce. Lauderdale said in 2006, 774 children were born at Marymount Hospital. The funding for the project comes from the Friends of the Library’s booksale which are held twice a year. Donations of used books, magazines and collectable books for the sales may be brought to any of the library’s three branches in London, East Bernstadt or Corbin. Cash donations are also accepted.

“If you bring it to the library, just drop it off at the circulation desk and tell them it is for the Friends of the Library and they will get it to us,” Lauderdale said.

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